Feedback is one of the most valuable things you can receive from your customers. Not only will it help you improve your business, but it will also attract new customers, thus growing your business. Therefore, it’s important to know how to collect it wisely, as well as how to present your requests when seeking both public and private reviews.
For those who prioritize review management, public reviews are equivalent to the term positive feedback. They understand the need to have an overwhelming majority of good reviews, as well as the power of genuine testimonials. Therefore, they have methods of collecting as much positive feedback as possible for public display, along with ways to collect comments best kept private.
How can you follow in their footsteps with regards to positive, public comments?
Often, the main tools you use to communicate with your audience are the best ways to collect comments. Social media is an excellent example for several reasons. For one, regardless of the platforms you use, it’s likely that previous customers who follow you love your business. That makes the hunt for reviews easier since you already know where to find a good portion of your loyal fans.
Second, many social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have a direct messaging feature. By reaching out through private messaging, you can ensure that a specific customer is truly happy before asking them to leave a public review—being surprised with a negative review can be disappointing.
If you use another method of communication to reach your audience, such as email, this will also help you to determine beforehand what kind of comments a person will make. In addition, you’ll be able to point them to the review channel of your choice, giving you added control over your online reputation.
As mentioned, there’s some feedback that’s best kept private, but you don’t want to hide any feedback that reflects negatively on your business. It’s beneficial to collect constructive criticism and complaints internally for your own use and growth. You simply don’t want long-lasting harm done to your reputation as you try to improve various aspects of your business.
You can use Google Forms, paper surveys at your physical location, email, SurveyMonkey, or a similar survey tool to collect and analyze comments privately. In doing so, you can get more context surrounding complaints you may have received, which you can then use to improve your business. You can also qualify individuals to see who you can confidently reach out to for a good public review.
Having a collection method in place isn’t all that’s needed to succeed at this. You also need to know how to approach customers to get what you need and want from them.
Whether you’re looking for internal insights or public votes of confidence, there are a few things you should keep in mind…
While you could send everyone the same generic message requesting comments, that wouldn’t be the most effective way to go. It wouldn’t show people that you truly care about their individual opinions. Many may not respond to your request at all, while others may lose respect for your business.
Although it takes a bit more time, it’s much better to customize your asks. That’s not to say that you can’t have a framework for your message—you should personalize each request as much as possible, at the very least by using each person’s name.
Let people know what you want to hear about. Are you interested in learning people’s view of your customer service team? Your pricing? Your competitive advantages, if any? Whatever you want to know, ask for thoughts on that specifically.
Now, of course, you shouldn’t corral people into giving a certain answer. After all, you do want honest feedback that you can learn from and that consumers can rely on. But cueing people does end in more value for you. You get to understand the specifics of each person’s experience rather than getting a bunch of vague responses such as “great/horrible experience!”
One last thing you should always do is express your appreciation for any comments you receive. You can do this both with your request and after feedback is given, whether good or bad. By doing this, you reiterate that you really care about what your customers have to say and value the time they take to share with you.
Additionally, you can’t forget to highlight the benefits of speaking up both in conjunction with your ask and thereafter. You could mention the opportunity to help fellow consumers make smart decisions. You could also highlight the improvements that come from constructive reviews, which ultimately benefit current and future customers.
If you take the right approach and choose the right collection tools as discussed above, feedback from your customers will be a real asset to your business.