Boost Your Customer Reviews Strategy This Holiday Season

The importance of online reviews increases every holiday season as more and more consumers choose to conduct their holiday shopping online. A recent survey from PowerReviews reports that 99% of consumers will shop online this season, while half plan to do all of their holiday shopping online. 

Although price remains the factor with the greatest influence over consumers’ holiday purchase decisions, ratings and reviews come in a close second. According to the survey, nearly 3 out of 4 consumers indicate that reading reviews has an impact on which gifts they choose to buy. 

Furthermore, more than one-third of shoppers claim that online ratings and reviews will have a more substantial influence on their purchase decisions this season than last. Among Gen Z shoppers, this statistic was significantly higher at over 50%. 

This means having a strategic customer review strategy in place when the holiday shopping frenzy begins is essential. As the season of shopping nears, keep the following in mind to leverage reviews in a way that instills trust in potential customers, loyalty in current customers, and enables you to extend your reach.

4 Customer Review Insights

1. Reading reviews starts at the window-shopping stage.

While you may think that customers don’t start delving into reviews until they’re close to making a purchase, the truth is many consumers will check reviews even when they’re just trying to get a feel for what’s on the market. Because online reviews are displayed prominently on so many different platforms, consumers are starting to form opinions about products and services more quickly than ever. At a glance, they can get a feel for what a business offers and what their customers think after making a purchase. 

As a result, having solid reviews can help keep you on the short list of potential customers when they start narrowing down their gift ideas.

2. Reviews aren’t a one-way street.

Consumers know by now that businesses can respond to reviews at will – both the good and the bad. When a company responds to reviews in the right manner, this can boost their online reputation and instill trust in window-shoppers, leading them closer to that all-important purchase decision. 

Responses also give shoppers a good idea of the personality and identity of the business, details they may reflect on should they be interested in making a repeat purchase. Whether you choose to “like” the comment or respond with a personalized thank you, you’ll impress current and potential customers alike. 

3. Negative reviews aren’t the end of the world. 

It’s not always easy to keep your cool when you receive what feels like an unfair negative review. After all, a one- or two-star review can make a serious dent in your overall rating unless you have a significant number of reviews stacked up. 

However, the key here is to remember that negative reviews don’t have to be a negative for your business. Consumers understand that unfair reviews happen – they see them all the time. Even negative reviews that aren’t unfair won’t necessarily ding you in a window shopper’s mind; they realize making mistakes is part of growing as a business. 

What matters is how businesses react. A respectful response is a necessary first step, as is actually acting on constructive criticism whenever possible. A real win is when you’re able to win the customer back by going above and beyond to resolve the issue, something that will stick in holiday shoppers’ minds much longer than your overall rating. 

4. Stay on Santa’s “Nice” list. 

Hiring someone to write fake online reviews will put you on the “naughty” list in a jiffy. Most platforms can quickly detect reviews that aren’t authentic. Not only will they remove these reviews, but they might even penalize your business for trying to cut corners. 

Should you be so lucky as to avoid catching the eye of the hosting website, chances are the very consumers you’re trying to attract may call your bluff, which will only cause you to lose credibility. Stay on the “Nice” list and you’ll be rewarded with real reviews from customers whose trust you’ve earned.

Have you considered incorporating readily available automation tools into your customer support strategy? Automation can be strategically used to provide customers with a better and more efficient experience. They can also relieve your team of stressful repetitive tasks, freeing up their headspace and allowing them to be more productive. 

If you’ve been putting off making automation a part of your business’s customer support service, it may be because you’re worried automation could actually harm the customer’s experience. However, it’s important to think hard about what customers actually value when interacting with a company. 

Generally speaking, the following qualities are typically at the top of customers’ wish lists: 

  • Efficiency.
    Your customers can’t schedule their day around a conversation with your support team. They need answers quickly and without having to jump through hoops.
  • Consistency.
    Interacting with a hit-or-miss support team can diminish a customer’s perception of your company’s reputation.
  • Precision.
    There’s nothing worse than being given the wrong answer or having your email lost by a support team. Errors like these make a business appear unprofessional.

The good news is automation provides the above and so much more. Combining a stellar customer service team that’s sharp and empathetic with an automation strategy that takes care of any error-prone or data-driven tasks is the first step towards an excellent customer support strategy. By striking the right balance, you can enhance customer interactions and reduce the burden on your team, providing a win-win situation for everyone. 

 

Easy Ways to Automate Support While Improving Customer Service Quality

Wondering just how to find that balance? Here are four aspects of customer service you can automate to boost your customers’ experience right away.

 

Automate Sending Out Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Keep tabs on your customers’ feelings about their experience without lifting a finger by having customer satisfaction surveys automatically sent out immediately after cases are marked as resolved. These surveys should be simple and straightforward – just a quick, “How would you rate the service you received?” message will do. 

