The Importance of Customer Reviews and How to Get Them

Colin

Colin

17/01/2018

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Welcome to Module 5 of our online course for funeral directors. This month we’re looking at the importance of customer reviews and how you can use our free tool to easily collect them.


1. Why you should care about customer reviews

Most funeral directors don’t rate collecting customer reviews as a top business priority. However, they need no convincing that word-of-mouth referrals are of critical importance – after all, this is where most of their new business has historically come from.

What if we think about online customer reviews in a different way.

Online customer reviews are essentially word-of-mouth referrals in the online world, except they are arguably more valuable. Whereas one word-of-mouth referral will net you one new customer, an online customer review exists forever and publicly online, where it can impact the buying decisions of hundreds of future customers.

There is strength in numbers. The more online reviews you have, the more confident customers are that you provide a first-class service. As consumers continue to shift online, customer reviews – and the social proof they provide – will play an increasingly important role.


2. The statistics

Not convinced? These statistics might help to change your mind:

  • 90% of customers read online reviews before contacting a business
  • 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 72% of customers will only engage with a business if it has positive reviews

These statistics are even higher for Baby Boomers and Millennials who are now well and truly accustomed to searching out customer reviews for just about every major product or service they buy. Being able to read 30+ 5-star reviews before moving forward with an important purchase is something that these demographics now simply expect.

Further, studies show that 33% of consumers need to read 10+ reviews before trusting a business. However, the median number of reviews for each funeral home on our website is only 2. That leaves a lot of room for improvement and presents a genuine opportunity for fast-acting funeral directors to stand out above the pack by actively seeking out more customer reviews.

Our website data shows that 18% of users searching for funeral homes use the “Rating” filter to sort funeral directors by those with the highest rating.

List Cheapest and Best Prepaid Funerals Melbourne


3. How to use our free tool to collect reviews

Speaking with funeral directors, we were told that it is often hard to ask families for customer reviews. At a time of grief, asking for a review can seem abrupt and insensitive.

This is why we’ve built a custom portal that lets funeral directors trigger an automatic email from our system requesting a customer for their review. Because the email comes from us (reviews@gatheredhere.com.au) and presents as an automatic system notification, it avoids a direct, personal and confrontational ask.

Heres how it works.

1. Go to https://app.gatheredhere.com.au/customer-review/

2. Complete the necessary fields:

 

3. Click “Send”

4. This sends an email from reviews@gatheredhere.com.au to the customer, requesting a review with a link to the relevant page to leave the review:

You can use this tool to collect reviews whenever you like – whether that’s soon after the funeral, a week afterwards, or even for funerals that you conducted a longer time ago.

We recommend that you make using this tool a part of your regular business process. Make it something you do at the end of each week or month – whatever suits you. If you focus on providing an excellent service and collect customer reviews, customer acquisition becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – i.e. more customer reviews, leads to more customers, leads to more customer reviews and so on.

Imagine a funeral home with 30+ 5-star reviews and a funeral home with 2 reviews. Who would you feel more confident choosing?


4. Dealing with negative reviews

Finally, it’s worthwhile acknowledging that you can’t always guarantee that customer reviews will be positive. In the (hopefully) very rare cases that they are not, it’s important that you know how to respond to them correctly.

You can see negative reviews as an opportunity to demonstrate your compassion and professionalism. Many customers agree that how a company responds to a negative review can be more revealing about the quality of their service than 10 good reviews.

Here’s how you should handle negative reviews:

  • Be honest – if you made a mistake, admit it
  • Outline how you will rectify the issue
  • Write like a person – not a business
  • Don’t get angry or defensive
  • Never make the situation personal and attack the customer
  • Take the discussion offline and avoid having the full back and forth in the open

We hope you’ve found this guide to customer reviews helpful, and understand their key importance in the online world. You can’t collect 50+ 5-star customer reviews over night – it takes months and years of making it a part of your business process. The flipside of this is that when your competitors begin to realise the importance of reviews, they’ll be too far behind you to play catch up.

<< Module 4: The Funeral Directors’ SEO Handbook – Part II <<

>> Module 6: 10 Facebook Page Oversights Made By Funeral Homes >>

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