Consistently getting a steady stream of positive online reviews is necessary for the success of your business. We show you exactly how to make it happen here.
Getting customer reviews isn't just a simple way to boost sales. Consistently getting a steady stream of online reviews is necessary for the success of your business.
In the era of social media, it takes potential customers just moments to scan through all their options before deciding where to spend their money.
Reviews make a huge impact on their choices, and it's not just about the average rating of your reviews. It also comes down to the quantity (how many reviews you have), content (what your customers are writing), and recency (how new your reviews are) of all of your reviews.
You should be using a system to get these reviews and feedback, and we're here to tell you how.
The Impact of Reviews
The 2016 BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey polled more than 1,000 American consumers and found that reviews directly affect how people shop.
Of the people surveyed:
- 84% said they trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends.
- 74% said that reading positive reviews of a business made them trust the business.
- 54% said they visit a business's website after reading positive reviews.
But just collecting a few positive reviews isn't enough to make a lasting impact on your customers.
Three out of four people consider reviews relevant only if they've been written in the previous 3 months. And 90% of reviewers read less than 10 reviews before making decisions about a business.
So what does that mean for you? One of the most effective ways to drive business is to create a system in which your customers are regularly writing positive reviews.
That can sound daunting, but the BrightLocal survey also revealed an encouraging fact about customers:
7 out of 10 people will review a company if they're asked to.
More Benefits From Reviews
One customer writes a review, and another reads the review and decides to come to your business. That's a clear win, but there are plenty of other perks to having a robust reviewing community:
- Customers share their reviews on their social media pages, spreading the word about your service to a big pool of other potential customers.
- Reviews act as advertisements for your business when people who write them mention tips, specials, and products you offer.
- You can draw on phrases and themes from your reviews when creating ad campaigns for your business. Yes, "People love us on Yelp!" is an attention-getter. And using the same words your customers use is extremely effective at converting them into buyers.
- Reading feedback from customers helps you make necessary changes. If multiple people complain about poor customer service or limited hours, you can think about addressing those issues. Likewise, you find out what you're doing well so you can improve even more.
- People talking about you online boosts your SEO (search engine optimization), so you appear higher in search results.
Find People Who Aren't Looking
Generally speaking, the more people talking about you, the more people will find you.
Let's say you own a coffee shop in Memphis. A person in your area who's looking for a chocolate shop searches online for "best chocolate Memphis."
She might have been trying to find out where to buy chocolate truffles, but near the top of the search results is a review from one of your customers raving that you make the "best hot chocolate in Memphis."
The searcher wasn't necessarily looking for you, but once she stumbles upon your reviews, she decides to visit your shop to find out just how good that hot chocolate is.
You've reached a new customer without even working for it.
How to Get Customers to Write Reviews
You know why you need them, but how do you get more Yelp reviews or get more Google reviews?
- Ask. Just as the BrightLocal survey found, your customers are happy to write reviews if you ask.
At the end of a transaction, say something like, "Thanks so much for doing business with us! Let us know if there's anything else we can do. And if you have a minute, we'd really appreciate a review on Yelp/Facebook/Google."
Try varying the site you suggest so you get a range of reviews on all of them. Train your employees to do the same. Of course, if a customer is leaving upset or frustrated with your service, skip the part where you ask them for a review.
- Spread the word. Encourage customers to write reviews when they're already online or on their phones.
Include a call-to-action for reviews in email correspondence and on your social media channels. Use a simple phrase like, "Happy with our service? Leave us a review!" and link to several review sites.
If you're comfortable using a more lighthearted tone, create funny or silly social media posts. A poem like, "Roses are red, violets are blue, we think you're swell, leave us a review" can grab a reader's attention.
- Get someone else to do the work. You're busy doing the work of running a rave-review-worthy operation, and sometimes other approaches just don't deliver the return you want.
Use an automated system like ReputationStacker to get the reviews for you.
The system is completely automated. It sends your customers a single-question survey via email or SMS text message.
Happy customers are directed straight to the review sites of your choice to post a positive review, while unhappy customers are directed back to you so you can take steps to turn them into happy customers (and stop them before they post a bad review).
Minor Effort, Major Returns
If you're not currently receiving many reviews, getting them can take some legwork and effort up front, and then consistent follow up in order to continue generating reviews on an ongoing basis.
But you get a high return on investment: reviews beget more business, and more reviews... which begets more business, and the cycle continues.
Get in the habit of asking for reviews now, or use an automated online review service to do the work for you, and watch your business grow!