With 97% of online customers reading reviews before making any online purchase, customer reviews have proven to be very influential. A good review can increase your sales more than a paid ad can, since they create trust and social proof about your goods or services. Almost all businesses benefit from online reviews, which help them attract potential customers. Not only do positive reviews influence a customer's purchasing decision, but they also have a positive impact on your local SEO rankings. Search engines take into account 10% of your website's online reviews to determine your site's rank. Therefore, you need to convince all your happy customers to be your online advocates by leaving their thoughts on your website to yield higher ratings and boost your sales.
To get as many reviews as possible, you need to choose an effective way that will let you capture reviews consistently. Here are some unique ways to ask for online business reviews:
Ask for a Review in Person
Asking for a review face to face can be intimidating, but it is often the most effective approach, especially if you've spent a lot of time with the customer. It has been proven that asking for reviews in person can generate seven to eight times more reviews than asking through other methods. You can also ask your best customers to leave you a review just after a transaction. Try to strike up a conversation with them and ask them about their whole experience with your staff or the goods they're purchasing. Explain to them that reviews help you provide better service, and help you stay competitive.
Ask via Email
One of the best ways to ensure positive reviews is to ask for them promptly. Customers tend to be happiest right after a sale, and they feel most persuaded to give something back to you. If you cannot meet your customers in person, email them when they are checking out or within three days of the deal to capture post-sales reviews. Additionally, sending blast emails to all of the customers in your database can increase your reviews significantly. Be sure to keep the email short and punchy. The subject line should also be well-crafted and catchy to make the customer open the email.
Make It an Organization's Initiative
Reviews tend to be a slow trickle, and to get tons of reviews it’s crucial for the entire company to take action-- not just leaving it to the marketing department. Some of the best strategies for soliciting reviews across an organization include:
- Making 'asking for reviews' a focus in all departments-- executives need to communicate the importance of reviews regularly.
- Involving your employees in the process. Train them on how to ask for reviews. You can also have them wear buttons that encourage customers to write a review.
- Automating your review requests. Automation can be done merely by simple "trigger" events—for example, each time a client swipes their card in your POS system, it triggers a review request.
Use a Review Software
A simple and effective way to ask for honest online reviews is to use software. There are a lot of software systems on the market that can be used to send requests for online reviews and customer feedback. The system collects the positive feedback, which you can then put on your website. Meanwhile, the negative reviews are aggregated into one place so you can sort it and identify the areas you need to improve on. Some systems can also be customized to monitor your reviews around the web and even alert you when you get new reviews.
Offering an Incentive
Though it's illegal to reward customers for positive reviews, you can reward them for the act of writing a review, positive or negative. Offering monthly giveaways where you choose one reviewer at random is an effective method to garner reviews. This is usually in exchange for the customer spending five minutes online typing an honest, unbiased review. Research has shown that about one in five customers take time to write a review, and 95% of the time, these reviews are positive.
Asking for reviews doesn't require any special tools, expertise or technology, just a commitment to see it through. Moreover, it's important to respond to these reviews, whether positive or negative. Regardless of what method you use to solicit for reviews, ensure to monitor the reviews regularly. Your online reputation could be at stake if you have a page full of negative reviews and nobody is responding. Moreover, responding to your positive reviews can be a potential way to grow your base of happy, loyal customers and gain even more positive online reviews.