As commerce and sales shift more and more into the cyber world, many businesses seek out a niche and work hard to market themselves and build their brand following. One way to do that is to garner and receive positive customer reviews for your brand or business in the online marketplace.
When you think about it, who better to provide those glowing reviews than existing customers? When a shopper is on the fence about a purchase or not sure if they should pay for a service, nearly 90 percent of them will turn to customer reviews. Keep reading for some great tips to encourage your customers to leave online reviews.
Welcome Customer Feedback
Most people, especially return customers, are happy to give reviews but simply don’t think to do it. After a successful transaction or positive customer service interaction, it’s completely acceptable to welcome any feedback your customers may have. By letting your customers know you are open to feedback and suggestions, you’re able to plant that seed while the experience is still fresh.
However, you should be careful when it comes to asking directly for online reviews. Some review platforms have explicitly expressed in their guidelines that soliciting reviews is not an acceptable practice and can hurt your online reputation in the end. For example, Yelp believes businesses are more prone to ask happy customers for reviews to garner positive ratings. However, this is not an unbiased representation of your entire customer base, so Yelp does its best to identify these reviews and mark them as not recommended.
Make It Easy to Leave a Review
When it comes to getting reviews, it is so important to set up business pages on Yelp, Google, Facebook and any other platforms that are specific to your industry. You can’t expect to get reviews if you don’t have a place for customers to do so. Check these sites regularly for messages and to make sure your business information is correct and up to date. You also want to manage negative reviews in a way that does not hurt your online reputation.
Online reviews help others make decisions about your business and drive new clients to your webpage, so it’s worth investing the time and effort to respond to reviews and update content regularly. We cannot stress enough that making it easy to give your business a review is key. Share links to the review sites on your website and social media to make it as accessible as possible.
Make Your Reviews Visible
Another way to encourage online customer reviews is by actually sharing some of these reviews. Putting customer reviews in an easily viewable place on your website is the easiest way to do this. When customers see these reviews on your website, they feel as though your company values feedback and is taking suggestions seriously. Also, don’t be afraid to post a less-than-favorable review in some cases. It shows you are open to constructive criticism and are a business with integrity. However, always include your response and how you were able to rectify the issue.
If you have specific product ratings, post them close to photos and product descriptions so customers have an immediate visual. If you collect other forms of feedback that customers submitted via email, phone or social media, you’ll find that most customers are thrilled to give permission for their words to be used on your website.
Find the Perfect Timing
When it comes to getting online reviews, timing is everything. Ask for feedback when the transaction is still fresh. Most large websites, such as Amazon, follow up in a week or 10 days to ask about your purchase and level of satisfaction. They may even share what others had to say and ask for your feedback. Smaller businesses can do something similar by sending a thank you email with a quick reminder that encourages feedback.
You can also tap into clients that tag your business or your product in a social media post. Ask to share their post or statement. This also applies to clients that have referred others to your business. Anyone who has encouraged a friend or family member to purchase from your company is someone who will most likely leave a great review. Remember, you can encourage reviews, but always avoid offering incentives (especially monetary) for a review.
Online Reputation Management
Online reviews can have a significant impact on your business. This is why it’s essential to manage your reviews, value honest feedback, and consider suggestions from your customers. When you encourage customer reviews, it’s likely you will get positive and negative feedback, as well as entirely inaccurate reviews. By applying online reputation management strategies, you can address these reviews in a way that will make your website more likely to rank highly in search engine results.
To learn more about online reputation management and local SEO strategies, connect with the Levy Online team today! We have a dedicated digital marketing team ready to answer any questions you may have.