I recently worked with a client who wanted to improve their customer review scores. While the actual particulars for wanting to improve their reviews were unique as it was tied to a financial reward incentive, the tactics to get the positive reviews can easily be applied to any business wanting more positive reviews from their customers. And it is completely white hat and ethical.
Power of Online Reviews
More often than not, your customers and clients seek out online reviews and ratings of your business before deciding to do business with you. They head to Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List, Trip Advisor, Google Maps, Yahoo Local, Epinions and others to read business reviews. And many just Google your business’s name along with “reviews” to discover what past customers have said.
Popularity of Online Reviews
According to a recent study by BrightLocal, 92% of consumers read online reviews and 68% say positive reviews have an influence on their buying decisions. With online reviews having such a huge impact on your sales, how do you go about getting more reviews and more importantly, how do you get more positive reviews over neutral and negative ones? Just like your marketing efforts should be, you need to target your efforts on your most satisfied and happy customers.
Don’t Ask Everyone For Reviews
When I set out with to improve my clients’ review scores, I could have encouraged every one of their customers to leave a review. This could have been done with a banner on their website or for brick-and-mortar businesses; it could be a table tent or sign encouraging customers to leave an online review. While this would have helped to increase the number of reviews, it wouldn’t have likely helped to improve their review scores.
Your goal is to only communicate with and encourage those who had a positive experience to leave an online review. This can be done verbally in-person. It can be done via a postcard that you include with their receipt. It can be done via email, Facebook or Twitter. If they sign up for your newsletter, like your business on Facebook or follow your business on Twitter, the odds are that they like your business and have had a positive experience with it. There are many other channels and tactics and they differ for each business, but you should have a good understanding of where your best customers are and how to best communicate with them.
The last tip is in regards to ethics. There have recently been stories on businesses paying people to leave positive online reviews. This is obviously unethical, but there are other tactics that aren’t ethical but aren’t as obvious. You should never offer discounts or coupons or freebies to your customers for leaving a review. This is actually a common occurrence especially on Facebook and other social sites where a customer gets a coupon for taking a survey or giving a review on a review site. You don’t need to do this to get online reviews.
Once you’ve targeted your customers who more than likely have had a positive experience with your business, simply ask them to leave an online review if they have the time. Be honest and tell them that many customers rely on online reviews to help them decide which business to choose. Most of your customers will understand as they probably did the same. And if they had a great experience and like doing business with you, they won’t have a problem leaving a review for you. And if you did your screening for your most satisfied and happy customers correctly, the review should be positive. Don’t expect to rack up reviews like one could do the unethical way but slow and steady and ethically will win the game in the end.