Eighty-seven percent of Americans trust online reviews, and reading reviews has become a standard part of the purchase process. This is true for both online and in-person purchases. The more reviews your business has, the more accurately they reflect the real customer experience. Therefore, it’s important to try to get as many reviews as possible, even if some of them turn out to be negative.
Getting more reviews requires more than just a one-time ask. You need proven strategies, and here are several that work well:
1) Ask in person. Asking for online reviews in person can be done in several ways. Of course, you can simply ask customers when they have paid and are about to leave. But you can also ask in other ways. Restaurants can have tabletop signs with QR codes that people can scan to go to a review site, for example. Scannable codes can also be placed at the bottom of receipts. When someone calls to thank a person on your team for great service, that’s a prime opportunity to ask for a review.
2) Use automated tools to ask at the right moment. Marketing automation tools can be set up to request reviews from customers via email or SMS as soon as the customer completes their transaction. Don’t wait to ask, whatever method you use. Customers tend to write more detailed reviews soon after transactions, while their experience is still fresh in their minds. And your future customers will find more detailed reviews especially useful.
3) Make it easy for customers to leave reviews. In addition to using automated tools and providing conveniences such as scannable codes to go to review sites, you can automatically direct customers to Google’s review platform with a unique URL made specifically for your business. To create this URL:
- Go to Google Map’s PlaceID Lookup Tool.
- Enter your business name in the “Enter a location” field. You should see a map of your business location with a box containing your business name and its PlaceID.
- Copy the PlaceID to your clipboard, then paste it at the end of the following URL: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=
- Now you can share this URL with customers to take them right to Google to leave a review.
3) Respond to reviews and stream fresh reviews to your site. Responding to customer reviews, particularly negative reviews, is essential to delivering outstanding customer experience. Most people who leave negative reviews are willing to give businesses another chance if their problem is resolved quickly and professionally. Aim to respond to all negative reviews and at least 20% of positive ones.
With tools such as those offered by Reputation.com, you can automatically stream fresh reviews directly to your website. This helps convince customers to choose you, and it’s good for your website’s SEO.
Don’t Do These Things
Don’t offer incentives for people to leave positive reviews. It’s dishonest and can skew perceptions. It’s fine to thank people for glowing reviews – in fact you should do this – but it’s not OK to offer them some kind of reward in advance.
Don’t attempt to have negative reviews taken down. The only time you should do this is when a review clearly and egregiously violates the terms and conditions of the site that it’s posted on (i.e. those containing hate speech or threats). Strive to respond to every negative review, and solicit more reviews overall so your average rating accurately reflects customer experience.
And the fact is, occasional negative reviews may actually help your business. Why? Because when people see an endless string of five-star reviews, they’re suspicious. By responding to negative reviews, you demonstrate your genuine commitment to customer experience management.
Strive to increase review volume in 2020 and you can expect more positive reviews and a better online reputation. Reviews are a critical component of customer experience management, so don’t hesitate to ask for them and make it easy for customers to write them. To learn more about optimizing customer experience management, download our Top Trends for Online Reputation and CX Management Report.