Customer reviews are extremely important when it comes to building a brand, yet so many businesses don't realise how many opportunities they're missing. In this post, I'll break down 5 customer review strategies that you can use right away to build your brand and strengthen your brand positioning.
Strategy 1: Maximising Positive Customer Reviews
When it comes to your brand, positive reviews are a clear sign of the things you're doing well and what your customers want more of.
When you position your brand in the market, you want to make sure that you win customers over by fulfilling their unmet needs. If you're only meeting the needs that are already being met by your competitors, then your brand doesn't really have a reason to exist (unless you're delivering that same need in a really unique way).
Although these unmet needs are what will differentiate you from your competitors, you still need to deliver on the core needs that they are already providing to your shared customer base. You can use their positive reviews to find out exactly what those core needs are.
Research their social and business profiles to find out all the things that they're doing well. It could be:
- Product features
- Customer service
- Discounts and offers
... and many other things.
You can even go onto sites like Glassdoor and Facebook to find out how strong their company culture is and how happy their team is. Usually, happy staff results in happy customers, and vice versa.
So, look at your own positive reviews to give your existing customers more of what they want, and look at the positive reviews of your competitors to know how you can serve them even better and steal them away.
Strategy 2: Capitalising On Negative Customer Reviews
I recommend using all of the strategies on this list to really skyrocket your brand growth, but if you only take one strategy then make it this one. It's by far the most powerful.
Your own negative reviews tell you where you're falling short and what customers need more of in order to stay loyal to you. They MUST be addressed quickly and thoroughly. If they're not, your competitors will be waiting like a pack of hyenas to capitalise on your mistakes.
But you can also do the same to them. By going through the negative reviews of your competitors, you can see exactly where THEY are falling short and upsetting their customers. From there, all you have to do is just do it better.
There could be a whole host of problems that customers are struggling with. Here are a few to consider:
- The product isn't delivering on its promises
- It takes too long to ship
- Customer service are rude or hard to get hold of
- Customers don't value the product because of constant sales and discounts
Or maybe it's something internal such as:
- Staff aren't paid well
- Company culture is poor
- Morale is low
These internal weaknesses ultimately reflect on the customers and their experience. Staff that aren't motivated or excited deliver an experience to customers that lacks motivation and excitement. Acknowledge your weaknesses and nip them in the bud.
Also identify the weaknesses of your competitors and capitalise on the gaps they're leaving for you to build your brand and grow your market share.
“If you don’t appreciate your customers, someone else will.” - Jason Langella
Strategy 3: Using Customer Reviews In Your Marketing Plan
Despite reviews being extremely powerful in the consumer buying cycle, brands rarely say "Leave us a review on..." or "Check out our reviews on..." as a call to action in their marketing campaigns. They're so focussed on "Buy this!" and "Follow that!" that they forget one important truth... social proof really works! Neglect it and you are leaving huge amounts of money on the table.
Social proof is great for breaking through the skeptical, logical mind and accessing the hopeful, emotional mind. When potential customers can see that others have made the buying decision for them and not regretted it, it gives them the permission they're already looking for to make the purchase themselves.
Asking customers to leave reviews is not only a great way of building relationships with them but it also increases trust with new customers too. It makes buying decisions easier by adding reassurance and reducing friction.
There are plenty of channels you can use to ask for reviews. You can use CTAs in your marketing campaigns, you can email consumers, you can text/SMS consumers, you can give them a phone call, you can use ad retargeting...
The channels are endless. As long as you have delivered on your promise to your customer, they will gladly take the time to leave a review. So, start asking for reviews and rewarding customers as part of your marketing strategy.
Strategy 4: Interacting Directly With Your Customers
Telling you to interact with your customers might sound obvious, but so many brands either do it wrong or don't do it at all. You need to create a two-way dialogue between you and your customers so you can really understand who they are and how you can help them.
One great way of doing this is to setup what I call a "mystery customer". Once a month, schedule an interview with a completely random customer and listen to what they have to say. This is a great opportunity to get a wide range of feedback, both positive and negative, and will give you the most realistic view of your customers' satisfaction. If you only choose your loyal customers, you'll end up getting stuck in an echo chamber that reinforces your existing ideas, rather than the ideas you need to be hearing to improve your product, your service and your brand. More on brand echo chambers here.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” - Bill Gates
The "mystery customer" method is also a great way to build even more personal relationships with your audience. They will really appreciate the 1-to-1 human interaction and will reward you with reviews and referrals. This leads to brand advocacy where your customers essentially do your marketing for you... for free!
Lastly, ensure that you're responding to reviews that customers have written online. This is a great way to show your appreciation to happy customers as well as address the problems of your unhappy customers. It's also a clear sign for any new prospects that you genuinely care, and might just be the last piece of the puzzle they need to make a purchase with you.
Strategy 5: Brand Positioning Using Customer Reviews
Last on our list is brand positioning. Hopefully you already have a clear positioning strategy as part of your wider brand strategy. If you don't, here's how you can create one.
Brand positioning is all about where your brand sits in the market, how consumers see your brand compared to your competitors, and what they remember you for. By reading between the lines of your reviews, you can see if your customers see you the way you intended
For example, everyone thinks their company is "innovative", but do your reviews back up that claim? Do your customers agree that you're doing something they've never seen before? You can talk a good game internally but you have to actually deliver on your promises and customers have to agree with you.
Ultimately, their opinions decide your positioning, not yours. You can impact their opinions but only by listening to them and changing your behaviour based on their feedback.
Take Amazon, for example. They want to be positioned as the most customer-centric company on earth with the biggest and most accessible range of products online. Are they delivering on that positioning strategy? I'd say so, and I think most consumers would agree.
Make sure you're listening to your customers because if they don't see your brand the way you intended, then you have a brand gap you need to fix. Here's how you can find and fix your brand gaps.
From Reviews To Results
As you can tell, customer reviews are an incredibly powerful tool for building a brand. By analysing both positive and negative reviews, you can identify unmet needs and capitalise on the gaps left by your competitors.
Integrating reviews into your marketing strategy and interacting directly with your customers will lead to stronger relationships and ultimately brand advocacy. Reviews can also help solidify your brand positioning and connect with your customers on a deeper level.
Brands that leverage customer reviews effectively will ultimately be the ones who win in today's highly competitive market.
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