5 Tips for Getting Online Customer Reviews
Word-of-mouth praise has always been key to the success of any local business. Potential customers value and trust the endorsement of other people who came before them – and oftentimes use that feedback to decide whether or not that business is the right fit for them. What once was simply asking friends, family, and acquaintances to share their firsthand experience with brands and businesses has transformed into the online customer review. And it’s become quite the game-changer for many local businesses. A great experience can encourage a customer, within minutes of leaving your store, to hop on their smartphone and leave a glowing review.
Those reviews have an impact on just about every customer who crosses your online path. In fact, according to a recent BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Study, the overall star rating of a business is the factor people initially consider most when choosing one business over another.
As online customer reviews are becoming increasingly embedded into the fabric of today’s digital world, beyond online review sites alone, local businesses know that, in order to succeed, they need to hop on the customer review bandwagon. However, getting those first few reviews is the hardest part – and knowing that no reviews can be just as damaging as a single bad review, simply sitting back and hoping those reviews will roll in won’t yield any results. Business owners need to be proactive and encourage happy customers to share their experience.
Easier said than done, right? Not necessarily. The team here at YP, The Real Yellow Pages® has as few tips and tricks up our sleeves – after all, customer reviews are a big part of what we do.
Just Ask – Alright, this may seem obvious, but it’s actually really easy to train your staff to invite happy customers to leave a review at the end of any transaction. The trick here is to be as genuine and natural as possible, otherwise, it may come across as overly scripted or insincere. If you can sense a customer had a positive experience, say something like: “Thank you for coming, we were glad to help you today. If you are happy with our service, I hope you’ll tell others by leaving a review online.” It’s a simple ask that can drive quick results.
Strengthen Your Online Presence – All of that effort asking for a review becomes a waste if the customer cannot find where to leave feedback. Be sure to create a business profile on every relevant online review site – including social media channels, like Facebook – and make it super easy to leave a review directly on your own business website. Wherever your business has a presence online, be sure your information is consistent and accurate. Basic information like contact details (telephone, email), location, business hours, primary products and services, and link to your website is absolutely critical. Next, add several photos to help customers know they are leaving a review for the right place. Nothing helps jog the memory like a great photo.
Add Badges – The simplest way to get a customer to leave a review is to make it easy for them to do so. Making them jump through hoops (aka, click through more than one link) is a deterrent that will never work in your favor. Add badges from online review sites to a prominent location on every page of your business website, like the header or footer. When customers click on these badges, they’ll be taken directly to your business profile page where they can leave a review with very little hassle.
Hang a Sign – Marketing your business is all about creating triggers that consumers can respond to. A physical sign in your store window or in a high-traffic area in your store – like point-of-sale (POS) – is a good way to remind customers that they can leave a review. You can even up the ante by offering a discount or some other kind of promotion as an incentive for doing so. Subtle reminders like this can go a long way in getting a customer to act.
Make It Part of Your Communications – Once a customer has made a purchase and has opted-in to your email list, never miss an opportunity to remind them to leave a review. Whether it’s an email newsletter (complete with your online review site badges) or a direct mail piece, inviting customers to leave a review should be a part of your ongoing marketing strategy. Sometimes it takes multiple attempts and asks to get some people to take action. It’s important to make sure you’ve got your bases covered. Slow and steady wins the race.
As you can see, it’s not nearly as difficult to get online customer reviews as it might seem. You just have to stay on top of it. And in spite of all your efforts to get a handful of positive reviews, there’s always a chance that someone who had a less-than-stellar experience might leave a negative review. No worries, we can help you bounce back from negative reviews as well. Any opportunity to turn a frown upside down should be seen as a win-win for any local business.