Customer reviews are extremely important when it comes to building a brand, yet so many businesses don't realize how many opportunities they're missing. In this post, I'll break down five customer review strategies you can use right away to build your brand and strengthen your brand positioning.
Strategy one: Maximizing 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 you win customers over by fulfilling their unmet needs. If you're only meeting needs your competitors are already meeting, then your brand doesn't have a reason to exist (unless you're delivering that same need in a unique way).
Although it’s these unmet needs that will differentiate you from your competitors, you still need to deliver on your customers’ core needs. Despite the fact your competitors are already meeting them. Positive reviews teach you exactly what those core needs are.
Research your competitors’ social and business profiles to find out what they're doing well. This could include…
- Product features
- Customer service
- Discounts and offers
… and many other things.
Glassdoor and Facebook will show you how strong a competitor’s company culture is, and how happy their team is. Usually, a 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 learn how you can serve them even better and steal them away.
Strategy two: Capitalizing on negative customer reviews
I recommend using all the strategies on this list to really boost your brand growth, but if you were to only take one strategy, you should make sure it’s this one. It's by far the most powerful.
Your negative reviews tell you where you're falling short and what customers need more of. They must be addressed quickly and thoroughly. If they're not, your competitors will be waiting like a pack of hyenas to steal your market share, and any temporary competitive advantage you might have established will quickly decay.
But you can do the same to your competitors. By going through your competitors’ negative reviews, you can see exactly where THEY are falling short and upsetting their customers. From there, all you have to do is do it better.
There could be a whole host of problems customers are struggling with. Here are a few to consider:
- The product isn't delivering on its promises.
- It takes too long to ship.
- The customer service team is 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 your customers that lacks motivation and excitement. Acknowledge your weaknesses, then nip them in the bud.
You should also identify your competitors’ weaknesses and capitalize 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 three: 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 focused on, “Buy this!” and, “Follow that!” that they forget one important truth: social proof really works! Neglect it, and you’re leaving big money on the table.
Social proof is great for breaking through the skeptical, logical mind and accessing the hopeful, emotional mind. When potential customers see others have made the buying decision before and not regretted it, it gives them the permission they're looking for to buy.
Asking customers to leave reviews is not only a great way of building relationships with them, it also increases trust with new customers. 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 customers, you can text customers, you can give them a phone call, you can use ad retargeting…
The choice is endless. As long as you’ve delivered on your promise to your customer, they’ll gladly take the time to leave a review. So, start asking for reviews and rewarding customers as part of your marketing strategy.
Strategy four: Interacting directly with your customers
“Interact with your customers!” Sounds obvious, right? But so many brands either do it wrong or don't do it at all. You need to create a two-way conversation between you and your customers, so you can really understand their pain points and how you can help them.
One great way of doing this is to set up what I call a “mystery customer”. Once a month, schedule an interview with a 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 listen to your loyal customers, you'll get stuck in an echo chamber that reinforces your existing ideas, rather than the ideas you need to hear 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, make sure you're responding to reviews your customers have written online. This is a great way to show your appreciation to happy customers while addressing any issues. 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.
Strategy five: Brand positioning using customer reviews
Last on our list is brand positioning. 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 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, it’s customer opinions that decide your positioning, not your own. You can impact their opinions, but only by listening to them and changing your behavior 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 brand positioning strategy? I'd say so, and I think most consumers would agree.
Make sure you're listening to your customers. If they don't see your brand the way you intended, you have a brand gap you need to fix.
From reviews to results
As you can tell, customer reviews are an incredibly powerful tool for building a brand. By analyzing both positive and negative reviews, you can identify unmet needs and capitalize 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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