It’s a question that comes up regularly when discussing reputation management.
“I was curious what your thoughts on for enabling the ability for people to write reviews on products and if we should ask a friend or two to write a review to encourage sales. After looking at a couple of sites, it doesn’t seem people often put reviews on furniture.”
This question came across my desk last week and I wanted to share my thoughts here hoping it might help others with their own struggles in this area:
It’s not just furniture; big product purchases and products that don’t have a high renewal face this challenge. People are more conscious of how much they like a product when they buy it over and over again, and have to continue to come to the same decision to make that same purchase. When you are buying a long term or big purchase, you are buying once. As long as you don’t get cold feet or buyer’s remorse, you’re generally satisfied that it fulfilled whatever void existed. The trigger that will get you reviews are overwhelming negative and that happens when there is a disconnect with expectations.
To counter this you could encourage a few folks you know to post reviews, but it isn’t sustainable. There needs to be an effort around how to incentivize customers long term. What platforms does the organization need reviews on? When in the sales funnel is the most appropriate time to make that ask? What will it take to get our customers to want to write a review?
Since there is a big reveal when the customer receives a product purchased online, that might be a perfect time to make the ask them. This could look like an incentive: “post a photo of your outdoor furniture with hashtag #PatioLove and we’ll send [insert incentive]”.
The challenge is that the incentive needs to be enough that they are going to follow through. You need to work with leadership team to determine what the value of a review. In my industry as well as other service based industries, it can be very challenging to receive reviews organically. Subsequently I’ve run email campaigns with the incentive of a t-shirt; $8 for the shirt, plus $2 for postage and handling was well worth it to see positive reviews on Google Maps. At other locations sometimes there are product giveaways that have a high perceived value, but are actually lower cost to the company.
While working with an upscale restaurant we implemented a “free small plate” for posting reviews. This helped to push down several negative reviews that had been posted to their Yelp profile page. Once we had that platform well on its way, we transitioned the campaign to other platforms.
Running a successful reviews campaign works similar to any small or large scale effort in marketing:
Implement. Test. Evaluate. Repeat.