If a customer marks that they are dissatisfied, automation can once again save time and effort by having a case be automatically opened to ensure a representative follows up with the customer and resolves the issue.

 

Use Auto-Reply Emails

Auto-reply emails can be used to let customers know you’ve received their question or complaint and will be in touch soon. Not only does this help manage expectations, but it also gives the customer the sense your team is on the ball. It lets them know their request has not been lost in the ether.

 

Automate Answering FAQs On Chat Support

Sometimes, customers contact support simply because they cannot find the answer to simple questions on a business’s website. In cases like these, a chatbot can be a huge help by directing the customer to the relevant info and minimizing the time they spend searching. 

The most important thing to keep in mind when using chatbots is to make certain it’s always easy for customers to connect to a representative when they’re not able to find what they’re looking for through the automation tool. Without this option, chatbots can be more of a hindrance than a help.

 

Create a Support Queue Workflow

Your support team shouldn’t have to figure out which cases go where. They should be using all of their brain power helping customers and solving problems. Leave the time-consuming organization tasks to automation. 

Automation can be used to prioritize or escalate certain cases and even redirect conversations. Best of all, your customers won’t ever have to feel like they’ve had to work to get the right person on the line. Instead, it will happen instantaneously!

With so many smart tools currently available, why not take advantage of the ones that can help your team and your brand’s image? By using automation strategically, you’ll be well on your way to a more efficient way of doing business that focuses on the customer’s needs every step of the way.

Influencers have a tendency to make social media look like easy, breezy fun. Yet when you’re the one behind your business’s social media posts, coming up with ideas feels a lot more like work. On top of that, you have to keep your brand’s message and target audience in mind while shouldering the responsibility of generating engagement. 

With all this circling in your head, it’s no wonder you lose creative inspiration every now and then! Keep reading to learn how you can make social media fun again and boost its effectiveness for your brand in the process.

Give Yourself the Gift of a Social Media Calendar

Fortunately, there’s an easier way to approach social media marketing. One of the best things you can possibly do for yourself and your brand is to plan ahead with a social media calendar. This may seem to take the “spontaneity” out of social media, but believe us, it’ll save you from the constant rush of trying to find buzz-worthy content on a minute’s notice. 

Most importantly, having your posts planned out can enable you to formulate a more cohesive social media campaign. That way, each post will build upon the other, providing added value for your audience and enabling you to tell a vibrant story over time.

This doesn’t mean you have to completely give up on ad-hoc posts. After all, responding to trending topics and hopping on the hashtag bandwagon can go a long way in increasing exposure to your brand. There can be plenty of flexibility within your social media calendar to post spontaneous content as well as content that is part of an overarching, well-thought-out campaign.

Fill Your Social Media Calendar with Our Favorite Post Types

Now that we’ve covered the importance of putting together a posting plan, you may wonder how you can generate enough content to fill the empty spaces on your calendar. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! 

Below, we’ve listed a range of post types to help get you out of your content rut. They’ll also ensure you’re hitting on all the different aspects of your brand messaging that you want to broadcast to the Internet.

1.       Giveaways

Looking to generate engagement with your posts? A giveaway here and there can do wonders to bring interactions with your content to new levels while also promoting your products and services.

2.       Countdowns

Are you launching a new product, or perhaps looking forward to a special event or holiday? Countdown posts can help your audience get excited about what’s next and engender curiosity among those who may be new to your brand.

3.       Links to your brand’s blog

You put a lot of work into maintaining a blog on your company website. Make sure everyone knows you’re putting out a wealth of free, informative content! Whether you want to point to new posts or highlight an older post that’s still relevant, you’ll be encouraging interaction with your brand on multiple levels by linking back to your own website.

4.       Insights into your company’s culture

Social media users love getting a behind-the-scenes look into different company cultures, so don’t hesitate to give the people what they want. From a quick video or image of your employees having a good time to an explanation of your workflow, there’s a ton of content to mine just by taking an inward look at how your company does what it does best.

5.       Quick questions

Most social media platforms have an easy-to-use feature that allows you to survey your audience with a question. Whether you request feedback about a certain product or ask your customers for their thoughts on current events, this is an easy way to spark interactions without having to invest time in content creation.

6.       Reviews or testimonials

If you’ve just received a glowing review or testimonial from a happy customer, amplify their voice through your own social media platforms. For example, you can retweet them, screenshot their review, or ask permission to use a snippet of their email in an eye-catching graphic.

Make sure you get the most out of social media by putting out varied content within a cohesive framework that represents your brand through and through. We hope these tips get you well on your way to a full calendar of fun posts you can be proud of!