June 2, 2010

Motivating Customers to Write a Review


Hostway Team

By Buffy Cranford
Whether consumers are purchasing new computer equipment, making dinner reservations for clients, or seeking a new public relations firm, a high percentage take a few minutes and browse online reviews before making a final decision. The power of the online reviewer has increased dramatically with online review Web sites like Yelp, Metromix and PowerReviews. In fact, according to Forrester Research Inc., an independent research company specializing in marketing and technology, over 70 percent of online consumers read online reviews. Now, businesses are seeking innovative marketing methods for motivating customers to write a review.

Motivating Customers

The same finesse and professionalism you emulate during each business day can motivate customers to write reviews for your company. Ethically, you wouldn’t bribe a customer for a positive review, but you can deliver an excellent product, service and provide a quick and smooth review process with an attached incentive.
Integrating a netbook inside your business offers a contemporary, yet affordable idea for generating customer reviews. With your favorite online review Web site as the default home page, customers have instant access to complete a review quickly and effortlessly. You can even couple the netbook with a special offer like a 20 percent off coupon for the customer’s next purchase with the completion of a review. Using this method, customers can leave feedback immediately before they are distracted by the phone, commute, mother-in-law, etc. and, with a discount in hand, they may become a repeat customer.
Customers rarely fill out review cards at a business unless their experience was miserable. With the increasing importance of review ratings, all of your employees should work as a team in generating reviews. For example, a warm thank-you and a simple request to take a few minutes and stop by the review netbook can increase responses.
There are a variety of other special offers you can use for generating reviews and revenue. Discounts of $5 off a purchase of $25 catch the attention of consumers in this struggling economy. Another idea is to offer customers who submit a review a chance to win cash prizes or gift cards.
You could also combine both offers if the customer takes a few extra minutes to write a testimonial. Consumers trust other consumers and rely more on stories of experience than whether the business has three or five stars. The customer may have rated your business at three stars, but still loved the product and service.

The Power of Reviews

Although the face of marketing has dramatically changed with the availability of online resources, the basics of good business practices remains the same. New customers will become dedicated customers when you offer a quality product and excellent customer service. With an implemented review process, your business has the opportunity to discover customer attitudes, needs, desires and problems. Customers are a priceless asset for your business growth, and whether you choose Yelp, Metromix or a number of other Web sites as your online review choice, implement an incentive and motivate your customers to complete online reviews.
About the Author
Buffy Cranford has over 20 years of experience in writing and publishing. Her writing background includes newspaper journalism and reviewing and researching computer software and hardware for Smart Computing and PC Today magazines.

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