Top Tips for Customer Reviews
The news earlier this week that the SRA is running a pilot with customer review platforms is very welcome news and long overdue. Conveyancers, in general, are way behind agents in generating and marketing customer reviews to secure new business.
I’ve spoken to many conveyancers over recent years and when I ask where or how they collect customer reviews the answer is often – “We don’t, we’re old school, all our business is through word of mouth or walks through the door.”
This may very well may have been true in times gone by but the world has changed and through digital technology customer expectations and their buying habits have also changed beyond all recognition. The fact is consumers are more informed and doing more research online about products and services they want to use than ever before. Google data says 70% of the buying decision has already been made by a new customer before they contact you via your website.
Companies like Amazon, John Lewis, Currys and many more are using reviews to increase conversions of website visitors to purchasers. They know that even a purchase as low as £30 in value will have an increase in uptake by showing feedback from customers who have purchased and used the product. How is a vendor or buyer going to trust a conveyancer with what is probably the largest financial transaction in their lives without knowing what other people have said about their experiences?
So if you’re not collecting reviews already it’s something you seriously need to consider to ensure your business is in the best position to win new business. There are different options out there and it’s important you pick a review platform that is right for your business. However there are pitfalls and it’s important that conveyancers, whose reputation is so important locally, understand these before signing up to a system to generate customer reviews. So here are my top tips for customer review platforms.
Open or Invite Only?
It’s important to know that there are essentially two types of customer review platforms. ‘Open’ or ‘Invite Only’. Open platforms allow anyone to leave a review of your firm at any time whereas Invite Only platforms are purely for customers that have actually transacted with a business. A good example of an open platform is TripAdvisor and an invite only platfrom Booking.com, both are very well known brands used by millions of consumers. The main difference between them is that anyone can write a review on TripAdvisor irrespective of whether you’ve stayed at a hotel whereas with Booking.com you can only leave a review once you have stayed at the hotel.
There are merits to both but the main thing to be aware of with open platforms is that you will organically accrue reviews that you didn’t invite and potentially warrant. With an invite only platform you can be confident that all reviews are from real customers based on real transactions and so can your prospective customers.
Don’t be late requesting reviews
Make sure you ask for a review or feedback as close to the transaction as possible. This ensures the quality of the response and in most cases the client will be happy that the transaction has been completed, even if things were bumpy along the way. If it’s months later when the review is requested other factors might influence the client’s memory and subconsciously they can blame the conveyancer for these.
Ask the client to name a member of staff
When a review includes staff names it helps to prove that the review is genuine and can also be very motivational for the member of staff when they see the review themselves.
Incentivise clients to submit reviews
Incentivising clients to submit reviews might sound wrong but as long as you make it clear the incentive is to complete a review, not give an overly favourable one, this can work well to increase your response rates. The more reviews you can generate the better.
Make sure reviews are recent
Nothing looks more suspicious on a firm’s website than old reviews that are months or sometimes years old. It simply looks as if the company hasn’t had a happy client for ages!
Reply to reviews
Replying to reviews is important. Clients have taken the time to give you feedback so a thank you is a minimum. If it’s a good review you can also use the opportunity to say you would be delighted to act on behalf of friends or family.
Post Reviews on social media
I know it’s not in everyone’s nature but as a business you need to brag about your successes so post those glowing reviews on your social media channels. It sends a clear message that you deliver great service!
Use a review platform that is relevant to your business
Using a review platform that’s relevant to your business proves that you are part of a community which is happy to demonstrate the level of service they provide, prepared to listen to feedback and committed to improving their service for the future.
This article was written by Simon Brown Founder of ESTAS the review platform for conveyancers, agents and mortgage brokers.