Should you Encourage Product and Service Reviews on your Website or Face book Pages?
Of course you should if you want to see your business grow and develop. If you intend to stay in business, and you believe in what you're selling then you have to have the confidence to back it. If you are not prepared to get the feedback that will help you improve, then you can't be certain that you are meeting your customers needs. Product reviews, especially those by customers rather than professional reviewers, can boost the confidence of other potential customers to engage with your business. This is especially true if they can see the mechanism available to them for posting their own reviews after purchase.
Peer reviews are incredibly powerful because they tend to be given genuinely. The perception with professional reviews can often be that maybe the reviewers have other motives or incentives for what they say? Consider the movies or show business in general. What do you make of professional reviews? You might read them and may even take on board what is said, but how much notice do you really take? After all its only one opinion and maybe they had a bad day or it just didn't appeal to them. But when we have the opportunity to get several opinions then our view can be influenced more effectively. Hearing about a movie from several different people who have seen it will give us a more balanced view of how it has been received by the audience. One of the key reasons for this is that their opinion is given freely and is typically unbiased. They've got nothing to gain or lose whether you go or not. So, posting reviews might not be quite as good as a personal recommendation from a trusted friend or colleague, but it is close to the next best thing!
"But what about if people post negative reviews?" I hear you ask. When we have a bad experience we naturally tell others about it - its human nature. Indeed I read somewhere, (and I believe this to be true based on my own inclinations), that we tend to tell more people about bad experiences than we do good ones. This means a bad experience is going to get bandied about anyway, especially with social media making this so much easier. The end result - you'll be found guilty without being given an opportunity to defend yourself or even be aware that there is a negative opinion about you doing the rounds. However, doesn't it make sense to try and provide a controlled environment for this - i.e. your own website or Facebook page, because that way you get to address it publicly and put your side of the story across if necessary, or better still, accept responsibility and show everyone just how effectively you deal with issues. After all, as humans, we ALL make mistakes, but by the same token, we appreciate it when people own up and go out of their way to put matters right. In fact the way we deal with negatives can very often turn into huge positives and reinforce in peoples minds that they will be dealt with fairly by us when buying from us.
Another huge benefit of reviews is the market intelligence it delivers. Positive reviews reaffirm that we are offering and delivering what the market wants. Negative reviews often tell us exactly what we're not getting right and therefore give us the opportunity to rectify matter. Most restaurants I've ever been to routinely ask throughout the meal and when I'm paying if I was happy with the meal. I'd imagine that is will be the case with you too? If you complain and they explain why things went wrong and do their best to address it, perhaps even offer you a free meal next time wouldn't you be inclined to give them another go? If you're not asked this question and aren't the type to initiate a complaint, they might never know that your meal experience was a disaster, and the end result - you never go back, and will likely influence others against them too.
So, my advice - encourage feedback, whether as direct product reviews, or within your blogs or Facebook, monitor it constantly and address it quickly and positively when required.