Online reviews on the internet have become extremely important for service providers and retailers, because potential customers now increasingly make their purchases based on the opinions of other customers. For many consumers, rating portals serve as alternatives to search engines as guides to the best deals.
Therefore companies have been increasingly confronted with evaluation and comparison portals for many years now. From major brands to local suppliers, companies can not avoid the ratings nor choose whether the praise and criticism is published. Those who place their products and services on the market must automatically assume that customers will exercise their right to freedom of expression by entering and rating the companies on a growing number of portals. Negative reviews can be very bad for business in some circumstances and this can only be counteracted by quick, skilful responses and numerous positive reviews.
Therefore one first has to identify all the evaluation portals relevant for one’s own industry and continuously observe them. At the same time, every opportunity should be used to encourage happy customers to make recommendations. This can be a lengthy process depending on customer mentality, because praise and satisfaction rarely unleash as much energy and initiative as criticism and disappointment. But customers understand very well how important positive reviews can be.
The basic premise here, of course, is that customers are excited about the products and services. But a true competitive edge is achieved by way of enthusiasm about providers, about individual contact with them. Service that goes beyond the actual purchase makes the crucial difference. And this is where social media can be of crucial importance. Is the company always available with help and advice? How are questions answered, complaints processed or support provided? Are customers perceived and taken seriously as individuals with their own personal wishes and needs? Do the conditions for emotional enthusiasm exist?
People are very different and it is therefore virtually impossible to delight all customers equally. That’s why referral marketing should be focused on clearly defined target groups – on those clients, which generate the highest turnover and usually also bears the greatest potential of winning similar customers with similar interests and priorities due to their social or professional environment.