One of the first things we learn as business owners is, if we want to be successful, we have to make the sale. So, it isn’t uncommon for us to spend countless hours learning the strategies that we believe will help us attract the right leads, build our lists, and ultimately entice customers and clients to want to make the buy.
If you truly want a successful business that withstands the test of time, it doesn’t stop there. You also want your customers to leave glowing reviews. Why is this so important?
In 2019, BrightLocal conducted a Consumer Review Survey and learned that, when looking for a local business online, 82 percent of people will read that company’s reviews. They don’t just skim over them either. Instead, this survey found that consumers spend an average of 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading approximately ten reviews before making their decision about whether or not they want do business with that company. If the company has fewer than four stars, 47 percent won’t consider them at all.
This survey highlights the importance of looking beyond the sale and placing more importance on getting online reviews. But what’s the best way to get customers to leave reviews? There are a few options.
Ask for the Review
There’s an old adage that says, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” So, if you’re not asking your customers to leave reviews, they’re not likely to do so on their own.
If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, one way to ask for a review is to place the information on your sales receipt and have your cashiers point it out at checkout. If you correspond with customers online, sending an email after the sale is complete is a great way to get them to share a few nice words about your business.
Make Leaving a Review Super Easy
When considering how to collect reviews from customers, know that the easier you make it for them to share the positive experiences they’ve had with you, the more likely it is that’s what they’ll do.
If you have their email address, send a quick “thank you” and include links to the sites that you’d like them to leave a review on so all they have to do is click on them. Tell them that this process will only take 1-2 minutes so they know it won’t take much of their time. Also share how important customer reviews are to you, enticing them a bit more.
Some of the most common review sites are Google, Yelp, and if you sell products, Amazon. However, there are a few niche review sites to consider sharing as well, but these do tend to vary by industry.
For instance, if you’re a mechanic, the top niche review sites are Repair Pal and AutoMD. If you’re a beauty salon, review sites such as RealSelf and SpaFinder tend to have more domain authority. To figure out which sites are most effective for you, ask new customers if they read any reviews about your company before coming in and, if they did, ask them to share the site details.
Sometimes asking for a review isn’t enough. People get busy and don’t take the time or it simply isn’t important enough to them. In cases such as these, offering incentives can entice them to want to share how great your company is.
To get customers to leave reviews of your business, you might offer a discount on their next purchase or give them a little thank you gift the next time they come in. You could also enter their name in a monthly drawing when they leave a positive review, sweetening the pot even more.
The incentive doesn’t have to be something big or expensive either. As long as it shows our appreciation, it should do the trick.
Respond to Reviews
BrightLocal’s 2019 survey also found that, out of the 82 percent of consumers who take the time to read a local company’s reviews, 97 percent also read the business’s responses. That makes this one action more than worth the time.
Even a simple, “Thank you for your kind review. We appreciate your business!” shows that you care about your customers. If you’re a really small business and tend to know your clients well, a more personal response wouldn’t be out of line, such as, “We enjoyed seeing you again today! It’s always a pleasure doing business with you!”
What do you do if the review is negative, or not as positive as you’d like? While it may be tempting to just ignore it, you’re better off dealing with it head on.
Dealing with Negative Reviews
When customers leave a negative review, you still want to respond, satisfying the 97 percent of consumers who want to know how you deal with unhappy customers. The key is to always remain professional and courteous while avoiding jumping into defending yourself and your company.
For instance, you may respond with, “We’re sorry to hear that you aren’t satisfied with our products (or services). Your business is important to us and we’d like the opportunity to make it right. Please contact us at (phone number) to discuss our options.”
In fact, if you decide to send a thank you email asking for a review, you could always begin that email with, “If you’re not 100% satisfied, we kindly ask that you contact us first and give us the opportunity to make it right.” This shows that you care about their level of satisfaction and may entice them to contact you before writing something negative.
If you’re able to make a customer happy after they’ve already posted something negative about your company, ask them to go in and update their review. The more consumers see that you will take care of them, even if things don’t go exactly as planned, the more likely it is they’ll want to do business with you today, tomorrow, and for years to come.