For some time, we have been living in quite a different society and we all need to adapt to this new socially distanced situation. Despite the spring weather, pavement cafes are empty and having puzzled over the installation of plexiglass, retailers are cautiously reopening On the other hand, there has been a huge increase in online sales in specific sectors. As an entrepreneur trying to guarantee the continuity of your company and navigate through this difficult period, you face many challenges. This situation needs creativity, flexibility and the ability to work with employees, suppliers and customers. At such times, a strong online reputation can be hugely useful for tackling these challenges. However, you obviously cannot build that in one day. How do you build and manage your (online) reputation, so that existing customers stay loyal and new customers choose you?
Reviews provide an answer to uncertainty
There is a great deal of unrest and uncertainty. Consumers are now seeking certainty in any form. We have always seen such behaviour with consumers comparing products or suppliers, but this need for certainty has now become even more important. If you provide potential customers with the opportunity to read other people’s authentic experiences, you create confidence and offer the certainty they are looking for. Reading those reviews answers questions, provides reassurance and creates a level of confidence so that they will do business with you. A strong reputation is about more than the services or products you supply. It is a kind of guarantee that you provide high value.
Reviews even more important in the decision-making process
This is the moment to sort out your online representation. As a result of all the measures, consumer behaviour has radically changed. Now that we are all staying at home with limited possibilities to go shopping, customers have less opportunity to explore and compare products in shops. This means that consumers are more likely to choose an online sales channel and will tend to take other people’s experiences into account when making decisions.
A strong reputation turns challenges into opportunities
Fortunately, the new situation also offers opportunities. By responding to developments and trends and by building on a strong reputation, strategic options emerge. For example, you can launch new product lines, offer other services or find a creative response to meet the needs that you normally fulfil. Another interesting development is the new target groups that the situation has created. Many senior citizens are now (from necessity) shopping online. As are people who normally go out a lot and who now, instead of going on holiday or visiting restaurants and bars, are suddenly spending much more time at home. Obviously, specific sectors have been hit hard and not everyone finds it easy to adapt, but Dutch entrepreneurs are generally creative and resilient.
Good examples of Dutch enterprise
Among our customers too, we are seeing numerous good examples of how people are managing these challenges and creating opportunities. It is good to see hairdressers using online channels to sell hair colouring packages. And personal trainers and sports centres have also expanded their online videos and services to be able to continue their service despite gym closures. A supplier of festival cups saw a rising demand for disposable items in the food collection and delivery sector. They responded with the successful launch of a product line for cutlery for this market. Successful, because of the obvious quality, and entrepreneurs can read what they can expect from the reviews. These are good examples of businesses adapting, being successful in providing added value and reaping the rewards with great reviews and loyalty from their existing or new customers. These innovations born of necessity may also have a permanent place in the future when everything has returned to normal.
Why you should start now
Reviews have been an important factor in decision-making for years. Thanks to the current situation, they will only become more important. To be totally honest, you should have started a long time ago. But it’s never too late and you can still make a successful start. Even if you are not normally active online or do not have an online presence, if you have a regular customer base, this is the perfect moment to ask your customers for a review and build up some momentum. In these times, if you can fulfil customers’ expectations, you can give them a level of certainty and be appreciated. At a time when we are encouraged to ‘be there for each other’, people will be happy to provide a review. It is not at all odd to ask a customer for a review about their last visit (perhaps weeks ago) with an appropriate explanation.
How you successfully use reviews
With reviews, you ask your customers why they chose you and why other people should choose you. They also give you feedback about how you can improve your services. In complimentary reviews, you can sincerely thank the reviewer. If the review is slightly more critical, you can respectfully ask to discuss the issue. It is the combination of compliments and criticism that makes reviews reliable and gives you the chance to show how you respond. This is one of the first and purest steps you can take to provide a transparent and complete impression of the quality of your services.
Act now as we move towards better times
Most reviews are positive. By actively collecting reviews, you can also experience this yourself. This motivates and energises you to keep going.
Integrating reviews in your business is not a quick fix that you introduce during a crisis. To achieve organic growth, you need to continually implement it in your business operations. Remember that better times will come and that your acquired reputation and reviews will then also help boost continuity for your business, webshop or organisation.
Regardless of whether you are just starting or have been collecting reviews for some time. Whether it concerns advice or tips or even to help you with a complete review strategy. We are there for you!