How Do Reviews Influence Your Customer Advocacy Efforts?
Customer review or customer feedback is a customer-formed opinion after purchasing and using your product or service. Customer reviews come in different forms, depending on client’s preferred communication method, e.g., word of mouth, customer support emails and calls, ratings on Google and social media, Net Promoter Scores, and website testimonials.
According to a customer service study by Zendesk, good customer experiences drive 62% and 42% of consumers to become a returning purchaser in the B2B and respectively in the B2C sectors. And, based on the Customer Experience Impact Report released by Oracle, a negative experience is the reason why 89% of customers switch to a competitor. Also the ratio between good and bad reviews is even more important than the reviews themselves as the businesses impacted by a negative feedback require 40 positive customer experiences to undo the damage of a single negative review according to Inc.com.
Customer reviews is a widely adopted concept of today that serves as a key performance indicator of business productivity and customer satisfaction levels. Positive or negative, customer reviews have the power to shape buyer’s behavior and influence his purchase decision. This is especially prevalent in the tech sector, where peer reviews serve as a strategic promotional tool. When purchasing new products59% of enterprise technology buyers report to trust reviews over the other forms of marketing and sales strategies like brochures or sales representatives. This has led to the growth of leading research and advisory companies, as well as to that of review websites specialized in gathering peer insights, and to hiring professional writers to generate reviews of certain products or services.
Due to the large number of people visiting their websites with highly targeted content, research and advisory companies like Gartner, Technology Advice, Forrester, Trust Radius, and G2 have gained a huge authority in the technology field, becoming the go-to source for B2B tech buyers looking to gain a deeper understanding of the industry trends. For most businesses today it means is a shorter customer acquisition process and lower acquisition cost. Especially in the context of globalization, with businesses trying to access new markets located thousands of miles away, hence third-party validation is gaining more and more traction as opposed to good old-fashioned marketing.
So, it makes perfect sense that we are more inclined to trust the experiences of previous customers prior to making our buying decision. If it ties in perfectly with customer advocacy, it’s because customer reviews are an integral part of it.
In a previous article we’ve touched upon the fact that quality has become the key differentiator for today’s demanding and educated buyers, but the stats go even further. According to a 2015 Capterra survey, software companies with online reviews get 22% more traffic to their website and 79% more leads in comparison to vendors without reviews. Taking all this into consideration, it’s easy to see why positive customer reviews is the driving force behind the most successful businesses of today. It becomes obvious how a nurturing and engaging relationship with your customers can take your business to the next level.
The question that remains unanswered is: How can your organization actively drive its customers to write more reviews?
Many companies would like to reap the rewards of customer advocacy, but they either don’t realize that they have the power to mobilize their customers on their behalf or they just don’t know where to start.
By engaging your advocate community and building strong, quality relationships with your customers, you’re not only building positive brand awareness around your products and services, you also attract new customers. As the result, it will help you to get listed as a reputable website and get new prospects.
If you are trying to make the most of your advocate community, a good place to start is to create campaigns that attract customer advocates and motivate them to leave a review. Another way is to ask them directly through emails, blogs, communities, and social media. People like to have their opinions heard and shared in order to drive positive change in the world, so don’t be afraid to ask them.
Key takeaways on how customer reviews influence your customer advocacy efforts:
- Good customer reviews derive from listening to your customers’ opinions, building quality relationships with them, and quenching their thirst for relevant content and quality products.
- Customer reviews are the foundation of your business strategy that you can reply on to drive more sales while reducing customer acquisition costs.
- When trying to optimize your brand’s chances to attract new buyers, tap into you advocate community and ask them to speak on your behalf – that’s the right you’ve earned that will benefit your bottom line.
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Asking a customer to take a reference call or visit is awkward for most sales and marketing professionals. After all, you’re asking a paying customer to do you a favor, right? Well yes, to some extent, but very often they would gladly help you. A reference is not a favor, it is a win-win. And advocates have their share of benefits from being in your program.
Customer Advocacy Marketing, also known as customer references marketing or customer evidence marketing, is a marketing discipline that leverages your customers’ inclination to say good things about your products and services and uses it to empower you sales, marketing and product development.