Customer testimonials have long been a great way to promote a business. I can remember in the first days of starting this business how thrilled I was to get a positive comment from a client that we had done a great job for a client. Occasionally a client would send in a ‘thank you’ letter which we would put along with the emails into a client ‘pitch book’ for when we get a chance to sit with potential clients to help explain what we do.
Today the collation and analysis of reviews has turned into a mini-industry itself. If you offer any form of internet-based service, the chances are you will have incorporated a review platform into your website. At Redbows we use Reviews.co.uk. If you operate an ISO 9001 quality management system, such a service greatly helps when measuring customer satisfaction.
Of course if you operate a review service you are open to both positive and negative reviews. There is a normative bath-tub curve/distribution when it comes to customer comments. Most of your responses can be highly positive or highly negative with few in between expressing a point of view. Your drive therefore has to be to reduce your negative comments to zero by reacting quickly with a corrective action when a product or service delivery issue occurs and then building preventative actions into your management policies to ensure such a negative review can never occur again. So, reviews help to drive continuous improvement and can be a real driver for change and innovation in a business. Reviews keep you ‘on your toes’.
So when it comes to requesting and responding to review requests what are the key points?
At Redbows we gave an open platform where a client can comment through our Reviews.co.uk service. We also send every client a review request email at the end of each month and respond to every one we receive back from them. We do this once a month as part of our management practices. We could also build this into our on-line order process as an automatic post delivery function but prefer the monthly personalised email approach.
We are very fortunate at Redbows in that we have a very geographically dispersed client base. This means that we get to travel and meet clients and suppliers across the UK, Europe and even the Far East. We will use review websites like TripAdvisor to post our own reviews as well as search out hotels to stay, places to visit and restaurants to try out.
When it comes to creating a review we always try to following these simple guidelines:
Finally when it comes to reviews it’s also worth remember that Social Media provides a great way to review an organisation. Facebook pages can allow visitors to post their own reviews and rate an organisation. Also you can do this on Google Places if a business is registered for this service.
There is no doubt that reviews have become an integral part of how we search, select and purchase goods and services today. Reviews are here to stay and an important indicator of how well a business looks after their clients.
Written by Dawn Koffler.