It may be a cliché that “everyone’s a critic”. But like most clichés, there’s more than a grain of truth to this statement. Like so many elements of modern life, the internet has given us unprecedented opportunities to share our opinions about everything from the holidays we take to the financial providers we use.
But for all businesses that pride themselves on offering great customer service, this is a development to be embraced rather than avoided.
Why ask for reviews?
There are plenty of reasons why it’s good business practice to ask your customers what they think about the service that they’ve been receiving.
Naturally, asking for reviews means you can accurately gauge how well you are doing in meeting customers’ expectations and needs. By asking for reviews after every interaction it could give you a far clearer picture than any number of focus groups.
The flipside of this is that it gives your customers the opportunity to give honest feedback, reinforcing the message that, as a brand, you really do value their opinions.
Having plenty of reviews on your website, can even help you to rise up through the Google rankings, as it’s a factor that the search engine’s algorithms take into account.
And other customers take notice. Our research from October 2022 showed that more people use reviews (23%) to decide which financial product to use than asking an adviser (17%).
Where to ask for them
There are several channels where you can get reviews, all of which have their own advantages.
One of the very best is via email. This gives customers whose addresses you already have the chance to tell you what they really think, as well as allowing you to use almost any format of questionnaire that you like.
Then there’s your website. As the online “shop window” for your business, it’s where many customers are going to have their main form of contact with you. Incidentally, it’s also where you’ll be displaying most of your reviews.
And we certainly can’t overlook social media. This is often where people come first if they have something to share about a business they have used. So it’s always worth reaching out via the social media channels you use to get a response.
You may also still use direct mail to communicate with customers. If you do, then adding a questionnaire or review form might work well too.
Some basic principles
The most important first step is recognising what you want to achieve through gathering reviews. For example, is it to help pinpoint areas for improvement or to use as a marketing tool? This is going to affect the sorts of prompts that you’ll be using to stimulate responses.
The second most important will be to make it as easy as possible to reply.
And how you word the questions will also be critical to achieve the most and accurate and insight answers.
So asking for customer reviews is an undoubtedly good idea that can both improve your business profile and give you invaluable feedback on performance and customer satisfaction levels. But it needs careful thought and planning if it’s going to be a truly useful aid to your business.