If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerfulJeff Bezos
Let’s say you want to buy an iPhone 7, you look it up online.
What is the first thing you do? Look at the features, colour options, display, price and then, the most important thing- customer reviews.
You rely on them to guide you through the buying process simply because you want your money spent well. The reviews- good or bad compel you to take an action, either to buy or move on to another product
A couple negative reviews and you decide against buying that product or service, isn’t it?This shows how customer reviews act as a powerful source of influence and determine if your prospect will give in to your Call to Action (CTA)
Why are reviews & testimonials important for brand reputation?
Your personal experience speaks how important reviews and testimonials are for a brand, but let’s explore more reasons for the same:
- Research suggests 60% of the sales process is already complete if you’re talking to a prospect over the call.
Chances are, they already did their research and have read about your competitors. Talking to you on a call shows they believe you have the potential to deliver what you offer.
- Reviews & Testimonials are a great way to portray and strengthen the 60% to convert the prospect into a customer. It is a powerful tool for a customer to shortlist your agency among others.
- In this digital era, forming a perception about your business online and creating a reputation for itself is becoming an art. Reviews offer a powerful insight about the agency and makes it easier for the brand to select the right one for their projects.
- Online reviews can help you form a perception about the agency culture and its services by the level of customer/client satisfaction expressed through the reviews.
- A powerful testimonial has the potential to convert a prospect into a client. With reviews and testimonials, you can address the general doubts and concerns of your audience regarding your service and product.
- It helps you recognize which features your audience is talking about. This can benefit you in two ways; you improve the challenges they are facing through your product/service, thus leading to customer satisfaction or use their positive feedback to guide your marketing campaign and strategy.
Simply put, client reviews and testimonials are the key to understanding why people are buying/hiring your product/service.
Agencies need to think of a way to present customer reviews as a USP. It could be about the product and services aligned with the goals of the company.
Therefore, we can say:Reviews & Testimonials create a perception and perception boosts branding. Thus,
A regular review & testimonial update reflects your agency as an active and smart player in the industry.Not only does it strengthen the business’ branding but also helps in building customer trust and acquiring potential customers.
What does an ideal client review look like?
Once you’ve completed a project, you ask for a testimonial from your client.
Now, it can be anything from precise to vague; how do you decide if it’s worthy of display?
Remember: A vague testimonial with loose information can confuse the customer than guiding them in the right direction.
Let’s see what an ideal review from a client/customer should exhibit;
- Company name, Reviewer name, Designation & Photo
- Project summary
- Company background (Organization Structure/ Nature of Business)
- Project flow details
- Solution offered by the service provider
- What could have been better?
Client’s review for potential customers (‘Highly recommended’ or ‘If you want results, X can deliver it to you).
Is there any other way to establish brand credibility than through reviews?
Let’s face it, the reviews and testimonials you receive are not always under your control.
Among the few places where reviews are posted, Google remains almost every client’s most favoured place to post company reviews.
We have categorized reviews into 2 types based on the control you can exercise over them;
1) Administrable Reviews
These reviews are posted on the website and social media by the agency itself.
Here, the concept is simple; get the feedback from the client post project completion or after achieving certain milestones in the project and post them on your social media profiles and websites.
2) Non-Administrable Reviews
This is a tricky area where clients can post their views without the agency’s knowledge. The agency gets to know only when it is posted.
Among these, the popular agency review platforms are Google Business Reviews and Social media. Though India does not have many agency review sites, Unispade.com is one of the few. If you are an agency owner and are on the lookout for a platform for credible review build-up and genuine prospects, this is the place for you.
How should agencies handle negative reviews?
Negative reviews are inevitable and, cannot be escaped. The only way out is by facing them.
An important aspect to understand here is that reviews are always subjective with a mild to strong flavour of the client’s emotions brewed within them.
So, handling them appropriately is also essential for brand reputation
Handling negative reviews for Administrable platforms
A great way of avoiding negative reviews towards the end is by constantly asking for feedback after completion of every milestone task in the project.
If the client seems unsatisfied at any point, immediately address the issue and solve it.
At this stage, it is important to apologise and take responsibility rather than making excuses.
Handling negative reviews for Non-Administrable platforms
As mentioned earlier, these reviews are generally posted online and agencies have minimal to no control over them.
In such a case, you may try keeping a track of every client and prospect conversation with an aim to prevent them from going rogue!
Here, relationship management throughout the project execution phase plays a significant role.
Constant communication and a series of feedback programmes will prevent the client from posting any negative reviews online when they have someone to listen to and resolve those issues inside the agency.
Despite this, if the client displays a negative review on Google or Social media:
- Do not take too long to respond
- Do not escalate the issue online, solve it personally.
- Instead of countering, reply by thanking them for bringing the issue to light and take up the conversation in private.
- Acknowledge their bad experience, accept the mistake, take up responsibility and offer them a solution for the issue they faced with no extra costs.
If the review is posted anonymously, post a contact number or contact email ID requesting them to get in touch with you.
What if you could turn around an unsatisfied customer into a marketing strategy?
An unhappy customer might pose as a great marketing opportunity for your agency because there’s nothing more exciting than an astonishing redemption story in the industry!
What should you do for this?
It’s a little tricky, but if you strike the right chord, the music will flow right through the core of the industry.
For this, approach the client who gave you a negative feedback, offer them an additional service in return for their unsatisfactory review and do not forget to market the whole story.
You should ask a specified set of questions to ask the client for a detailed review. These questions can be asked either during the project or post its completion.
The purpose is to demonstrate the client’s honest & exhaustive opinion/feedback on the project in a way in which a prospect can be influenced by the review as heavily as his peer’s direct referrals.
These questions can be asked via email, type form or a personal call.
Consider asking these questions:
- How did you come to know about the agency?
- What challenges did you face during project execution?
- What results did we help you achieve? Is it beneficial for your business?
- How did our agency’s effort help in easing out your problems?
- Which feature/phase of the project impressed you the most?
- Is there anything we could have done better?
- How did our agency perform from a project management point of view?
- Would you be comfortable if we included your project budget in the review?
Note: This is only a suggestive set of questions for agencies to acquire reviews which are as detailed as possible and closest to the ideal customer review. Your questions may vary with your company’s expectations, goals and strategy.
How does Unispade help agencies build a reputation through reviews?
Unispade is changing the way reviews & ratings work in the favour of both agencies and clients.
Google and Facebook reviews aren’t moderated, whereas Unispade reviews are moderated by a team of analysts before anything is posted on the agency profile.
We post no reviews before verifying the claim and authenticity of the reviewer with the agency.
If the claims turn out to be true, we try to moderate the dispute and thus, help clients resolve their project issues and also help the agency prevent a negative review.
Agencies do not have to gather reviews from their clients. They can submit the client references and our team of analysts will get detailed reviews for the agency and publish them on their profiles. Agencies can use these reviews wherever they want, however they want.
Apart from this, prospects can easily be found here!
Wrapping it up,
Clients reviews are one of the most sensitive and powerful approach towards building a credible brand presence online.
Ratings influence the buying decisions of the audience and heavily impact the business development process.
Reviews as part of ORM (Online Reputation Management) have been an inseparable part of branding since a long time.
It’s time for agencies to pay attention to their branding strategy because this helps in generating business more than personal branding and running PPC ads on Google.
All the best!