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Kate Peterson: Customer Testimonials That Sell

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Kate Peterson: Customer Testimonials That Sell Did an online reviewer say something bad about your store? Don’t fight it or try to make it go away — own it.

At The SMART Show on Saturday, retail expert Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts talked about what a great sales tool customer testimonials can be, and dug into what to do about negative reviews. Here’s what she says:

  • Monitor Yelp, Google, and other review sites in your market. If you don’t, you have no idea when a disappointed customer has complained online.
  • Don’t respond directly to negative reviews on the review site. “You’ve got to avoid defensive posturing. Other customers will side with the [complaining] customer,” Peterson says.
  • You can — and should — have a page on your own website for customer comments. But if someone leaves a bad one, don’t delete it (though you might edit offensive language). You’ll just invite further, angrier comments complaining that you censored them the first time.
  • If you can piece together who the unhappy reviewer is, have the salesperson who worked with them get in touch and offer to make it right. (“I saw this review. Is that you? Because if it is, I want to make you happy.”) The owner or manager shouldn’t be the one to get in touch, as that level of attention may cause the customer to clam up or deny posting the review.
  • Look at negative comments as a learning opportunity. No matter how off-the-wall the complaint is, perception is reality, and the customer’s reality is the only one that matters. Apologize, own the criticism, fix the problem, and thank the customer and tell them what steps you’ve taken.

As for positive testimonials, they’re one of the most powerful forms of the advertising at your disposal. You should like directly from your website to positive reviews on Yelp, Google, or other sites. And, says Peterson, don’t be afraid to actively ask customers if they use online review sites. The ones who do are your best source for testimonials.

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Celebrate Your Retirement with Wilkerson

For nearly three decades, Suzanne and Tom Arnold ran a successful business at Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Va. But the time came when the Arnolds wanted to do some of the things you put off while you’ve got a business to run. “We decided it was time to retire,” says Suzanne, who claims the couple knew how to open a store, how to run a store but “didn’t know how to close a store.” So, they hired Wilkerson to do it for them. When she called, Suzanne says Wilkerson offered every option for the sale she could have hoped for. Better still, “the sale exceeded our financial goals like crazy,” she says. And customers came, not only to take advantage of the going-out-of-business buys and mark-downs, but to wish a bon voyage to the beloved proprietors of a neighborhood institution. “People were celebrating our retirement, and that was so special,” says says.

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Kate Peterson: Customer Testimonials That Sell

mm

Published

on

Kate Peterson: Customer Testimonials That Sell Did an online reviewer say something bad about your store? Don’t fight it or try to make it go away — own it.

At The SMART Show on Saturday, retail expert Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts talked about what a great sales tool customer testimonials can be, and dug into what to do about negative reviews. Here’s what she says:

  • Monitor Yelp, Google, and other review sites in your market. If you don’t, you have no idea when a disappointed customer has complained online.
  • Don’t respond directly to negative reviews on the review site. “You’ve got to avoid defensive posturing. Other customers will side with the [complaining] customer,” Peterson says.
  • You can — and should — have a page on your own website for customer comments. But if someone leaves a bad one, don’t delete it (though you might edit offensive language). You’ll just invite further, angrier comments complaining that you censored them the first time.
  • If you can piece together who the unhappy reviewer is, have the salesperson who worked with them get in touch and offer to make it right. (“I saw this review. Is that you? Because if it is, I want to make you happy.”) The owner or manager shouldn’t be the one to get in touch, as that level of attention may cause the customer to clam up or deny posting the review.
  • Look at negative comments as a learning opportunity. No matter how off-the-wall the complaint is, perception is reality, and the customer’s reality is the only one that matters. Apologize, own the criticism, fix the problem, and thank the customer and tell them what steps you’ve taken.

As for positive testimonials, they’re one of the most powerful forms of the advertising at your disposal. You should like directly from your website to positive reviews on Yelp, Google, or other sites. And, says Peterson, don’t be afraid to actively ask customers if they use online review sites. The ones who do are your best source for testimonials.

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Celebrate Your Retirement with Wilkerson

For nearly three decades, Suzanne and Tom Arnold ran a successful business at Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Va. But the time came when the Arnolds wanted to do some of the things you put off while you’ve got a business to run. “We decided it was time to retire,” says Suzanne, who claims the couple knew how to open a store, how to run a store but “didn’t know how to close a store.” So, they hired Wilkerson to do it for them. When she called, Suzanne says Wilkerson offered every option for the sale she could have hoped for. Better still, “the sale exceeded our financial goals like crazy,” she says. And customers came, not only to take advantage of the going-out-of-business buys and mark-downs, but to wish a bon voyage to the beloved proprietors of a neighborhood institution. “People were celebrating our retirement, and that was so special,” says says.

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