Get More and Better Online Customer Reviews
Your brand is not what you say it is, it’s what Google says it is.”
~ Chris Anderson, Wired, speaking at a TED event
- 82% of people regularly read online reviews before doing business with a company.
- The most common source of reviews are Google, Yelp and Facebook.
- Thanks to the pandemic and the ability to shop globally, online purchasing is up considerably, and its growth is likewise driving greater reliance on online reviews.
- For companies with 2 stars (or less), only 3% of shoppers say they’d do business with you.
The Brutal Truth About Ecommerce Reviews
Based on the statistics (the research is here and here), it’s official, online reviews are critical to and a requirement for any business that operates online. And today, all businesses operation online.
Often the reviews found online are the first – and perhaps – the only information a customer uses to evaluate your company and its products and services. Given the significance this information plays in your company’s ability to attract customers and the fact that you aren’t the final arbitrator of this “messaging,” it is essential that business owners/tour operators to attempt as much influence as they can on this channel.
This can’t be said any more directly — if reviews are how customers find your company, learn about your company and evaluate your company, exerting as much control over this discovery process must be primary focus of your marketing efforts.
A Two-Pronged Strategy
So, since online reviews are vital to a company’s success and are, to a large extent, outside of your control, how does one win at the online reviews game?
Well, the experts suggest a two-pronged strategy is best, one that includes a committed plan to earn reviews … the 5-star variety, coupled with a strong sense of authenticity and brand personality when responding to those reviews. Follow this strategy and you may just land top billing on the “Best Tours” list.
The first step in Operation “Get A Lotta Reviews” involves building a process to ask for reviews and then collecting those reviews from your happy and satisfied customers. Luckily, TripWorks already has a solid plan and process.
Why People Leave Reviews and How to Get Them to Do So More Often
It might be chromosomal – like whether you’re a lefty, have green eyes or can dunk a basketball – but it seems that people are in either one of two buckets when it comes to leaving reviews:
- Those who do, and
- Those who will, but only when asked
Of those in the “Do” category – these folks leave reviews because they had a wonderful experience, because they had an awful experience or because they believe the greater public absolutely benefits from their opinions (specifically) on a host of subjects.
These individuals are the minority. They are all about doing their civic duty, uncovering the “gems or gotchas” and can simply think of no better person than themselves to relay a rating for the sandwich they enjoyed in Brooklyn (“The special sauce was a winner”) or the zipline they didn’t (“Lines too long, course too short”) in Nashville.
We all know at least one “Doer.”
The “Willers” — this is the category in which most people fall. They are those men and women who will certainly leave a review … when asked, and … when they have something nice to say.
Willers comply with a review request because they understand the power reviews have on a company’s success and they truly want to help. Truth is most people are naturally altruistic, especially when asked.
It is important to know that there are vastly more positive reviews out there than negative ones. Interestingly, however, the negative ones seem to have more sway. This is because people view negative reviews as more genuine and more insightful as to what could potentially go wrong with a purchase or experience. (“The tour bus was dirty; the guide was late”).
So, to answer our earlier question, how do you increase the number of reviews and ensure they are high on the point score?
- You strike a positive, emotional chord with your customers by providing wonderful experiences
- You ask for reviews (and use TripWorks to automate this process)
- You make leaving a review incredibly simple (TripWorks’ automation makes the process incredibly simple)
- You ask again
How TripWorks Simplifies the Reviews Process
TripWorks, as with all areas that impact a tour company’s operations, offers a terrific solution to the challenge of collecting and showcasing customer reviews. In fact, the process is not only streamlined and simple, but it adds significantly to a tour operator’s ability to favorably present customer reviews. (“Wow, not only was the booking and waiver process easy, this review process is a breeze too!”)
Here’s How TripWorks Does It
Immediately following a tour, trip or experience, the TripWorks CRM platform sends an automated email to guests asking them to both detail their experience and provide a rating (the “Ask”).
Within the body of the email is an explanation as to how these reviews will be used and their power in assisting fellow travelers to learn about a particular experience and your company. This is the “Why.”
These reviews (and you’ll start to get a lot of them) can then be presented on your website and alongside the associated tour or experience during the reservation process, conveniently available for visitors and guest to read and consider when deciding on a trip.
Here’s How You Can Use Your Reviews
The added benefit is that the TripWorks review process gives you more control over your reviews.
You achieve more control because you ask for and collect feedback directly from your guests via your email communications. And, since these reviews then come to you as opposed to third-party review sites like Google, Yelp and popular OTAs, you see your reviews before they are posted to the internet at large.
Got a review that is especially kind? With TripWorks, you can spotlight this review on your website and, more pointedly, spotlight it within your booking flow alongside the particular experience referenced in the review.
Furthermore, with these “especially kind’ reviews, you can then make the additional request to have the reviewer post their feedback on the review sites mentioned above.
The overall result is more reviews, more detailed and specific reviews and more control over reviews on your website and online.
Responding to Your Reviews
Just as there are two types of reviewers, there are also two types of reviews – the good and the not so good.
The advice for all businesses is to engage with and respond to all (or many) of your reviews. For the good ones, the experts say a simple ‘thank you’ is sufficient to recognize your guests’ kind words. For those that are offered with a gripe, the advice is to begin a dialogue and offer a genuine interest in resolving any issues reported by those less than happy patrons. While some folks will simply not be satisfied regardless of your approach, often, once concerns are address, guests who were originally a bit fussed are moved to change their initial rating up a few point – which is always nice.
As stated above, building and managing a successful reviews process is now a requirement for all tour, activity and adventure providers, and as such, you need a good plan of action to win online. As with all aspects of a tour’s operational management, TripWorks offers a complete solution to the successful collection, promotion and management of these most valuable assets.