As a local business owner, you know how important it is that customers review your business online. But do you know that you can get customers to give you great reviews that will increase your visibility online and drive more customers to your business? Here are 7 simple steps to help you on your way:
- Ask your best customers: You probably have a number of satisfied customers who have been loyal to your business for some time. Needless to say, these are happy customers that you can be sure will give you a positive review. Simply tell them how much you would appreciate their online feedback and ask for a review. Loyal customers who love doing business for you will be more than happy to give something back for the great service they have been getting.
- Offer incentives: It’s totally legitimate to offer non-cash incentives to customers who post reviews. This could be a coupon or a free sample of some sort (although Yelp is a little more stringent on this point).
NEVER Pay for a review. This is an outright violation of every review site’s terms and conditions as well as blatantly unethical. Moreover, paying for reviews will highly damage your credibility in the eyes of your customers. Why not focus on giving great service instead that is worthy of great reviews?
- Request reviews following positive transactions. If you feel that you have provided great service to customer don’t hesitate to ask for a review after the transaction – and after every positive transaction. Train your staff to cultivate reviews as well and emphasize the importance of always asking customers for online feedback. Of course, gaging a successful transaction is easier if your business deals with customers personally. If you own a restaurant or a clinic, say, it is usually easy to gauge a customer’s reaction through the interaction and request feedback.
You may want to hand out flyers to customers who do business at your premises, with links to where they can leave reviews. Your website should also have visible and accessible “Review us” links for online customers. If your business sends out an email newsletter, make sure that also contains working links to your review sites, where potential customers can read reviews and where current customers can leave them.
- Ask for reviews at the right time: It’s no good sending out an email or SMS two or three weeks after a transaction, asking a customer to review you. They will probably have forgotten all about it. Remember, making life easier for your customers is key to their loyalty. That includes asking for feedback in a timely manner – and while that great experience they had with your business is still fresh in their mind. Not only will they not have to struggle to recall it, they will also be able to write a more honest review.
- Ask in the right way. Never ask for a “good” review. Nothing can be more damaging to your credibility. The only adjective you should be using when asking for reviews is “honest”. Actually, it’s not in your best interest that all reviews are rave ones. A mix of good, glowing, mediocre and the occasional bad one will establish more trust and credibility with customers.
- Respond to all reviews. Establishing a relationship with your customers is part of creating that positive customer experience for them. It’s amazing how many businesses reply only top bad reviews and ignore the good ones. Having a great relationship with your customers means showing appreciation by thanking and acknowledging those who post positive reviews, as well as resolving the bad ones. This shows potential customers that your business values their feedback.
- Deliver knockout service and amazing customer experience. If you and your staff make customer satisfaction your priority and deliver great service, that is your ticket to asking for reviews – and receiving great ones. It’s as simple as that.
- Have a review-dedicated business. There’s no way you can do this all yourself. Unless you have a team dedicated to cultivating reviews, you won’t get very far. Your staff needs to be trained to ask for reviews whenever possible and that you take this seriously. Consider a having a system through which you can reward or discipline staff when it comes to reviews. For example, if you have several business locations, you can give bonuses to locations that get the most positive reviews. Staff responsible for negative reviews should be reprimanded or disciplined.
Why is it important to accumulate good reviews?
Positive reviews make your business more visible online and bring you more customers. A recent study has shown that boosting your Yelp rating by one star can increase your business revenues by 5 – 9%, – and Yelp is the biggest local business review site online.
Good reviews act as a buffer against bad ones and protect your business’s reputation. One scathing review amongst a handful of good or mediocre ones can really harm your business. But a bad review amongst 20 or 30 good ones will have much less of an impact.
Positive reviews boost your search rankings, tell people how great your business is, sway potential clients in favor of your product or service and ultimately, boost your bottom line.
To learn more about this please consult my book, “Killing it with Reviews”, available on this site and on Amazon and to automate the whole process use a inexpensive and time saving piece of software like ReivewerPro.