Reviews are seriously under-used in business, and for a sad reason. Because most businesses first experience of a review is a bad one.
Did you know that more unprompted reviews are negative, but more prompted reviews are positive? I.e. ask for more reviews and your average score will go up.
Look at Amazon, even on mediocre products the reviews are generally good. I couldn't actually find a product as dull as dishwater, but I found 345 reviews for a bag of dishwasher tablets, none of them scored less than 3 out of 5.
So, how do we ask for reviews?
My preferred route, for good data, and for the follow-up I'll describe in a moment is the Net Promoter Score (also known as the NPS for people who like TLA's).
For those not in the know, the Net Promoter Score is a single question used to benchmark customer satisfaction.
The one question is:
“On a scale of 1-10 How likely are you to recommend (company X) to a friend or colleague?”
It then takes into account that most people score “average” much higher than a 5.
7 and 8 are therefore counted as neutral
9's count as +1
10's are +2
6 is a -1
5 is a -2
and so on.
So, we've asked our customers what they think of us. Now what?
ACT on it!
If a customer gives a negative score, get on the phone and sort it out. Did you know that customers who have problems resolved well are more likely to recommend you then customers who never had a problem?
If you get a neutral score, maybe think about asking how you could have made a 10, what would it take to get that score? You'll get a lot of suggestions you might not be able to achieve, but you'll get some quick wins too.
If you get a high score, you have a decision to make.
They just said they'd be highly likely to recommend you, right? Surely the next stop would be to open up your well thumbed copy of Dr Cialdini's “Influence: The Science of Persuasion”, turn to the chapter on consistency and…
Ask for the recommendation.
Most people don't do this, because they feel like they're being pushy or “salesy”, so if this is why you're not asking for recommendations we recommend taking a leaf out of Dropbox's book.
When they ask a customer to refer others, they give both the customer and the new referral something extra.
The file sharing and online storage service service gives any referred customer an extra 500MB space as well as rewarding the referrer.
How well did it work? $4 billion in revenues over 4 year sis how well!
The alternative to asking for a referral would be a testimonial, which depending on the customer may influence more people than the one or two they may recommend. That's your call based on the individual you've had a response from.
Either way, don't be shy. The reason most people hate doing surveys is they so rarely get any reaction to them. Just knowing they're being listened to can have an enormous effect.
Some fairly basic marketing automation tools can fire off a link to a survey when a support ticket is closed, a project is completed, or a delivery is signed for. Take the results back and initiate the follow-up steps and then fire off alerts to anyone who needs to follow up personally.
It's one of the best quick wins we've seen for increasing customer satisfaction, testimonials and referals, so give it a go.