How To Grow Your Online Reviews
Reviews are fast becoming one of the most important factors for getting people to use your business. From increasing visibility via search engine rankings to instilling buyer confidence, reviews (as opposed to testimonials) are playing an ever increasing role. That being the case, it should be pretty obvious that you don’t just want a high number of reviews but a high number of POSITIVE reviews. If your company provides outstanding service, this shouldn’t be terribly difficult, but there are some practices that you can employ to ensure that you are getting those 5 star reviews that your company needs and deserves. It’s all about the details. How you ask for a review, when you ask for it, and why you ask for it all come into play.
When to Ask
The best time to get a review is that one magical moment in time when your customer is utterly thrilled with the service you have given them. An easy indicator of this is by watching for a smile or a laugh from the customer. How do you earn that smile? Go above and beyond. Whether that means spending some extra time explaining a process to them or even offering to help with something completely unrelated to your service (offering to help arrange a cab or suggesting a good nearby coffee shop while their car is being serviced, for example).
Ask for a review at the peak of their experience and at a time that is convenient for them to follow through. If you are a plastic surgeon, the best time might not be as you wheel them out the hospital door while they are drugged up on pain meds (well, this might work…). Wait for the discomfort to subside and their results to be showing beautifully.
Why are you asking?
Make it personal. People like helping people they like. Plain and simple. When you make the transaction personal and put a face to the business, it’s easy to ask for a review as a simple favor. If you or one of your employees has established rapport with a client and really “wowed” them with their personality and service. This doesn’t have to be face to face. If you spent extra time on the phone with them helping them through an issue and got to know them on a first name basis, you’re in a prime spot to ask for a review. Try to put it in context of a relationship. They would be doing you a personal favor by recommending you and your service to others.
How to Ask.
The key thing here is somewhat related to the point above. Make it as personal as possible. Going from the most effective first, we have in person, on the phone, and through email.
In person is the obvious first choice. You are quite literally putting a face on the business and have likely just been in a position to earn that smile that we talked about. On the phone. Even if the customers interaction with you has been entirely online (say they bought something via your website and recently received the product in the mail), a follow up phone call to ask how things are going and if they are pleased with the product will pleasantly surprise your customer and leave them with a great impression. They will usually be more than happy to shoot you a review. Just tell them where to go. Email - This isn’t as effective in terms of quantity or average ratings left, but it’s still effective. Give your customers a quick follow up email. See how things are going and ask for honest feedback through an email response and/or reviews.
These methods have proven themselves time and time again as the most effective ways of getting positive reviews. They all take some time, but the results are well worth it. One important thing is to not forget about your employees. These people are the client facing side of your business and are the ones most often in the position to ask for and get a great review. Let them know how important it is, and show them how to direct their clients to the places where you would like the reviews (Google+, Yelp, etc). Reward your employees when they get a review posted somewhere, especially if they are named specifically in the review.
Until next time, best of luck!