I spent the bank holiday weekend in Center Parcs with my boyfriend, and we wanted to pay a visit to the on-site spa. The spa offered a discount when two people booked together, and as the website wouldn’t allow us to book this offer for some reason, we decided to go and book in person. At the reception desk, the very helpful spa host told us about the discount and tried to book it for us, but she couldn’t do it, either. It turned out there were only a certain amount of spaces available at this rate, which had all been taken. This meant we had to pay the full price for what was exactly the same experience, despite there being no indication on the website of the offer coming to an end. Apologetic and perhaps worried we may be disappointed or annoyed at this system, the spa host told us that when we came for our spa session the next day there would be a free gift waiting for us. And sure enough, when we came back the next day the same host handed me a gift bag containing a selection of small skincare treats. It was a lovely gesture, and the spa was wonderful.
What’s the point of me telling you this story? This person took a potentially negative experience and turned it into a positive one. And as a result, here I am telling you a story about the time I went to this spa and received a service that exceeded my expectations. I could have written a blog post about the time I went to a spa and their booking system meant that I paid more than I felt I should have to, and how you should make sure your customers feel like they are treated fairly. But that is not how I would frame the situation, thanks to the spa host. She took charge of the situation and changed the outcome to encourage better brand reputation and repeat business. And who knows, maybe I’ll even leave them a good review. That’s the point of this story.
Controlling the Story
Did you know that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and that 73% of consumers trust a local business more if they have positive reviews? When a piece of content has so much influence on the purchasing decisions of your potential customers, you should want to do as much as possible to ensure the stories they tell are positive ones. Your actions, and the things people say about you because of them are more influential than anything you write about yourself on your website. Of course you’re going to say that your product is good – but what does the rest of the world say when they have tried your product? And what will potential customers think as a result?
Going the Extra Mile Online
As we’ve seen, good reviews are created by going the extra mile, and this comes from all areas of your business – from the people on your front desk, to your website. A website with a confusing checkout process, or a lack of online communication when people need help, could lead to a negative review even if your product or service is good. (And of course, problems with your website could lead to you not getting the sale at all.) But here we’re talking about going the extra mile, so what else could your website do to win over your customers? Could you offer buying guides, how-to articles or other advice? Are there any tools your customers would benefit from, such as quick questionnaires to help them find the right product for their needs? Could you provide a live chat so that your customers can speak to someone online quickly? The spa host was very thoughtful and personable, and showed that she cared about her customers’ experiences. Consider how your business and your website can do the same, and get you those coveted great reviews and subsequent purchases.
Creating a Review Strategy
When you’re providing a service that people want to shout about, you need to give them a platform to do so. Consider creating a strategy for getting people to leave you reviews. There is no one-size-fits-all scenario for this, and you know best when it comes to how and when to reach your customers. When is the best time to contact them, should you email them or contact them on social media, and what platform or method should they use to send you their thoughts? Then, how will you display their reviews on your website, and what other methods will you use to share them with the world, e.g. your email newsletter or social media profiles? What will you do to make people want to speak highly of you, and how will you give them a place where they can do that and benefit your business?
I talk more about the importance of reviews, the difference between reviews and testimonials, and how you can get more of them onto your website in my blog post “Making the Most of Your Testimonials and Product Reviews”.