Customer reviews are vital. So let's go over some methods for locking down positive customer reviews!
Customer reviews are vital for businesses big and small. Trust in ads and even professional reviews has declined over the years. Yet 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. Meanwhile, nearly 70 percent of customers will make a purchasing decision after reading anywhere from just 1 to 6 reviews. Ultimately, 90 percent of purchasing decisions are influenced by reviews.
And while you might think that the influence of online reviews is limited to products bought or consumed online, they are also very important for brick and mortar stores. Many people now conduct research online, looking for the “best burger in town” or “coolest coffee shop” before actually heading out. Through their research, customers will likely come across customer reviews.
Positive reviews will help convince customers that they should buy your product or engage your services. Meanwhile, negative reviews will encourage people to look elsewhere. Given all of the above, it’s important for small businesses to encourage people to leave positive reviews..
So let’s go over some tips for drumming up positive reviews!
Start By Personally Asking!
Did you know that 70 percent of customers will leave a review if asked? A quick “hey could you do me a favor” can go a long way. Over time, your business will likely attract regular customers. If so, you should ask them to leave a review and also let them know how much you appreciate their patronage.
If customers are regularly visiting your store or other business, it’s likely because they like the products and services. So if they do leave a review, it’ll probably be positive. Further, you’re starting to establish a personal relationship with them, which will make them more likely to leave a review.
Convert Good Customer Service Experiences Into Reviews
Even the best-run business will disappoint customers from time to time. If you don’t rectify the situation, it could result in a negative review, which may end up costing you a lot more than the botched sale or service. That makes solving customer service issues vital.
And if the customer seems very pleased by the end of the customer service session, you should encourage them to leave a review. You can simply apologize one more time and make sure the issue is resolved. If everything is satisfactory, gently ask them if they would leave a review on Google, Yelp, or wherever else.
Put Up Signage
You should pepper some signage around your store (or website, for that matter), gently asking people for reviews and reminding them how much you appreciate their business. Also, let them know that if there are any issues, you will work to resolve them, they simply need to get in touch.
Putting a tent card by your cash register or other areas customers will frequent is smart. You can also put a sticker or small poster on the inside of your doors so customers see them when they are leaving. The signage should not be intrusive, however.
On your website, you should pepper positive customer reviews on the pages. This could help encourage others to leave reviews. Also, ask for a review on your checkout page or contact form. Again, make sure you’re not annoying the client by asking too many times.
Send Requests and Reminders
It’s easier now than ever to contact customers. You can contact them digitally through texts, emails, or even social media. Or you can keep it old-school and get in touch through phone calls and postcards. (Phone calls are intrusive and should only be used if the issue is time sensitive, such as an up-coming appointment.)
When you contact people, you can ask them to leave a review. You could send dedicated messages, such as a text that states “Hey Jon! Great seeing you today. Would you mind leaving a review on Facebook? Much appreciated!” Just don’t overdo it and badger people.
Another option is to attach reminders to materials you’re already sending out. Need to send an invoice or receipt to a customer? Feel free to put a request for reviews right on the invoice. Need to mail out a reminder for something? Again, feel free to include a postcard or message about leaving reviews.
Many businesses would benefit from setting up email newsletters so they can stay in touch with customers and occasionally nudge them. Newsletters and other emails are perfect for pitching reviews.
Put Out a Request on Social Media
Social media platforms offer a lot of benefits for small business owners. They are great for connecting with your audience, building relationships, and promoting products. You can also use social media to ask people for reviews.
Keep in mind that Facebook and other social media networks allow customers to leave reviews. So on Facebook, you could put up a post that says something like “Hey everyone! We appreciate your business tremendously! Care to leave us a review on Facebook? Much appreciated!”
When someone does leave you a positive review on social media, by the way, make sure you take a moment to thank them. If someone leaves a negative review, reach out to them and try to resolve the issue.
By the way, we put together a social media primer for small businesses. If you’re looking to up your social media game and don’t know how to get started, check it out!
You shouldn’t pay for fake reviews. First, most people can tell fake reviews apart from real ones. Second, it’s unethical to do so. However, you can offer your genuine, loyal customers a reward if they leave you an honest review. If you own a coffee shop, for example, you could provide them a coupon for a free coffee if they leave a review.
A cup of coffee won’t cost you much. Meanwhile, customers will only have to spend a few minutes leaving a review. So even small incentives will be very tempting and could produce a lot of reviews. You could post a sign by your cash register, mention the offer on social media, or could reach out individually to your best customers. Whatever you feel most comfortable with.
Conclusion: Make Sure You Pay Attention to Reviews
Customer reviews are more important now than ever before. A handful of positive reviews could greatly improve your company’s prospects. Negative reviews, on the other hand, could sink your business as potential customers head to more highly-reviewed competitors. By using the above tactics, you should be able to increase the number of positive reviews your customers leave, while reducing negative ones.
Either way, make sure you take reviews seriously as they are vital for businesses big and small.
Co-Founder & CEO of OnePoint Rewards