Companies sometimes believe so strongly in their brands that they believe if anyone would just give their product or service a chance, positive reviews would come pouring in. That would be ideal, but isn’t exactly the case except for perhaps some of the most well-known brands.
In fact, if a consumer is quick to talk about a company it’s often to make a complaint or post a bad review. According to a 2018 study from ReviewTrackers.com, consumers are 21 percent more likely to leave a bad review after a negative experience than a positive one.
So if you’re looking for positive reviews, you’re going to need to be proactive in getting them. It can be an even larger uphill battle depending on which area of the energy industry you belong to, as certain resources like oil and coal are constantly getting bad PR.
But before we dive into the tips, why should you care about online reviews in the first place?
Why are reviews important?
You may be thinking, “I don’t have time to invest in something like this – I just want more customers.” If it’s your bottom line you’re concerned about, you should know that customer reviews can lead to 270 percent higher conversion rates. That could mean quite a hefty increase in sign ups, downloads, calls or enrollments for your business.
The reason for this is that consumers no longer rely on word of mouth from friends and family before making purchase decisions – yes, even for energy companies. In fact, a study from invespcro.com revealed that at least 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Additionally, 92 percent of users will use a local business if it has at least a 4-star rating.
So now ask yourself: What is your online review rating? Could it use a little work? Here are some ways you can elicit more reviews from your customers.
Claim your business profiles
The three most important and most-used review sites are Google, Yelp and Facebook. Start by setting up your Google My Business account. This is an absolute must if you want to utilize the high visibility you get from the Google business card that often appears at the right of search results any time someone searches for your business. This process requires that Google send you a verification code by snail mail. Your listing will remain unclaimed until you enter this code, so make sure to provide an address where you can accept incoming mail. While waiting for the verification process to clear, you can claim your business page on Yelp and Facebook. If you already have a Facebook page, make sure the “allow visitors to review this Page” option is checked under General settings.
Answer the question “what’s in it for me?” for your customer by providing a reward for writing a review. This can be in the form of an online discount code they can apply to their bill or even a gift card. There is a little bit of investment up front with this option, but the long term gain is that you will be building a positive reputation for your company that leads to more business down the road.
Make it simple and quick.
The less complicated you can make the process for your customers, the more likely they’ll be to leave a review. Don’t make them click through several pages or fill out loads of information. You might also aim to make your review process mobile-friendly if possible which also increases the likelihood for gaining more reviews.
Consider hosting an email campaign.
If you decide to go this route, just make sure you don’t sound salesy but genuine and warm-hearted. Let them know how their review might help others when deciding which energy supplier or company to use. Also mention that their feedback is something your company takes seriously and that you’re always looking for ways to improve as the main reasons you’re interested in what they have to say. Making the customer feel valued goes a long way.
Train customer service to ask for reviews.
Provide customer service with a prompt they can use to ask customers for reviews at the end of their calls. You might start with something like, “Thank you for your call today and I’m glad we were able to assist you. If possible, please share your experience on Yelp / Google / Facebook so that others can benefit from knowing the kind of service we provide.” Be specific about where you want them to leave the review.
Dealing with bad reviews
It’s inevitable. Especially as you start to accrue more reviews, there will eventually be a bad one. Not a single company exists that doesn’t have at least one bad review – just companies that don’t have one yet. The thing is you don’t want to turn an already bad review into a much worse situation. Here are some ways to deal with bad reviews that can help you mitigate further possible damage.
Don’t delete negative reviews.
According to SearchEngineJournal.com, bad reviews can actually be helpful for conversion rates. This is simply because customers are more likely to trust what they’re reading if reviews are diverse in ratings. It was actually discovered that having all 5/5 star ratings can undermine credibility and that optimal trustworthiness in review content hovers between 4.2 and 4.5 stars.
Forty-five percent of consumers say they’re more likely to visit a business that responds to negative reviews. Even more consumers say they expect a response within 3 days to a week. Be sure to address them by their name (not “customer”) and thank them sincerely for taking the time to leave their review. To make sure you don’t miss an opportunity to address a customer who had a bad experience, set up alerts or assign a designated team member to monitor your review channels on a regular schedule.
Do NOT become defensive.
Be sympathetic and sincere by letting them know that you’ve heard their concerns, you are sorry that they had a bad experience and that you appreciate their feedback. This goes a long way to avoiding a much worse situation brought on by defensiveness.
This is not the time to promote the positive aspects of your business. This doesn’t counteract any perceived damage done by the review and instead, sounds incredibly pretentious, adding insult to an already upset customer. Acknowledge the details of what led to the problem and your company’s part in the problem before finally offering a solution to make things right.
Lastly, keep in mind that bad reviews can be important and even more helpful than positive reviews. They provide you with real feedback from your consumers and can help you make changes in any necessary areas like customer service, specials, promotions, contract periods or another area that may need improvement.
All customer reviews are invaluable and even necessary when it comes to adding to your bottom line. It facilitates the research process for prospective customers and increases your company’s visibility, which come from a good mix of good and bad reviews. Acquiring reviews can be very simple but requires a proactive mindset – You must be willing to invest the time in gathering testimonials and addressing the negative ones.
Utilizing the tips above can help get you started. However, only companies who have the time and resources to dedicate consistently to customer feedback experience higher conversion rates.
If you’re short on time and resources, contact us and schedule a consultation with one of our seasoned specialists. We’ll work with you to build a personalized strategy that grows your bottom line in a cost-effective way that is highly tailored to your business goals.