National Clothesline
How to obtain customer reviews
According to Forester Research, 71 percent of online shoppers read reviews before making a purchase. And most SEO research companies agree that reviews play a big role in boosting your online visibility online and rankings in local search results.
Even glowing offline recommendation and word-of-mouth referral from happy customers is likely to generate far more sales than most paid advertising can.
People like to share their opinions if you ask them. Every time you ask your customers to provide a feedback on a purchase, it makes them feel important, not just another transaction. Customers also like to feel that they are involved and contributing to the success of your business.
Given the immense value reviews and ratings can have on your business, it is important to make sure you are getting your fair share.
The number-one reason most cleaners do not get reviews or referrals isn’t because they aren’t good or customers are too busy to give them, it is simply because cleaners do not ask for them or make it easy for their customers.
Ask for them. Common sense says if you don’t ask for reviews you probably won’t get them. Cleaners need to get into the habit of asking for customer reviews as close to the point of customer satisfaction as possible.
Very few customers will provide feedback — good or bad — unless invited to do so. According to a few customer research projects, for every customer who complains, there are 26 that do not. Existing customers are more valuable to you since they are more likely to come back into your plant. So it makes a lot of sense to get their feedback and keep them happy.
Make it easy. Most people will take at least a few seconds to click on a simple star rating system. If they really are too busy, they will politely decline or ignore your comment card. But the easier you can make it for customers to review their experiences with you, the more feedback you will get.
Provide multiple opportunities for your customers to get involved. Some customers prefer to fill out an online survey, some would prefer a comment card. Make it easy for them.
Create an online survey. Surveymonkey.com is a free and simple online survey website that is easy to use and provides valuable feedback. If you are currently on Facebook, you can create a survey using the free Questions tool.
Offer incentives. Encourage customer reviews by offering incentives in exchange for their time, such as a chance to win free drycleaning or a free shirt cleaned. Don’t offer straight discounts, otherwise it looks as if you are trying to pay for positive results.
Include a link on your receipts. A lot of POS systems allow for some customization. If you are running an old POS system, you might need to place a placard out on your counter or include hangtags on your orders.
If you are able to do minor customization of your receipts, include your online survey and have your counter staff remind them to go online. Also, having your counter staff circle the website before handing customers their orders will help reenforce this program.
Include a comment card. Attach a small comment card with each order. Have them fill it out and bring it back on their next order. If there is a small incentive, make sure the incentive is given and the card is placed into a comment box without the counter staff looking at it.
Follow up. If you are good at collecting information on your customers (e.g. email, cell phone, address) do a follow up soon after a purchase. Set some time aside to do customer service drives. If the customer is new, follow up immediately to see how the experience was.
For current customers, do this a few times a year so your customer service can stay on track. Follow up with either an email, postcard or a text message to their cell phone. All are very easy and inexpensive.
Provide in-store access. Include in-store signage asking for feedback and the classic customer comment box by the counter. If you want to modernize it, set up a computer nearby so customers can enter their rankings and provide feedback that you can easily track.
Bring in outside help. If you need additional help, an outside marketing firm can usually help prepare surveys and help you track them. Customers will often be more honest with a third party than with the company directly. Best of all, the outside marketing research firm can provide and objective perspective and help you interpret the data to see where the greatest opportunities for improvement lie.
Getting reviews can be a cumbersome and scary proposition. Positive and negative feedback tend to go hand-in-hand and hearing bad things about your business can be difficult to swallow. But smart businesses uses negative reviews as important feedback to improve their business.
Continuous improvement is the best way to adapt, grow and become more profitable. Cleaners who ask for reviews and make it easy for customers to provide feedback are typically the ones with the happiest customers.
Neil Schroeder has been in the marketing industry for the past 15 years. He is president and creative director of the Golomb Group, developing direct response, social media, in-house promotions and web site campaigns for drycleaners throughout the nation. He can be reached by phone at (800) 833-0560, by email at neils@golombgroup.com or on the web at www.golombgroup.com.