Over 86% of consumers say that online reviews affect their purchasing decisions. Learn how to get reviews for your business in our latest blog.
Consumers are searching for services online now more than ever. Recent statistics show that 87% of people start their search for services online before anywhere else. With online searches replacing so much face-to-face interaction, you have fewer ways of capturing your customers’ attention. That’s why you need to make sure your passive reputation is working in your favor and funneling people to your business–we’re talking about how to get reviews online.
Statistics show that 86% of customers consult online reviews for local businesses, while 91% say they trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. That’s a lot of credibility you’re missing out on if you aren’t being proactive about getting reviews from your clients. Here are some general tips to help you get reviews:
1 | Make it easy to leave a review
Set up business accounts where your customers are most likely to review or search for you. Not only will this increase the number of mentions of your business on the web, it will cast a wide net for your customers and make it easy to get reviews on the platforms they’re most comfortable with. Top recommended sites for reviews are:
Depending on what type of service you provide, TripAdvisor and TrustPilot can also be beneficial. When requesting a review, be sure to include a direct link to where they can leave feedback. The fewer actions (clicks, searches, etc) a viewer has to make, the more likely they are to do it.
If your client is resistant to online platforms, you can also request that they email or text you a testimonial blurb. This is info you can easily include on your website or promotional materials, and it’s easy for them to provide.
When you set up a new account anywhere, make sure you list your business information consistently every time. For example, if you list your address as Elm st. on Google, but type Elm Street on Facebook, you’re not getting the benefit of the mention. Choose a format and use it identically everywhere, so search engines can recognize that you’re the same business. The more instances they discover, the more they’ll recognize that you’re active and credible, and you’ll appear more frequently in search results.
2 | Ask clients for feedback directly
The most direct way to get reviews is to ask. Most customers won’t seek you out to do it on their own, but a nudge from you directly can spark action. Be smart about when and how you ask for reviews. If they say something specifically positive to you, it’s a good time to ask if they would share that same information on one of your review sites. This can be done in person, but a follow-up email is also recommended so you can include a direct link to where they can review your service.
If your customer has had a negative experience, but you have resolved it in a satisfactory way, sometimes you can turn it into a positive:
“I’m sorry your experience with us started off poorly, but I’m glad we were able to correct it for you. It’s important to us that our clients know we put their experiences first no matter what, and we’re willing to fix any issue they may have. If you’re open to leaving us a positive review and sharing your customer service experience, we’d appreciate the recognition for resolving the problem.”
It may seem counterintuitive to ask a dissatisfied customer to leave a review, considering even one negative review can tank your ratings. But this may be your last chance to influence their opinion of your company, and reminding them of the positive aspects of your exchange may help you avoid that negative review.
3 | Provide incentives for reviewing (not bribes!)
Incentives are a great way to get reviews and encourage repeat business. But be cautious in how you implement them. Never attempt to buy positive reviews – not only is it a PR disaster, but it can get sticky in terms of Federal Trade Commission guidelines. However, as long as you’re only requesting general feedback (no specifying positive or negative), you can offer a discount or rebate to motivate customers to follow through.
Examples of review incentives:
- Percent discounts: Review us on Facebook and we’ll message you a coupon for 10% off your next visit!
- Monetary discounts: In-store offer: Review our product selection on Google now and save $2 on your current purchase.
Incentives are useful when you’re just getting started and trying to build your reputation, or if you’ve had a lull in business and need to pick it back up. Be thoughtful with what incentives make sense for your business, and what your customers consider valuable. Even if you aren’t specifically asking for positive feedback, it’s still recommended that reviewers disclose that they received a benefit for providing their input.
4 | Reward reviews with replies
Simply responding to anyone who reviews will go a long way to building customer loyalty. You’ll reinforce their experience by showing a personal interest in their feedback. A simple “Thank you! Glad we could provide a great experience” will suffice, and it doesn’t take a big time investment to do. People reading reviews to research your business will see the value you place on customer service, and that human quality can be a big selling point.
This can also help you get more reviews by showing current customers that their opinion matters to you. They’ll be more likely to take a few minutes to share feedback when they know you’ll recognize them for it.
5 | Make it part of your sales routine
Consider how to incorporate asking for reviews into your normal sales routine. If you have multiple employees, decide on a general format everyone should use when interacting with customers. “Thanks for your business! We’re still growing, so if you want to help us put the word out please leave us a brief review on Google! We appreciate your feedback.”
If you make it consistent, brief, and friendly, customers will get the memo without feeling bombarded and you’ll get reviews more frequently.
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