5 Ways to use Reviews to boost your business

Gold stars - useless in your schoolbook, useful on your forehead

It’s all very well receiving positive feedback, but what good does it actually do you? Well, no good at all unless you actually use it. This little article takes a closer look at how to turn glowing feedback into business growth. After all, it’s the businesses getting customer praise who we want to be doing well.

Basic example – I was in the dentists the other day, and a brother and sister around 10 years old were in the waiting room after school. The sister had been given a gold star at for her work, and was showing her mum where she had stuck it in her exercise book. The brother had been given a gold star and stuck it on his school tie. The receptionist asked him about it, and rewarded him with a lolly for being such a clever little boy. His sister meanwhile, stuck out her bottom lip and understandably looked rather hard done by. This got the cogs ticking over, and the moral to this story is if someone praises you, find a way of using that praise to your advantage!

1)    First you have to GET positive reviews –  Use your mailing lists to direct customers to the site where you’d like them to leave a review

Your customer mailing lists are hard-earned and valuable. Think about exactly who is on your list – every single customer email address represents an individual who has sorted through hundreds of businesses and chosen YOU. The hard work is already done! You now need to use these happy customers as messengers and salespeople for your company. Remember, everyone likes to be asked their opinion. Send your customers an email with a link to the page which you’d like all your business reviews to appear on. (This is what CarSal did, and it worked really well)

Cuckoo Vine has a template email for members which you can send on to customers so they can leave you a review on your Cuckoo Vine business page. Alternatively, create your own and direct them to the review site of your choice.

Printed reminders – Give them a reminder card at the point of sale, or include a line in your receipt if mail delivery

2)      Use  reviews as a selling point – e.g. in your literature or website

It’s great having positive feedback left about your business online. However, a commonly made mistake is to leave these reviews unattended, and hope that new customers stumble upon them whilst trawling the web. Newsflash – this won’t happen. A positive review that no one ever reads is of no value to your business. You need to SHOW potential customers these reviews and use them as a selling point.

So, include them in your literature, link to a review page on your website, anything which shows the praise you’re receiving to potential clients is a good idea. If you’re a Business with Values (see the article) Cuckoo Vine provides you with a little button to link straight to all your great reviews.

It’s essentially word of mouth, which is the most powerful sales tool out there.

3)      Respond to reviews, and use your response to generate repeat business

On some sites (like Cuckoo Vine) you can respond to reviews left by customers. There are two reasons you should be doing this – one, it shows you appreciate feedback and gives that human touch, and two, it gives you an opportunity to encourage repeat business. For example, if a customer says ‘Great product and great service’ you say ‘Thanks for your feedback, mention your review and you can get 10% off your next purchase’ or ‘Thanks, we’ve got an end of season sale on at the moment!’. Anything you think will generate repeat business, as repeat customers are worth their weight in gold.

4)      Turn negative reviews into a selling point

Negative reviews are a fact of life – let’s be honest, from time to time they happen to the best of us. But the way you deal with these setbacks is what will really set your business apart from your competitors. On sites which allow you to respond to reviews like Cuckoo Vine, you have an opportunity to use negative reviews to show the world you’re reasonable, professional, friendly and fair. The worst thing you can do is turn this opportunity into a slanging match! If someone says you’re a useless scurvy git, swallow your pride, apologise and offer them something in compensation. If anything, this will reflect WELL on your business and potentially make them look like a tool at the same time. Bonus.

5)      Share your business review page through Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin

Use the ‘Like on Facebook’ link or copy the URL of your business’ page on your chosen review site and broadcast it to hundreds and thousands of people. You can also join relevant groups on Facebook and post your review page link here too. For example, if your business sells mountain bikes, join a ‘Mountain Biking’ group on facebook or linkedin and make a post which includes the link to your review page along a comment. This way the people reading the post are already qualified consumers of the product you’re selling, and straight away will see that you’re the kind of business they’d like to deal with!

So overall, think of your happy customers as your greatest allies. They’re out there just waiting to tell your future customers just how great you are, so why don’t you give them a helping hand?



Cuckoo Vine – Businesses with Values

Cuckoo Vine aims to promote UK businesses with integrity and values. It’s a platform to celebrate the good guys out there. If you have something to say about a great company, or you think your business belongs in the mix, get on Cuckoo Vine. It’s free!