Inc.com reports that 84% of people trust online reviews just as they would a personal recommendation from a friend1. That's a staggering percentage, and one that clearly indicates that online reviews are important to the success of your business. It's not wise to leave them to chance with the hope that people will give take time from their busy day to praise you online–simply out of the goodness of their hearts. Sure many people are quick to take grab their digital megaphone and sound off when something isn't right, but that just makes it even more importnat that you have a plan in place to capture the goodwill you're creating every day. Customer reviews need to be an important part of your overall business strategy. Fortunately it's not as hard as you think to get the reviews you need for your business to thrive.
Do Good Work!
Good work means good reviews. Drop hints early on how important reviews are to the growth of your business. Take all feedback to heart and be sure to follow through on changes.
This step may seem a bit obvious, but if you don’t ask, you won’t get your reviews. Some great ways to request reviews are in a follow-up email, in-person, in a social media post, in reply to a positive social media comment, over the phone, in a text conversation (if appropriate!), on a postcard, on preprinted 'review us' business cards, and in your email signature.
when you don’t take the time to set up certain business pages yourself, someone will add them for you. For example, this happens a lot with Yelp and Alignable. So be sure to claim your business profiles on all review sites right from the start. Then optimize them so they all match. By doing those two things alone, you'll be way ahead of your competition!
When you ask someone to leave a review, you’re asking them to put their credibility and reputation on the line in order to endorse you. Be understanding and don’t treat it lightly.
Time is Everything
Wait to ask for any review until any post-sale issues have been resolved. You want your reviewers to have a positive business experience fresh in their minds.
So How Do I Ask?
Besides the methods mentioned above, here's a great time and approach to ask in person: Let's say you are chatting to the customer during checkout and the customer is really happy. That's a great time to say, "We're so glad we you're happy. As a small business, we'd be grateful if you could take a minute to leave us a review on either our Facebook or Google page. Those reviews are really valuable to us."
Make it Easy
When someone says they’ll leave a review, make it as easy as possible for them. Give them a link directly to the review site to make the whole process simple and painless for them.
Say Thank You
Show your appreciation to those who leave reviews! A little gratitude through a quick note, a call, or even a $5 gift card goes a long way. Do something to show you’re grateful for their help.
Make it a habit
As you go through this process and learn how to easily and efficiently gather and respond to reviews, you'll be able to turn it into a repeatable process.
Listen & Learn
The feedback your getting is valuable, and the negative feedback is the most valuable of all. When you do get some, set your ego aside, ask yourself what could have been done better, and make changes accordingly. It's part of the growth process.
Yes, we've already said this, but it's worth mentioning again. When clients approach us about how they can generate more reviews, our first question is, "How do you currently ask for reviews" In 9 out of 10 instances, we'll be met with a blank look and a sheepish confession of "Well.... uhh..... we don't." The confession is usually accompanied by their gaze shifting towards their feet as they realize the flaw in that plan.
So one more time–just ask!
Once you’ve crossed each of these tips off of your list, you’ve set yourself up for some great organic growth. To learn more about the next steps of the process which include creating great content, using subtle marketing, and more, see our article on How to Boost Your Facebook Organic Reach.