In this game of e-commerce, where commercial transactions are conducted electronically over the internet, more product reviews and ratings make up for better revenue and more customers. Since online purchases do not provide the experience to touch, feel, or try products the same way in-store visits do, customers rely heavily on their fellow buyers’ feedback.
Statistics show that 91% of consumers read online reviews and that about 84% trust them as much as they would a personal recommendation. An average customer is even willing to spend up to 31% more on a retailer with excellent reviews.
Another study found that 82% of consumers who read online reviews also seek out negative ones. This is noteworthy because it means that negative reviews can carry as much weight as positive ones. While single feedback with some positive words makes up an opinion, a few dozen saying the same thing makes a consensus that some people find more reliable or believable.
Needless to say, customer feedback is crucial to the success of your e-commerce site or online store. It adds to the social proof that consumers seek out before choosing a particular online brand or store to do business with.
Product reviews are helpful not only because consumers trust them but also because they allow you to learn from them and use them to improve your products and services, optimizing more than just your sales.
Keep in mind that asking for customer feedback is a double-edged sword—when you allow customers to share their honest experiences, expect to get positive and negative ones. With that said, here are nine simple but effective strategies to encourage more customers to leave feedback:
1. Configure profiles across different review sites
Google My Business, Yahoo Local, Facebook, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Angie’s List, CitySearch, and so on—consider all these sites that are relevant to your business. See to it that your company profile on these platforms easily allows your customers to post their ratings and reviews.
You can also request a few friendly customers to take the time to do so after a purchase has been made to see for yourself how it goes. There are general review sites like TrustLink and Trustpilot that are great even if your business does not fall under a review-driven industry like restaurants and hospitality.
2. Use customer feedback surveys
Despite being more challenging than most business owners think, developing a useful customer survey gives you a way to ask your customers a ton of relevant questions. And there’s more good news about taking this route: you have the option to choose between longer, traditional surveys or short slider surveys that help you target specific issues that pop up on your site.
For single-question surveys, there are tools like Qualaroo, which can be proven helpful for you in gauging the response of customers who are already active on your website. For long-form surveys, there are more options at your disposal, such as SurveyKing, Alchemer, and Qualtrics.
In order for customers to follow through on completing your surveys, ensure that you follow these simple best practices:
- Go for thoughtful, open-ended questions.
- Ask the questions that help you meet your goals.
- Create consistent rating scales.
- Avoid leading or loaded questions.
3. Carry out social media polls
Businesses can also now obtain valuable information just by conducting polls on major social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. An example of this was when McDonald’s used Twitter to poll customers about the 2-for-$2 menu items they were most likely to order.
Conducting polls across social media channels enables your company to engage users informally through simple but entertaining questions, with results quickly presented right after a vote is cast. It’s a great approach to gathering input on what features of a product or service they prefer and where they think improvements are needed.
4. Consider usability tests
Usability tests allow business owners to test a product with real people. Users put a product to the test by completing tasks while being monitored by a researcher. The insights are then used to provide product development recommendations. For example, if the majority of users suspect a particular issue during testing, this information will be sent on to the development team to address.
The following are the three different types of usability testing
- Comparative usability testing – Users evaluate the same products or services from different brands to find out which offers the best user experience.
- Explorative usability testing – This kind of testing helps companies decide which features a new product should include in order to meet user needs. People will try out different items or services to see whether there is a market gap.
- Usability evaluation – Typically done before a product or service is released, his test allows you to discover if there are any flaws that need to be addressed first. It is crucial to keep in mind that usability tests are not always indicative of real-world situations. A user with young children, for example, may use a product differently at home than in a test environment.
5. Send a follow-up email
If you’ve ever done any online shopping or stayed in a hotel, you’ve almost certainly been asked to rate your experience. Once a service has been rendered or a product has been purchased and delivered to the buyer, an email should be sent after.
Email is still the most common approach for requesting client feedback. One of the simplest ways to obtain genuine client feedback is also via email. Because most organizations utilize it as a support channel, you can use each interaction to gather feedback. Do the following three steps to increase your chances of receiving a response from a customer:
- Set clear expectations
- Organize email feedback
- Send personalized responses
Be the talk of the online retail space
E-commerce is only going to be more prevalent in the coming years, perhaps even becoming the norm with one technology after another advancing the platform further. Retailers should be prepared for this by solidifying their social proof early on through insightful customer feedback.
Garry Everrett is a Tech Geek who writes for Macs4U. Mostly he writes about topics revolving around the latest gadget and technology. In his free time, he likes to read sci-fi novels and play golf.