Reviews matter. According to a recent study of consumer habits, 91% of consumers now read online reviews, and 73% say that positive reviews make them trust local businesses more.
No matter what space your business is in, having visible, positive reviews is a surefire way to encourage positive reactions from your potential customers. At this point, they’re as good as word-of-mouth reviews from friends and acquaintances, with 85% of consumers saying they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
If you want to encourage prospective customers to come to you, then you need to make them feel confident that they can trust you, and the best way to do that is with positive reviews from previous clients and customers. Actually getting people to leave feedback is not necessarily an easy or automatic process. If your online reviews are lacking in quantity, try these four tips to encourage your customers to tell others what they think of you!
1) Be Reviewable
It sounds simple and obvious, but there are a lot of places and websites where people can and do go to read reviews of businesses. If you want to be reviewed then your business needs to be represented on these sites. There are some big players in this space where your reviews may be most visible, and you never know for certain where your potential customers may be looking, so try to make sure your business is represented in as many high profile spaces for user reviews as possible.
To be reviewable, you need to be visible where people are most likely to look for you. This includes:
- Better Business Bureau
- Yellow Pages
You might even have industry-specific sites that are relevant to your user base too. For example, Clutch is a B2B that helps connect businesses to firms that can help them, making it a great place to see ratings for a company like Dotlogics. Likewise, an ecommerce business that sells through Amazon will want to claim and customize their page on that website. Wherever you’re likely to be reviewed, make sure your business is represented and claim your page.
2) Offer Incentives
Some customers will be inclined to leave a review about their positive (or negative) experience with you of their own volition, but many people won’t be so proactive. To boost the number of your reviews, give your customers a reason to leave one.
Common and effective incentives to encourage reviews include:
You don’t have to be an ecommerce business selling physical products to make this strategy work. Anyone can run a contest for reviewers by offering prizes that are useful for most users. This could include gift certificates to a popular chain store, movie theater tickets, or even a simple prepaid gift card from a credit company like Chase or American Express.
3) Ask For Reviews… At The Right time
If you want a review, then ask for it. Some people will be more than happy to tell others about their experience with you, but may not think to do so unless prompted. Just make sure you’re asking at the right time; you don’t want to go prompting someone who just had a negative experience with your company to hop on Yelp and complain about you!
Signs that your customers will leave a positive review include:
- They’ve made a re-purchase or follow-up purchase.
- They’ve mentioned you in a social media post.
- They’ve referred you to another customer.
- They’ve demonstrated that they had a positive experience.
Reviews can really help your business grow, but not if they’re negative. You want your feedback to encourage new customers to come to you, not the opposite, so cater your requests to customers who are more likely to give you high marks.
You can include requests for reviews in your newsletter or other email marketing materials, as well as on your website. Just be sure to make it easy for potential reviewers by linking directly to the pages where you’d like them to leave a review.
4) Respond to Negative Reviews
You may not encourage people to leave you negative feedback, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. When it does, it’s important to keep your cool and stay level headed. A negative review can hurt your reputation, but it can also be an opportunity to resolve a bad experience.
Your reaction and professionalism will be especially important on social media, where users can see the bad review ad well as your response to it. Both will inform their opinion and perception of you.
Try to turn around the negative reviews by reaching out to the people who left them.
- Respond kindly and courteously.
- Apologize for the bad experience.
- Offer to work towards a resolution.
- Try to help as much as is reasonable.
You can’t make everyone happy, and some people will ask for the moon if they think you’ll give it to them, but you may find other negative reviewers are more rational than that. Try to determine what went wrong in their experience for you and either fix it or make up for it. It’s the right thing to do from a pure customer service perspective, and it may even result in the negative reviewer revising their rating, giving you a higher score.
If your business hasn’t gotten many reviews yet don’t be discouraged. They can be hard to come by when you’re starting out, but follow these tips and you’ll surely see some positive feedback before long!