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The Secret to Getting Reviews Online and Building Your Reputation

There are only two types of customers. There are the ones who are satisfied with your business and will recommend you to others. Then there are ones who had a bad experience with your company.

The latter are more than likely going to type out their frustrations in the form of an online review.

Reviews are immensely important for the success of your business. 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they would trust a recommendation from family or friends.

We’re going to tell you how to get reviews from those satisfied customers and how to deal with reviews from those not so satisfied customers.

Facebook, Google, Yelp, the list goes on. Why is it important to get reviews on a variety of platforms and not just focus on one? You want to make sure you cover all your bases.

Customers who are looking at Google reviews may not look at your Facebook or Yelp reviews and vice versa. This will also help your SEO. The more places your business is listed on the internet, the better.

Google is generally the review site of choice – which is great because these reviews appear on your Google My Business page.

GMB is a free service that displays your business name, address, phone number and more to potential customers. Customers will quickly see your star rating as well. It’s important to have a Google My Business for several reasons.

First it displays your business information to customers so that they can know when you close or how to contact you. It also improves your chances of showing up in “near me” searches thanks to local SEO.

Getting online reviews can also help you move up in the search engine rankings.

Get Reviews on Facebook

Everyone has a Facebook these days. Well almost everyone. There are more than 2 billion active Facebook users, which is why as a business it is so important to get reviews on Facebook. A new feature on Facebook also displays your star rating in search results when users search for your business or businesses like yours.

Star rating is a huge factor because the majority of people do not trust a star rating below a 4.

When a customer writes you a good review on Facebook they are telling people that they loved your business and are essentially advertising your company to their network of friends.

If you ask to get reviews on Facebook people will more than likely already have an account as opposed to sites like Yelp where they might have to create an account before they can leave you a review.

You can also ask for reviews in your Facebook posts. Maybe you recently had a big event or sale. Post about it and then ask your customers what they purchased and to share their thoughts with you. This is a great way to encourage feedback and get reviews!

Getting Reviews Online

Angie’s List and Yelp are two review sites that are ideal for businesses who offer a service such as restaurants or house cleaning services. Yelp requires you to log in to your account in order to write a review. This can be a downside as not everyone has a Yelp account. But you do not have to sign up in order to see reviews.

LYFE Marketing’s Yelp page

The same is true with Angie’s List. Taking the time to create accounts on these platforms may deter people from signing up and giving you a review so make sure that you have options for them!

Tell your customers you would love a review on Angie’s List or Google. This way they have options and can choose whichever is easiest for them.

Some other great platforms you may not know about include ModernComment, Get Five Stars, and Trustpilot.

ModernComment is a service that sends a feedback link to your customers. After they take the survey it is turned into a recommendation which they can post on social media. You can then respond to feedback and easily monitor what your customers are saying about you.

Get Five Stars is a similar service and allows you to add these reviews and recommendations directly to your website for other visitors to see.

Another service that is growing quickly is Trustpilot. Anyone can write a review on this platform. They can also help encourage reviews by sending automated emails to your customers and offer in depth analytics so that you can grow your business.

It’s imperative that you get reviews on at least one of these sites but adding additional ones is beneficial to your business. You will want to choose the review sites that are appropriate for your business.

If you are in the restaurant industry, then sites like Yelp will be great in addition to Google and Facebook reviews. If you’re a cleaning service you will want to be on platforms like Angie’s List.

Know your audience and know where they go for their information.

Should You Ask For Reviews?

68% of people will form an opinion of your business after reading anywhere between 1 and 6 reviews.

You need to encourage your customers to leave reviews and you, as a business, need to monitor those reviews. You should also be able to improve the negative reviews that you will inevitably receive.

If you find this task to be too menial, or you don’t like confrontation, then just hire a digital marketing company to do reputation management for you.

This strategy will help your business become even more successful.

online reviews

Want to know the secret to getting online reviews?

Obviously it starts with having good customer service, but what about afterwards? How do you actually get reviews from customers?

Just ask. And do it promptly. Don’t be awkward. You are essentially asking your customers for feedback that will contribute to the growth of your business. There’s no harm in that. In fact, more businesses should be doing this.

Timing is everything here. Before you ask for a good review: ask yourself these questions.

  • Has this customer had a good experience with your company?
  • Have they recently complimented your business or services?
  • Have you worked closely with them?

If they are likely to give you a good review then ask away! If there is any doubt in your mind that they might give you a mediocre or bad review, wait. You want to establish a good relationship with them before you go asking for any favors.

Bottom line is: if you ask a customer who has had a good experience to give you a review, they will more than likely be happy to give you one!

Make sure you don’t just ask for “a review.” Ask for a 5 star review.

Remember to be polite like this – “Would you mind leaving us a 5 star review on Google?”

It’s important to be specific on which platform you would like them to leave a review on.

For example, if you own a restaurant you probably want reviews on platforms like Yelp or OpenTable, so make sure that is clear to your customers.

Try Sending an Email

Don’t want to ask your customers straight up? Or maybe your company is too big to go around to each customer asking for reviews.

Emailing customers to ask for reviews is an easy way to quickly get reviews. This makes it easy for people to click a link and go straight to leaving you a review. Email marketing is already immensely important for the growth of your business so why not leverage it to get reviews?

Once customers make a purchase on your site and their product has been delivered to them you can send a follow up email asking how their experience was. Ask them to rate your product but also tell you if they had any issues with delivery. This way you can make adjustments if needed.

You can also end your emails with something simple like “Be sure to leave us a review on Facebook!” This way you aren’t directly asking and you won’t seem pushy, but you’re still putting the idea in their head.

Nordstrom sends an automated email of the product you have purchased and makes it easy to give the product a review.

