Think of the last time you looked up a new business or service and decided you would use their service or product. Whether it was a pizza place, plumber or podiatrist, most likely you spent all of 10 seconds absorbing information on a site like Google, Yelp or Facebook and then knew which one you liked.
As businesses, this means we are left to perfect that 10 second moment or we’ve already lost so many opportunities. While word of mouth still remains the most dependable source of new business for most of us, gaining new customers by creating an excellent digital introduction to our business is essential. Key to that success is reviews.
No matter your industry, positive reviews typically don’t come naturally. It’s human nature to react when we’re annoyed but move on – albeit pleasantly surprised – when we are feeling appreciative. Rare is the customer who feels delighted and then proactively leaves you a review.
This is why you need to ask.
How to Ask for Reviews
If you leave your review pages up to the hands of fate, you’ll end up with a lower rating. True, this could be because your business stinks. But most of us toil in what we do because we care, and our ratings should reflect that.
Set Yourself Up for Good Reviews
If you want to receive more positive reviews, the first step you’ll have to take is ensure your review pages are set up and you’re actively monitoring them.
If you have a brick and mortar location for your business, you’ll want to claim your page in Google. This is essential to making sure the correct address is listed for your business and that no one else claims your business for you. Once you do that, you’ll receive emails when there is a new review, and you should respond to these within 24-hours. If it’s positive, thank them! And reshare that information as a testimonial in other places. If it’s negative, acknowledge the feedback without going into too much detail or getting defense and let them know you’re addressing their concerns. Then, go ahead and fix the problem. You can even go back to the reviewer and let them know how you handled the issue, which shows the whole world that you take feedback seriously and are committed to your customers. Next stop for you, my friend, is surely tackling world peace.
When it comes to social media, don’t ignore that space. If a lot of your word of mouth business happens on Facebook or Twitter, be sure to actively check your reviews on these channels and respond. Thank them if it’s positive and publicly acknowledge them if it’s negative. Then, take the conversation over to the private messages so that you can help them sort out their issue. Once you fix the problem, you can publicly respond and let the world know.
Does this sound like a pain? Perhaps. But consider this: customer relations has ALWAYS been a part of business. Meeting your customer where they are – which is online in increasing numbers – is an integral component of customer service today.
Following are three ways to proactively get more reviews from your clients.
Add a link to your email signature: Once you’ve claimed your Google Business page and are on top of your social media reviews and comments, go ahead and add links to these pages in your email signature. Here are instructions to find your direct link on Google. Find it on Facebook (at right) by going to your page and clicking on “Reviews” in the left bar.
Make a habit of reaching out to customers when they leave your business: Once a client leaves your business, you can follow up with an email or a text thanking them for their business and asking them to take a minute to leave an HONEST review. If you’re going to do this, don’t ask them directly for a 5-star review because that’s not authentic. You also don’t want to ask them for a review while they are still on your premises because Google can see where your reviewers are, and this will be suspicious. (Creepy, I know.) Google has been known to remove suspicious reviews.
Use a service like Get More Reviews: There are a lot of companies that will automate the process above for you at a reasonable price. You will need to add emails and cell phone numbers into the dashboard, and then the review service will reach out to them on your behalf. What I like about this service is that you’re more likely to keep up with the reviews because it’s simpler and you’re more committed by paying for it. It also offers recipients the option to write their ANGRY ALL CAPS RANT to you in a private message rather than on a public review. Many times, they will actually choose this because the goal of a negative reviewer is often just to get the owners’ attention. You’ll also be able to track a lot of reviews in one place if you own multiple locations of your business.
Most importantly, keep doing the good business practices you started out to accomplish, and let the 5-star reviews pour in.
Want to talk strategy for your business? Be in touch! Let’s talk.