Improving your online reputation and getting more online reviews is one of the most efficient and effective ways to take your business to the next level. Read on to find out how easy it is to do.
Maybe a bad employee left some customers dissatisfied, or you've had some kinks in your operation that affected your service.
Maybe you're just unlucky and your many satisfied customers haven't taken the time to write reviews.
Whatever the reason, receiving a string of negative or mediocre reviews (or no reviews at all!) is bad for morale and bad for your bottom line.
Improving your online reputation can attract new customers and keep your existing customers coming back, and it's surprisingly easy to do.
Why Online Reviews Matter
Reading rave reviews about your business is definitely a powerful ego booster, but the importance of these reviews goes far beyond that.
Research shows that customers put a ton of trust in online reviews. In a recent survey, 91% of respondents said that they occasionally or regularly read reviews when comparing businesses.
No matter what industry you're in, your customers are relying on the feedback that your previous customers have given you. And if your reviews skew negative, some people will inevitably go looking for your competition instead.
What You Can Do
Ready to turn your online reputation around?
Follow these three steps to change the conversation about your business - fast.
1. Evaluate Your Customers' Experience
The best way to generate positive reviews? Make sure you're giving customers a positive experience. Do that, and your online reputation will reflect it.
First, take a good look all of your recent online feedback. Look for common complaints, and take them seriously. Do multiple people mention rude service, long waits, or high prices? It might be helpful to ask a coworker to read through the reviews too, so you can compare notes and identify a few areas for improvement together.
If you don't have many online reviews, or if the reviews you do have don't give you any ideas for actionable changes, reach out to customers directly. Ask repeat visitors for honest feedback about what you could do better.
Another approach is to ask for feedback at the end of every customer interaction. Questions like "Is there anything else we can do today to help you?" or "How has your service been today?" can yield useful insights. You'll be surprised how honest questions yield honest answers from your customers. Train your employees to ask these questions as well. When customers see that you really care, they're willing to share.
2. Ask for Reviews
Getting reviews is often as simple as asking for them. More customers than you think will happily write a review when asked to do so.
You can make this request at the end of every customer interaction. Based on the feedback the customer gives you, it's easy to determine if they're happy with the experience.
- If the customer is satisfied, saying something like, "I'm so happy to hear it. Customer service means everything to us. We'd love it if you would write us a review on Yelp or Facebook." (Which review sites you mention will vary, depending on what type of business you're in and which sites you're targeting.)
- If the customer is dissatisfied, try to find a way to address their complaints. If you can't do that - for instance, if the person is angry about something you can't control - sincerely apologize or express your empathy with a comment such as "I'm sorry - I'd be frustrated if that happened to me too." At the very least, making the person feel heard can keep them from turning to an online review site to complain.
- Whatever you do, never incentivize reviews. Promising special offers in exchange for posting a review reflects poorly on your business, and is actually illegal in many areas.
3. Systemize Your Approach
Earning positive reviews isn't a temporary strategy to improving business.
Attracting a steady stream of positive reviews is essential to success, because customers are most interested in recent reviews. To most potential customers, the reviews that you get today will be obsolete in three or six months.
Keeping the reviews coming is also important because even when you provide great service, you'll probably still get a few negative ones occasionally. When they're dramatically outnumbered by raves, they won't seem as important to prospective customers.
While the process of improving your reviews is pretty straight forward, it's still time consuming if you do it manually.
Consider using an automated system like ReputationStacker to do the heavy lifting for you. All you have to do is provide an email address or phone number for your customers, and ReputationStacker contacts them with a one-question survey. Happy customers are funneled to the review site of your choice where they can post a positive review, while dissatisfied customers are sent back to you so you can address their complaints.
An Easy Solution to Get More Reviews
What customers say about you online can have a direct and powerful effect on the success of your business. You have the ability to earn positive reviews in a simple and ethical way, starting today.
Analyze the criticism that you've previously received to find ways to make easy improvements to your service. Once you're confident that you're giving your customers a good experience, ask them for feedback after every interaction, and follow that request by asking happy customers to write you online reviews.
Make sure you're getting a steady stream of positive reviews using an automated system like ReputationStacker.