Most local businesses know the impact of positive reviews. Theymake your businessstand out, appear in better search positionsand generate more revenue. Making review generation part of your overall Online Reputation Management strategy is essential to business success.
Because online reviews do wonders to build trust and confidence, they can be one of the most powerful tools in creating competitive advantage. In addition to boosting online reputation, positive reviews are important ranking signals to search algorithms.Online reviews can increase search visibility and attract conversions from search traffic.Star ratings have been shown to increase click-through-rate (CTR) by as much as 20%.
Furthermore, positive online reviews impact consumer behaviour with 90% of consumers reporting that reviews affect their purchasing decisions.
Don’t be shy. It’s ok to ask for a review.
Encouraging feedback from your customers isimportant.
There’s no arguing that a great customer experience is fundamental to getting reviews and five star ratings. Delivering top notch customer service and truly delighting your customers makes it easy.Great customer service for every customer is something every business must aspire to. However, even then there’s no guarantee that customers will think to leave a business review.
Takingthe matter into your own hands has its benefits. Businesses that proactively request reviews tend to have higher star ratings than businesses don’t, with proactive businesses having a4.34rating on average, compared to 3.89 stars for businesses that simply wait for customers to rate them.
It’s ok to ask your customers directly for a review. Let customers know that it’s quick and easy. Give theminstructions. Not knowing how may be preventing them from reviewing your business.
Making review requests part of the sales and customer service process is one of the simplest ways to generate reviews. Simply having employees request a review at the end of a customer interactionmay be all the prompting they need.“Thank you for your business today. Would you mind reviewing us on Facebook or Google?”
Take note that its critical to get your timing right when asking for a review. It should be considered a post-sales service so ensure the product or service has been fully delivered and the customer has had time to digest the full experience.
Be open to the feedback, good and bad.
Often customers only think to rate a business when they are emotional and it’s five stars or one star. Let customers know that their feedback, good, bad or mediocre is important. Letting them know you’re listening and take feedback constructively builds trust.
Consider introducing customer feedback campaigns. Surveys sent to customersvia email and sms can collect valuable testimonials. They can also help to identify disgruntled customers that may be at risk of defecting or saying harsh things about your business online. It’s a great opportunity to take complaints offline and resolve a customer’s issues. Equally so, feedback campaigns are a great way to identify happy customers, which in turn can be asked for a review.
Respond to all reviews, good, bad and in-between. People like to see both the customer review and your response. When you reply, your customers notice that your business values their feedback. Itbuilds credibility and encourages more reviews from customers in the future. If a customer leaves a positive review, simply say thank you. However, if a customer leaves a negative review, there are some important steps to follow.
When a customer leaves a negative review, properly address their concerns. In cases where your business is clearly at fault, apologise sincerely and be proactive to resolve the issue. Demonstrating a high degree of responsibility and concern is your best chance of diffusing a situation. Even if the business is not directly at fault, a carefully worded apology goes along way. Once you’ve replied, invite them to contact you privately. Furthermore, when their issue is resolved, and you are certain your customer is satisfied, ask them to edit their review and rating.
Incorporate review generation into your marketing campaigns.
There are a variety of ways to prompt customers to leave a review. Use a call-to-action and provide a direct link for visitors to leave you a review. Links can be added to email signatures, as well as incorporated into email campaigns and newsletters. Why not collect customers’ emails or mobile numbers at the point of sale and let them know it’s an important part of your after-sales care, then send your customer a follow-up email and ask them to leave you a review.
Adding a widget to your website or even using a lightbox popup makes it simple and easy for the customer to leave their comments as part of the customer journey. Some businesses create a dedicated landing page to encourage customers to submit feedback.
Consider creating printed marketing collateralthat you can place at the checkout. Local service companies find it convenient to leave a review card at their customer’s property.
The ‘Small Thanks with Google’ campaign offers a bunch of personalised collateral ideas for you to use in your physical location. Businesses already listed on Google can generate personalised marketing materials, such as window stickers and posters, which can be mailed out or downloaded for printing. It’s a creative way to turn your reviews into ready-to-use collateral that compliments your Google My Business listing and prompts customers to share their in-store experience online.
Implement strategies to keep reviews flowing.
Because 85% of consumers don’t trust reviews more than three months old, an evergreen strategy to keep reviews flowing will mean your profile is always fresh and creating influence. Request reviews and incorporate review generation into your marketing campaigns to give your business a competitive edge and drive more revenue.
Melissa How M.COM(MKTG) M.E.I. founded Marketing Wise in 2010 and has delivered digital marketing projects and campaigns for more than thirty organisations. She is a thought leader on Online Reputation Management for local businesses.