In today’s day and age, online reviews can make or break your business. Whether you’re a service-based company with customers who are looking for feedback on what it was like to work with you, or you’re selling products online that rely heavily on customer reviews to drive sales, getting reviews is imperative. In this article, we’ll discuss areas that will help you get more online reviews so your business can grow exponentially!
It’s important to have a system in place for collecting feedback from both customers who’ve hired your services and those who bought one of your products. This will ensure that no potential review goes unnoticed and also ensures consistency when asking people for their thoughts.
What is an online review and what does it do for your business?
An online review is a form of feedback that someone provides about your company or products. It can be as simple as one sentence which sums up their experience, or it can go into more detail and give details like the person’s first name, how many stars they gave you out of five, and what year they visited/purchased from you.
On the side of the business, reviews are a key element to help you grow your business and drive more leads, close more business, and build more trust in potential clients.
For consumers, they can help them in deciding whether or not to visit your company. People often check online reviews before making a big purchase decision so it’s important for you to ensure that the review is there and showing your company in a positive light.
First, do we really need online reviews?
If you are looking to grow your business, online reviews can be a key element. You may have heard the saying "former customers are your best advocates" which is true for both businesses and consumers alike. Reviews often help potential clients make decisions on whether or not they want to visit your company so it’s important that those reviews are positive, or the negative reviews have been answered positively.
If you want to scale your business and build trust, it’s important to get these reviews. Without them, you may be missing out on a lot of business. There are many different ways to get online reviews and we will discuss how you can do it the best ways.
But where should I start getting online reviews?
We are often asked where to start getting reviews. This question is two-fold, since one side is catering to those who legitimately don’t know of any review platforms, and the other caters to those who know of way too many review platforms and is looking to which is best.
Let’s start with the king of reviews. Google My Business has been in existence for a few years now, and many businesses have successfully used this platform to garner reviews.
When you sign up on GMB, it will automatically start tracking your customers’ behavior online when they search for your business name or contact info. The best part is that Google My Business will only track those people who are actively looking but also become a valuable platform, if not the most important platform to garner reviews.
Google honors reviews on their platform more than any other review platform, meaning that if your customers leave you a review on Google My Business it will show up right when people search for your business or anything that triggers your business to appear in the search results.
Reviews here are important because they help new and potential clients make an educated decision about hiring or buying from you without even interacting with you or your business. In fact, they stay in Google Search Results.
What are the other top review platforms?
There is no direct answer to this, but a few to never discredit would be Facebook Reviews, Yelp, and for many, TripAdvisor. However, these are just a drop in the hat when it comes to online reviews. Our advice is to find where your customers are and the closest platform to that. For example, if your users are on Facebook, then use Facebook reviews, if they are on TripAdvisor, then post your reviews there.
- Online reviews have been a crucial part of business for decades now and with the rise in social media usage online they’re more important than ever before. 77% of people will read through an online review when making their decision to hire or buy from you.
How to request reviews from customers?
You can request reviews in a variety of ways. The easiest way is to simply ask. "Did you receive excellent service today?" can be changed to "Would you consider writing a review of our business on Yelp or Google?". Keep it simple and to the platforms you want a review on. You can often get a link to the platforms to share as well.
You can also request a review through an email, a text message, etc. There are even review platforms such as Birdeye or Podium that can help you manage reviews and remind customers to leave a review.
The important part is to stay consistent when asking for reviews. Keep a steady stream of reviews going at all times. Don’t forget, you can always follow up with past customers and ask them to leave a review as well.
But what happens when you get a negative review?
That feeling of your heart sinking when you get the email that someone has left your business a bad review. What do you do? How do you respond? Let’s talk about the impact of receiving a bad review and how to handle it.
You may start to feel sad, angry or disappointed. You’ll probably think about the time you put into that project and how much it cost you. But remember, people are more willing than ever before to leave bad reviews online for lots of reasons- some legitimate; some not so much. It’s important as a business owner that you don’t get upset and start to type out your feelings, this will only take a bad situation and make it worse.
So what do you do? The first thing is to take a deep breath and try not to panic, and while it may be tempting, don’t leave a response right away unless the review contains profanity or some sort of illegal activity like threatening your business in bad faith (in which case you should contact law enforcement). Instead let it sit for a bit, calm down, and come back to it later.
Once you have calmed down, you can now answer the review calmly and professionally. Instead of addressing the bad review, you are now showing potential customers how calm you can be in a stressful event. You aren’t necessarily avoiding the bad review, just showing others you aren’t going to resort to name-calling. In the end, ask the bad review author to contact you so you can resolve their issue.
By going this route, you take a bad situation and turn it in to your favor. Keep in mind that not all customers are going to like your service and we cannot please everyone.
There is no way to remove negative reviews, so let’s make them positive.
As mentioned, we want to make all reviews positive reviews. You may not be able to remove negative reviews, but you can make them positive. It’s possible to earn the trust of your customer by providing a professional and timely service, responding maturely when they come across bad reviews, and making sure you are always on time with their response. Taking these steps will help earn more good reviews which will lead to increased revenue for the company.
With online reviews becoming an increasingly crucial part of business, you must be responding in a mature and professional manner to any negativity.
This is often an area for customers to decide whether they want to hire or buy from your company. Take extra care of what others are saying about your service so they will also take extra care when hiring or buying products from you.
We, as well as many companies, have failed to thank our early customers. Though it may be weird to receive a thank you to a review left years ago, that should be no reason to look forward and thank all new reviews that come in from today on out. If you’ve done business with someone and they’ve taken time out of their schedule to leave a review, be sure to thank them, it only takes a moment.
One last quick tip. You deal with a lot of customers and clients. However, if you are able to remember their name, the service they required, you can further personalize it by showing them you remember them.
Use automation to get reviews naturally.
Yes, we said it, but hear us out! It can be hard to constantly ask for reviews. It gets harder to respond to them. By integrating some automation, you can create natural ways to ask for reviews and even respond to them with automation. Consider automatically generated emails to ask for reviews, or an automated SMS message with review links.
In conclusion to getting online reviews
One of the best ways to make sure your business is successful and gets more customers is by soliciting reviews from people who have had a good experience with you. It’s important that every company understands this, but it can be hard for some small businesses to get started. If there are any other questions or if we haven’t answered something here feel free to reach out at anytime. You should never underestimate the power of having happy customers telling others about their experiences- our team wants nothing more than for your business’ success!