The web is officially social, if you hadn’t already heard. People are communicating with each other in ways that would shock people living just 10 years ago. If you want, you can literally share every aspect of your life with the entire web.
It’s no secret this has changed things in a BIG way for internet marketers. Although if you look closely at what’s really happening, you’ll see that it’s nothing new or revolutionary. Sure, technology has changed greatly, but the mindset is much the same.
Let me explain...
Go back 70-100 years and look at how businesses were run. Small “mom and pop” stores were responsible for providing you with just about everything you needed at any given time.
The shopping experience was a LOT of different back then than it is now. Back then, you probably knew the name of the person running the store. They knew you too, and if you were a regular customer or a friend, they would be thrown in a little extra with your purchase now and again and also provide pretty liberal credit terms. Overall, the shopping experience was much more personal.
But then the mass merchandisers sprung up – massive stores offering everything in large quantities and at low prices. Service took a back seat to price and customers were little more than numbers. Taking one step into a modern Wal-Mart makes it quite obvious that personal service is a thing of the past. Most of us have gotten used to this, though. Our expectations have been lowered making price the main attraction.
But social media is changing everything. With the new interconnectedness of the web, it’s possible for business owners to communicate with their customers on an individual level again. It’s almost like the “mom and pop” era revived, just on a much larger scale.
Yes, social media’s made it possible to create a “mop and pop” atmosphere in a multi-million dollar business.
And people are responding. If you look at sites like Google Places and Yelp, you can see people are becoming more and more concerned with getting their products from the best businesses. And why shouldn’t they be? They now have a choice. Instead of going to a random business that may not treat them as human, they can go to the best business in town – according to their friends and neighbors!
So for internet businesses, reviews are becoming vital. If you don’t have good reviews and your competitors do, they will get the business that could have been yours. It’s that simple.
This is about as simple as it gets - but it’s so very important. You WILL NOT get good reviews if you don’t provide quality - both in your product or your customer service. A poor quality product, even with the world's best service, is still a poor quality product. If the product doesn't meet your customers' expectations, expect a negative review. A quality product with impersonal service puts you at just as much risk of a bad review.
At the end of the day, social media is leading to rising customer expectations. Price is starting to become less important while the value is what is really starting to matter.
Is your product exactly what the customer is looking for? Is it high-quality? The best product on the market? Does your service underpromise and overdeliver? Are you responsive to your customers' changing needs?
If you want good reviews, you have to give your customers something to write a review about. People don’t write reviews on run-of-the-mill products and middle-of-the-road service. No, they write reviews when they receive something exceptional – something that delivers more value than they thought it would.
What is one thing you can immediately do that will drastically increase the number of reviews you get? Ask for them.
We agree - this sounds a little invasive. After all, if a customer wasn't going to write a review after buying your product, would ask them to do anything but irritate them? Well, that all depends on the customer experience.
If you know you've delivered a fantastic customer experience, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t ask for a review like this:
“I feel like we had a great interaction today – it’s clear we work well together. Mind leaving me a review on my Google Places? I’ve been trying to get it up and running.”
Obviously you can say whatever you want. But if the customer had a good experience, they’ll likely be more than willing to write a review.