Over the past year or so business owners have been bombarded by writers, like myself, about the importance of reputation management. The statistics are pretty clear from an article last fall on Fortune3.com
Website magazine reports, “The study, taken by Cone Inc., found that 89 percent of consumers trust online reviews, and while 80 percent of consumers have changed their mind about purchases based on negative information that they found online, 87 percent claim that positive reviews reinforce their purchasing decisions.”
I congratulate many owners who have come to embrace this need and are beginning to implement a strategy to obtain reviews. What I want to discuss is how to leverage the reviews inside your physical location to increase your business.
Before we begin I need to ask, can I find the reviews easily on your website? Businesses get comfortable knowing that reviews are on third party sites and think that is enough. Can I find these “Rave Reviews” clearly on your home page? Is it clear on the main navigation saying, “reviews” or “customer testimonials” or “see what our customers are saying”? If I as a consumer have to dig to find them in the 4th drop down on a navigation tab I will NOT go looking and so they don’t exist.
The reason why I wanted to address this first is that if you are not willing to show reviews front and center on your “Online” location, you most likely are not doing it onsite.
So now your customers have read how great the experience will be doing business with you so they make the trip and show up.
What do you have on site that shows you are the same place they read about? Can they see signs of happy customers? Do they see things that show your staff as people just like themselves? Let’s look at a few ideas that I have seen.
- I was struck by the simplicity of a sign in a hospital cafeteria the other day that said, “You asked, we listened, here are changes to our menu based on the spring survey. Keep your feedback coming”. I loved that. Think of how impactful it would be if you had a sign in your place of business that said, “Based on customer feedback we are opening up 30 minutes earlier on Saturday.” That shows you want to make the experience of doing business with you easy and convenient for your customers.
- I also saw a sign in the St Louis Airport with a group photo of the airport staff saying, “Catch us giving great customer service”. This showed me that they are willing to put themselves out to the public wanting feedback. Think what an impression that would make for your business if you had a huge photo showing your staff putting out that same message.
- I saw a “Wall of Fame” in an auto dealership where the had a column titled “Community Involvement”. It showed Little League teams they sponsored, charity events, letters they received from other businesses, newspaper articles. This shows people that you give back to the community, which is important to customers.
From buttons to banner stands find simple ways to show your customers, both current and future that you want to improve your service and how you are involved in your community. Remember all businesses are customer businesses and if you do not include them in the discussion of how to deliver your service to them, you will be wondering why your business is not growing.
Ask and you shall receive.