Word of mouth has always been a great way to grow your business. With our reliance on technology, the way we give and receive reviews has changed. We still rely on our next door neighbour to recommend a mechanic, or Gary the regular at the local pub to tell us where the best place to eat is, however, we increasingly trust online reviews to find our the good, the bad and the ugly about a company.
Now we simply jump online, and read the reviews. Online reviews have become a priority for many businesses, and this is probably because of how influential they are. 90% of people will be influenced by a positive review, and 85% by a bad one. So, just how DO you get online reviews?
Ask for them
People are busy, and leaving feedback may not be something they even think about. One of the easiest way to to get more online reviews is to ask for them! This may seem straightforward but there are a few rules:
- Don’t directly offer rewards or payment for positive reviews. A random monthly draw, or a % off for their next service for leaving (any) feedback is acceptable.
- Make it a casual conversation, not a demand. This can be done in person or via text or email.
- Before asking for an online review, ensure they are happy with their service and you have done everything you can to make the experience positive.
TIP: Try something like this: “Were you happy with the service? Is there anything else we can help you with?” And, depending on the answer you can follow up with “we would love it if you could leave a review on our Facebook page”.
Make it easy
Even if someone REALLY likes you and WANTS to leave your business an online review, they probably still won’t trawl through the entire internet just to do so. It needs to be easy. The review platforms you promote will vary depending on your business type, and it is OK to choose more than one.
For example, local businesses may prefer Google Places or Yelp, a hotel will also like Tripadvisor, a manufacturer can use Product Review and online businesses could focus on Facebook and Trustpilot. You may even have a review function on your own website. Not sure? You can always use a mix of any of the above.
Do your research to determine where your customers find you online. Have direct links on your website and social media, and claim your business profiles on your preferred review sites.
TIP: Try having postcards designed with details of how to leave online reviews. These reminders could be either printed or emailed.
Give outstanding service
You went into business for a reason, and you are passionate about what you do. It may sound obvious but you should put this passion into how you treat your customers. If people have to go out of their way for a review, it will generally be because the service is either better or worse than they expect. “Regular” service is probably not going to cut it. When you run your business the right way with your customers in mind, getting good reviews will be easier.
This goes beyond what happens during the service, it should extend to the reviews themselves. If you can, reply to all reviews with great customer service. Regardless of whether the reviews are good or bad. Use them as a way to improve your business and rectify any issues with specific customers. Be aware, there will always be the occasional fake review and it is best not to lose sleep over them.
TIP: You want to encourage genuine reviews, because your customers will spread the word if they are being deceived. Great service usually equates to great reviews, so train your staff well.
The most important thing to remember is…don’t ever underestimate the power of online reviews, they could grow your brand significantly!