Reviews are important to every business, whether you’re providing an over-the-top dining experience or selling feet earrings on Etsy. For local businesses, online reviews can boost your search rankings, but most importantly, reviews are vital because they are important to your customers.
Matt Moog, CEO of PowerReviews, conducted a study drawing in a data pool of 400 million consumers, and found that the more reviews there are of a product, the more likely it is that a customer will purchase it.
“Around 20 (and running up to 50) is the optimal number of reviews for a product to have to give consumers the confidence that this product has been tried enough by enough people,” he told MarketWatch. His research also shows that customers who read reviews often click through the bad ones first, to see what the worst thing people have to say about the product is.
Positive reviews help build trust and confidence in your brand, product or service. So what tactics can you implement to generate positive reviews for your business?
Provide Excellent Service
Well, duh. The most obvious way to ensure your business receives positive reviews is by providing excellent customer service. According to Microsoft’s 2017 State of Global Customer Service Report, a staggering 96 percent of customers say customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand. Delivering effective and consistent customer service that goes above and beyond the expectations of your customers will encourage your raving fans to leave positive reviews and recommend you to their friends and family. Your brand may be promoting its latest and greatest, but when your customers do not feel valued, you miss out on repeat business, referrals and positive online reviews.
Ask Your Happy Customers
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Groundbreaking, we know. The most straightforward way to collect reviews is to ask for them. Train your client-facing employees to request customers for their reviews and feedback as they wrap up the transaction.
Include It In Your Customer Script: The person-to-person ask is effective, especially if the person asking for the review has spent a significant amount of time with the customer. Consider professional hairstylists. The relationship between stylists and their clients is very deep and intimate, as they spend a few hours together every month or so. There is no better person positioned to ask for a review than the hairstylist, and the hairstylist can explain that new reviews help other customers who are researching hairstylists nearby to find them.
Your sample script can be as simple as the below script, following a positive interaction with a guest:
“We’re so glad you enjoyed your visit with us today! If you’re comfortable with it, we would love it if you shared your experience on [Review Platform], to help potential customers choose us. We would be so grateful!”
Use The Leave-Behind Method: A leave-behind is a piece of marketing collateral about the size of a business card that employees can leave with customers, encouraging them to share their experiences. We recommended this method to past restaurant clients which resulted in more positive reviews populating their Facebook, Google My Business, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, and Yelp pages. Some businesses have taken to using a QR code or Linktree on their leave-behind, further simplifying the process of finding the restaurant’s multiple review accounts.
Send An Email: For companies who do not have a lot of face-to-face interaction with customers this might be a bit tricky, but hear us out. Before sending out a review request, we recommend sending out a survey to gage your customer’s experience because the last thing you want is someone who is clearly upset to leave a review regarding their visit. From there you can continue to carry out your email campaign and ask your customers for a review. Businesses can gather customer’s email addresses from online orders and queries to having customer’s submit them in order to receive an offer or WiFi access.
Some businesses use paid management tools like GatherUp, ReviewAbility or Net Promoter Score (NPS), to gauge customer experience. As an example, NPS sends an automated email following the customer’s visit, asking how their experience went. If the customer rates their experience less than 7 out of 10, it asks for feedback and improvements, essentially capturing their negative review privately). If the customer rates their experience between 7-10, they are asked to leave a public review.
Incentivize Your Customers
Now, we know that platforms such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business, among other platforms, would rather business owners not incentivize the review process in order for the reviews to remain unbiased. Calm down, grandma.
However, what’s stopping you from incentivizing reviews that’ll go on your own website? Freehand Goods, a handmade goods store in Central Florida, sells incredibly dope Florida-themed shirts and I recently became the proud owner of their Fighting Gators shirt. Following the arrival of my sweet new shirt, I received a simple automated email from Freehand Goods, with the co-owner’s email address in the header should I have any comments or concerns, asking me to leave a review to receive a 15 percent discount on my next purchase. I jumped at the opportunity and left a short review, which is now displayed on their product page on their website.
Incentivize & Reward Your Employees
Remember when we recommended our restaurant clients to use the leave-behind method, encouraging guests to share their experiences and mention the servers by name? Another aspect of that tactic is to incentivize your employees with rewards as they garner positive reviews for your business. This tactic resulted in more positive reviews, but also in improved customer service from every server and kept employees motivated throughout the workday. Your customers are your most valuable ambassadors and it is important to reward them for the work they do.
Write The Review Yourself
Like many of us, your clients are time-poor. Take the initiative to write reviews yourself. For this method, touch base with your customers or clients, asking if they would be interested in answering a few questions regarding their experience with you, which will then be used as a review or testimonial. Once you draft up the review, have your client proofread and edit it to ensure authenticity, and share the review platforms you wish the review to appear on, to make it as easy as possible for your client.
Engage With Existing Reviews
Taking the time to engage with existing reviews, whether they are positive or negative, shows your customers that you appreciate their comments and shows potential customers that you care about your reputation and building a loyal client base. Additionally, responding to reviews on platforms such as Google My Business can improve your search ranking. When you respond to negative reviews, we recommend acknowledging the problem, taking responsibility, apologizing, and offering an explanation, if necessary.
Your customers read reviews to help them make a purchasing decision, and while there isn’t a foolproof method to receiving positive customer feedback, we encourage you to use these time-tested tactics to drive customer engagement.