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How to Make the Most of Customer Testimonials

December 1, 2011 · 4 comments

in Internet Marketing

Costumers TestimonialsThe internet has brought us many amazing things, email, social networking and the ability to connect with people thousands of miles away at the touch of a button.

Unfortunately for some business owners, it has also given customers a platform on which to announce their displeasure at particular products or services. Often it does not matter whether what they received was good or not, the ability to tell the world what they thought of a company is too great for some.

There is no way of stopping people from saying what they think, but there are plenty of ways in which you can use what they say to your advantage. Not every review is bad and rather than fearing the wrath of the customer backlash, it is possible to use your reviews to your advantage, by improving trust signals and driving more traffic to your site.

Here are just a few ways in which you can use customer comments to your advantage.

On-Site Reviews

Everyone loves shopping online, but unless you’re one of the big name retailers like Amazon, people are going to need a little reassurance before they part with their credit card number. Establishing yourself as a real business that is reliable is a must if you are to succeed in any online retail capacity and posting reviews from your customers is one way of achieving this.

Most platforms will have the ability to let customers comment on either individual products or on your company as a whole and building a collection of positive comments will act as a powerful trust signal.

Product reviews will help to give a more informed opinion of the items you are selling from a customer’s perspective, while a company review will demonstrate that you can be trusted not to run off with peoples’ cash, as well demonstrate that you can back up any claims you make over delivery times etc.

This will ultimately lead to more conversions and as a result more money, so encouraging your customers to leave on site comments could bring great benefits to your business.

Off-Site Reviews

While on-site reviews will help to give your company and your products added credibility, off site reviews are becoming increasingly important as a means of driving more traffic in your direction.

Google is incorporating star ratings in its PPC campaigns that are gathered from external testimonial sites such as ReviewCentre, giving companies a star rating out of 5 next to their listing. This will bring a noticeable addition to your Adwords listing and might well help to get people to click on you rather than the person above you in the listings.

You can read more about this from Google here http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/06/introducing-seller-rating-extensions-on.html

Off-site reviews are also important as they give a more un-biased view of your company. On-site reviews are great, but when they are published on websites where you have no editorial control they come across as more trustworthy to potential customers.

The Dreaded Bad Review

If you are actively seeking reviews and pointing your customers in the way of testimonial pages, you will inevitably encounter the bad review. No matter how great your customer service is, you will run into the one customer who is not pleased and not shy about who they tell about it.

Rather than seeing this as a catastrophe, you can find just as many benefits from these reviews as from your positive ones.

It is how you deal with them that counts, so you should be seen to address their concerns and do your utmost to rectify whatever problem that they have. If something is genuinely your fault, own up to your mistake and go out of your way to put it right. Great customer service at this point is crucial and often if you fix the problem, the same person will come back and say how great you have been.

If people are reading reviews to get a picture of your company, they will also be expecting a few bad ones in there just to prove that they are for real. Everyone makes mistakes, it is how you deal with them that counts, so use the comments section of external sites and make a public demonstration of what you are doing to put things right.

If a customer is just being plain awkward, this will come across from their comments and your reaction, so as long as you are publically doing everything you can to help, any readers will see that you are a company that can be trusted.

Venturing into the world of customer comments can be scary for any company, but they can be crucial for instilling trust in your business and building your reputation. If you are already doing a good job then you have nothing to fear and this will come across from all of your positive testimonials. Bad reviews can always be rectified, so make the most of the opportunities that customer comments can make for your online business.

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Alan Grainger is an in-house B2B web marketer in the business gifts sector and manages SEO for The Promotional Gifts Company. He writes articles exploring the issues faced by the B2B web marketer, giving an “in the trenches” view from an in-house SEO department. Follow him @alanjgrainger.

Alan has written 1 awesome articles for us at Opportunities Planet

Twitter: @alanjgrainger

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Custom Polos December 2, 2011 at 11:34 pm

We’ve had trouble getting testimonials on our shirts even after customers bought them. We started offering incentives for reviewing products and it has turned out to be a great resource for new customers who want to know more about the product and its pros/cons. Really an overlooked aspect of marketing IMO.

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Gopal Iyer December 12, 2011 at 3:05 am

I think “Money back guarantee” works very well for newbies selling on the internet.

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William | Wholesale Suppliers April 5, 2012 at 11:01 am

Exactly consumers reviews are getting very significant in the e-commerce industry. Now people search for your company reviews before they input their credit card number to your web store. But the sad thing is that some competitors of your niche write negative and fake reviews about your company on different reviews sites just to harm your integrity in the industry, that, I feel, is a big crime to misguide the online users and litter the web that is against the core purpose of the internet.

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