Online reviews are considered by many companies to be among the best and worst things they have to deal with on a regular basis.
That is because customer reviews are considered to be unbiased testimonials and as such are thought to carry extra weight than those found on the websites or in the sales collateral of a company.
A good review just might help convert a prospect into a customer and a bad review might keep a prospect from pulling the trigger. Smart businesses recognize their value and make a point to patrol the review sections of the places they sell their products/services because it helps them manage potential issues.
They also make a point to reach out to existing customers to ask/encourage them to provide positive feedback. There is nothing wrong with it, it it is like the old saying, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
What you can’t do is write your own review nor should you try to pressure customers into only writing good things.
Watch and Read Carefully
It is part of why you need to pay close attention to what your customer service teams say to customers and how they say it.
You’ll see an email I received after I purchased something on Amazon this past summer. Two things to mention:
- I changed the name of the company intentionally because I didn’t want to do anything but use them as an example.
- Anything you read in bold and or italics is highlighted because I added the emphasis.
Tue, Jul 9, 2013 at 10:21 AM
A follow-up email for your Amazon order XXXXX-XXXXX from WeMakeGoodStuff!
WeMakeGoodStuff! - Amazon Marketplace
Joshua D. Wilner
Dear Joshua Wilner,
Thanks again for your recent purchase of our WeMakeGoodStuff!product. I’m following up with you one last time to see how it’s been working out. Have you had a chance to use it yet? Do you have any questions or comments regarding the product?
Every WeMakeGoodStuff! product comes with an 18-month warranty. Though we don’t anticipate any problems, please contact us if you do run into any issues. If you’re not 100% satisfied with the product and/or service you’ve received, I would be very grateful if you could let us know by replying to this email and giving us a chance to make things right first.
Moreover, please feel free to post an informative, unbiased product review or upload a video to YouTube (if you are so inclined), so that others may benefit from your experience. Your feedback is invaluable to us as we work hard to serve you and continually improve our customers’ experience.
To submit your review, please visit the link below:
Thanks in advance for your time and input, and thanks again for choosing WeMakeGoodStuff!
Customer Satisfaction Team
Technology changes. Our commitment to happy customers doesn’t.
I don’t know if the person who wrote this email speaks English as a second language but it reads to me like they might. I like the follow up and think it is smart and reasonable to ask their customers to address any issues with the company first.
What I don’t like is this line, “Moreover, please feel free to post an informative, unbiased product review”
It came off to me as being controlling and somewhat pushy. That might not be the intent and it is very possible that other people will not interpret it in the same manner.
It could just be me.
The net result is my interpretation is a turn off and I don’t want to do business with companies like that. I don’t like the feeling I get and since they aren’t my only option in the future I will probably take my business elsewhere.
You Can’t Control People
You can’t make people do anything, you can’t control them.
It is possible that my interpretation is wrong but in a world in which the customer is always right and there are multiple options it is prudent to take steps to test our messaging.
Market research isn’t the end all be all, but sometimes it is worth taking a little bit of time to find out what people think. If one percent or less interpret your customer service messaging as I did it is probably not a big deal.
But what happens if 20, 35, 50 or 65 percent do?
The work you do in advance could be the thing that saves you lots of trouble in the future.