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5 steps to win the online review battle

You and I both know it. The battle for the customer has become a digital one. This week I was cleaning out my bookcase. Going through books I used in University (till 1994), some out of date, but most still valid. Flipping through a marketing edition, my eye was caught by the AIDA model.  As I was reading it, I realized especially the AID of the model has changed radically.

 

Attention, Interest and Desire; much of these are not only in the hands of businesses any more. Of course the business website, bannering, blogging and special offers in newsletters are in the hand of businesses. But more and more, customers take care of that themselves. They rely on each other for information. The rise of Review Sites has causes a major shift in marketing.

 

Are you (and your colleague leaders) aware what customers are saying about you on Review sites?

  • Are you active in monitoring and making sure you stand out there?
  • Do customers leave raving reviews?!

If yes, I give you a high five (and please react on this post). If no, start working on it right away through these 5 steps:

 

1. Assess

First of all, you need to assess the review situation. Make a list of all review sites you can find, (this blog will give you a head start) where customers leave testimonials, reviews etc. Ask a minimum of two colleagues to do the same. It helps to ask colleagues of different ages, together you’ll get the holistic picture. If you want to be 100% sure, ask customers what review sites they use. Now it is time to prioritize. Number one becomes the most influential, and so on. You have your Review List. Now have a look what customers are saying. Analyze the facts and write a short report of your findings. Add customer quotes to bring the report to life.

 

2. Systemize

You need to build a system for reviews. Where listening, understanding, acting, learning is key. With responsibilities and tracking of results. Make sure you create a methodology with clear tasks, reacting times, evaluation of actions taken. Also think of ways to increase the number of reviews. How can the call center or Webcare agents help you? Start small and pilot your system. If it works, scale up and keep on tuning in to changes needed.  Share your plan with colleagues, work on it with a multi-disciplinary team. To get them to feel the problem, let them google themselves first (don’t forget to bring the review situation to the boardroom. If you have sense of urgency of leaders, chances of success increase dramatically).

 

3. Monitor

You can look at the most important review sites every day or week yourself, but I would recommend systemizing this as well. Software is available to monitor (I am not a specialist in this, so if you know good software, please react on this article). Create a report that tracks result and is appealing to colleagues. Especially if you want them to act.

 

4. ReAct

One of the things that bother me most when I dive into the world of review sites is the reactiveness of businesses. No comments, even on compliments of customers but also no reactions on major complaints. This is your chance to solve issues and make your customer happy. Does he or she have a suggestion or complaint? Time to react and act upon it. Most review sites give you the chance to react. Find out who the customer is, so you can contact personally. If the issue is resolved, maybe send the customer a little gift? Log everything you do in the CRM system, so your colleagues also know about actions in regards with this customer.

 

5. Learn

The most difficult step of all. Is to learn from the reviews. What are customers saying what needs to be fixed in your company. Is it the tone of voice, or are you failing in delivery? Or is the problem with the product itself? A suggestion from my side: most companies are working with LEAN principles or have LEAN teams; team up with them. Or find out how the change motor of your company works to implement the changes your customers are craving for. A nice suggestion: if you solved the problems, let your customer know by closing the loop. Most often, they really appreciate that.

 

So, enough said. Time to get to work on those reviews! It is a pleasure to be of AID to you. Please let me know your thoughts on how to handle reviews in the comments below.