Most businesses know that online reviews are important, but they aren't sure how to get them. After all, you don't have any control over your customers once they leave your establishment, right?
The key is to utilize your resources and take charge of your online presence. You have more options than you probably think.
According to a survey from ZenDesk, positive reviews impact 90 percent of people's buying behavior while bad reviews impact 86 percent.
The good news is that bad reviews are less impactful than good reviews. Still, you need to figure out how to get those reviews in the first place.
1. Take Charge of Your Online Presence
Don't leave the fate of your business up to the “Internet Gods” – take charge of your online presence.
Set up profiles on as many review websites as possible. You can do this in a few hours, and you don't really need to maintain these profiles with fresh content on a regular basis.
Make sure to cover all your bases: BBB, TripAdvisor, Yahoo, Google, LinkedIn, FourSquare, CitySearch, and TrustLink, etc.
Add some high-quality photos of your business's interior, exterior, and products. If you're running a restaurant, upload a picture of the menu and photos of your best dishes.
People are more likely to review your business if they can find a functioning profile on a website to leave the review.
2.Incorporate Reviews into the Workplace
When people have a great experience at an accountant, they don't usually rush home to write a raving review about their tax experience; the thought may not even cross their mind.
Your goal as a business should be to plant that seed in their head. Which members of your company have a hands-on role with your customers? Waitstaff? Sales? Front desk?
Make customer reviews a part of your daily business strategy. Have your employees ask customers or clients to leave reviews. Consider creating bonus programs or commission for each review an employee receives that mentions their name.
3. Talk to Your Customers In-Person
The best way to get more business reviews is just to ask – seriously. Many companies don't feel comfortable doing this. Some may feel like they're coming off as desperate or others may not want to bother their customers.
It's all about the way you approach people.
Be confident and assertive: let your customers know they're a valued part of your company. By leaving a review, your customers can help other people find what they're looking for.
If you have lots of loyal clients, they'll probably be happy to do you a favor of providing them with years of great service because they want your business to thrive.
4. Follow-up with Emails or Phone Calls
People are more likely to leave a review immediately after they've left your establishment. It doesn't need to be the same day or hours later – you don't want to be pushy. Just follow up with them on a regular basis.
The best way to stay in contact with your clients is through text or email lists they've opted into. These customers already want to hear from you.
Here are some tips for crafting the perfect email:
- Stay human and personal. Emails should come from a familiar name.
- Keep a warm and friendly tone.
- Consider incorporating the customer's name into the subject line.
- Stay focused and keep the body plain without images.
- Get to the point and provide a very clear call to action button.
Within the email, let the customer know you appreciate them and you want to provide the best service possible. Ask them to provide a review so they can let others know what they think about your business.
5. Find Out Where Your Customers Hang Out Online
Having a solid online presence where your customers hang out will make them more likely to leave reviews because you'll be on their mind while they're already online.
For example, Facebook is great because they allow reviews for businesses directly on the website. This gives you a chance to form an online community with your customers and clients.
Keep your Facebook profile up-to-date by posting photos, discounts, specials, and information on a regular basis. If someone leaves a bad review, customers who love your company might see it and feel compelled to offer a rebuttal.
6. Reply to All Your Reviews (or as Many as Possible)
Most companies spend too much time worrying about bad reviews. Unfortunately, people are more likely to leave a review when they've had a bad experience. No business owner wants to see people complaining about their business online, but you don't need to stress it too much.
Instead, reply to them in a professional manner. Let people know you care about what customers have to say. Apologize for their bad experience and offer some kind of resolution. Make it known that you're doing everything you can to provide a good experience and remedy the situation.
Don't forget to reply to good reviews, too. Thank people for their positive comments and let them know you care about their opinion.
Do Everything with Your Customers' Interests in Mind
As always: your goal is to create a positive experience for your customers. Develop customer reviews into your business strategy and make it easy for your customers to leave reviews. Then sit back and let the ratings roll in.