If you’re a customer trying to figure out which hotel to book for your next vacation, you probably love reading reviews. You’ll sift through dozens of reviews before picking the perfect hotel and making a reservation. Obviously, this is the only way to determine if a hotel is a 5-star experience or a 1-star nightmare destined to ruin your dream vacation before you ever get there.
The same can be said for consumers trying to figure out which bank or credit union to open an account with. It’s a big decision to make and most people want to know the good and bad before making a commitment.
We’re All Family
As they go through their research process, we already know consumers will ask friends and family about their experiences. Just like choosing a hotel, they will also turn to online reviews to get the inside scoop on a financial institution. In fact, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends. Think about it. The words of a total stranger carry the same weight as a long time friend or even family member.
What Reviews Should Be
Many consumers are looking for current reviews. Most do not consider reviews older than 3 months to be relevant or valid. That’s because things may have changed about the business since the last review was posted.
If there are no reviews present or just old ones, it brings up red flags. It leads people to question things such as is this credit union doing enough to bring in new members? Why isn’t this bank doing more to keep account holders happy? Are they even active anymore?
What goes around comes around. Not only do positive ratings and the volume of reviews help you with account acquisition, but it also helps with ranking in search engines for local results.
Google, and other search engines, are essentially recommending banks or credit unions to people as they do a search. That search can be something like “credit unions near me” or “auto loan detroit, michigan”. It’s Google’s job to figure out which websites will be the most relevant to that person’s needs. They look at different criteria, including reviews, to decide which sites to display.
Google wants to display banks or credit unions with 4 or 5 star ratings and tons of reviews to back those ratings up. They don’t want to direct people to 1 star financial institutions everyone hates. If they do, then people will slowly start to search elsewhere to find reputable and quality businesses, which is not good for Google.
So building up positive reviews on places like your Google My Business listings, Facebook, Yelp and other review sites is an important step towards increasing website traffic, foot traffic to your locations, and phone calls.
This marketing strategy has become one of the most important SEO factors over the last year or so and will continue to play an important role.
How to Build Reviews
Building reviews can seem hard, but the key to success is to just ask! You’ll be surprised by how many people would submit a quick review if you just ask. Especially if your request is coming from their favorite teller or a loan officer who really came through for them.
Problems with this strategy occur when you rely on customers to either find where to review you on their own or to remember to do it later on in their day. By that time, they have moved on with their lives and have probably forgotten.
You need to tell them specifically where to go, or better yet, provide a direct link to your review page(s). Send an email to your customers with a simple request for their feedback. Track those who have responded and send follow ups to those who have not. Once someone has left a review, respond to their review, whether it be positive or negative.
You can also send review requests by text messaging. This has proven to be far more convenient for consumers and effective for collecting reviews. There are tools available which makes this approach much easier for your marketing team and staff to implement and utilize.
When it was time for us to select a Review Management tool, we were looking for several capabilities we knew were needed to make it easy for customers and easy to manage.
- It gives you the ability to request reviews via email or text and send individual requests or in bulk.
- You can customize your messaging and determine how many follow up requests you’d like to make.
- It gives you the ability to segment your review collection efforts per branch. That way, your team from branch A doesn’t get mixed up with branch B, and all of your reviews are filtering back to the correct location.
- You can also set up notifications to keep track of new reviews as they come in so you can respond promptly.
If you’re interested in seeing a free demo, please let us know!
Building reviews for your credit union or bank is an essential part of your marketing strategy. You should develop a plan and work with your team at all levels at each branch to ensure it’s adopted successfully. Naturally, you’ll have some approaches that are more effective than others, but you should always keep moving towards growth. Reviews are an important part of the customer research cycle and can help build up SEO rankings. Plus you can use the reviews in other marketing collateral. So, this is definitely something you’ll benefit from in many ways.
When’s the last time you tried to grow reviews for your financial institution? How would you use positive reviews in your marketing collateral?