We can set up similar automations for your ecommerce email marketing efforts.

If you are sending emails make sure your call to action is clear and bold. The CTA in this email is “Review Now” and takes the customer straight to where they can leave a review. Make it as easy as possible for your customers.

If you are asking for a favor, then you need to do all the heavy lifting. If a customer doesn’t know where to leave a review or has to search for it, then they will be less likely to follow through.

Offer Something in Return for Their Reviews

online reviews

If you are having trouble getting reviews from customers, try offering an incentive such as a coupon in exchange for a review. If you do this there are a few things you will need to keep in mind.

The first is costs. If you offer free stuff or a discount you will want to make sure you have a budget. You can offer this discount for a limited time or only tell customers on one channel.

Don’t post on every social media channel and email your customers. It will seem like you are fishing for reviews. You don’t want people thinking you are trying to buy reviews from your customers. That’s definitely not how you get reviews.

You want honest reviews from people who want to give them to you. If you have a brick and mortar store you can offer discounts in person in exchange for reviews.

For example, if you own a gym you could have a sign that says “Leave us a review after your first class and receive a class for free!” You want to make sure people have had that experience first before they give you a review. You can then share these reviews with other customers to encourage more sales or memberships.

Or if you are a big company like JCPenney you can run a contest.

The copy on this email is excellent. They don’t just ask for a review. They ask if you love the item you purchased and if so to let them know!

Coming up with clever copy can make customers more inclined to give you a review.

How to Deal With Getting Bad Reviews

Now that you’ve learned how to get good reviews it’s time to talk about how to deal with bad reviews.

94% of people say that a negative review that they have read online has convinced them to completely avoid a business.

When it comes to leaving reviews, people are more likely to vent about their bad experiences than their good ones. There’s no question that you will get reviews that are bad. It’s just the way it works, so it’s in your best interest to learn how to handle negative reviews.

We’ve made it easy for you.

Either follow the 5 simple steps below or contact our team of experts to help you.

Step 1 – Monitor Your Reviews

Yes, you need to read your reviews regularly because you need to reply to them regularly. Don’t worry, you won’t need to reply to every single one.

It’s a good idea to make sure that the people reviewing your company are legitimate and people who you have actually done business with.

At LYFE Marketing, we read, monitor, and respond to your reviews for you everyday.

Step 2 – Read Carefully

Don’t start fuming once you read a review for the first time and write an outrageous response. Take some time to process. Not so much time that you forget to respond, but enough time to form a calm and collected response that will be seen by outsiders as a well-thought out response and not one written in rage.

Clearly this owner did not think through his response. If you take to responding in this way, your business is not going to survive. Not only do people see reviews left for your business, but they also see the way you as a business owner respond. Treat customers like people even if they bash your business.

Step 3 – Create Responses

Yes some reviews are going to be bad, but don’t try and bury them with good reviews. See how you can respond to these unsatisfied customers. It helps to create a list of generic replies that you can easily edit or expand on. These should be open and transparent as well as polite and helpful.

Step 4 – Reply

If you receive good reviews reply with a simple message like “We’re glad you had a great experience – we hope to work with you again!” But you will inevitably get reviews that aren’t so great. Not only should you respond to negative reviews but you should do so in a timely manner. 53% of customers expect companies to reply to their negative reviews and to do so within a week.

One of LYFE Marketing’s client reviews on Clutch

Getting Bad Reviews

There are a three types of bad reviews you need to look out for.

  1.  Clients who simply had a bad experience. You know how it feels to have a bad experience and then have no one make an effort to try and fix it. It’s frustrating and might make you swear off a business for good. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What would you like to hear from a business?

This customer’s review is not specific but nonetheless should be addressed. The owner does a great job apologizing and extending the offer to make things right. This response is polite, well written, and encouraging.  

  1. Wrong company reviews. Yes this happens (probably more often than you think)! You still need to respond and remember to be polite. This customer has had a bad experience with their furniture delivery and left a review for a marketing company. The business owner apologizes for their experience even though he does not own the furniture company.
  2. Then there’s the scammer. These are people who you have never done business with who are leaving bad reviews for the heck of it. Sometimes it’s a prank, out of malice, or it’s a competitor. Google will remove these reviews if they seem suspicious. Or you can report them. This is why you need to frequently monitor your reviews on every platform. Bad reviews like this can really hurt your business.

This business owner caught a fake review and replied to it making it know to customers that they should not trust this review. You can also report suspicious reviews to Google so that they can look into the users who have posted them.

Responding to Bad Reviews

Sometimes it can be difficult to think of a polite response to someone who is outraged at your company. That’s why choosing to outsource reputation management is sometimes the best idea. But if you want to keep it in house, then here are some tips to crafting a good response to a bad review.

Admit that you have made a mistake and be transparent. Don’t hide. No business is perfect and customers understand this. Let them know that there are people behind your brand that are working hard to make sure that every customer is satisfied.

Simply apologize.

If you say you are sorry that your customer had a bad experience, then they will feel validated. Do not try and dismiss them or say that this could never have happened at your business.

If other customers see a review that you or your business has replied to that is unapologetic and all about you, they are going to quickly form an opinion that your company does not put their customers first.

Stress that this isn’t the norm of your business. You can let your customers know “This is not business as usual and we strive to deliver a high quality experience to all of our customers.”

Offer the customer a solution.

Sometimes business will offer free products/services or a discount to disgruntled customers. Be careful here. You may want to send a private message to offer your discount or coupon. Other people may see that you offered a coupon and start leaving bad reviews just to get free stuff. You can ask them to send you an email with more details so that you can handle the situation directly and then make the offer.

If you have a brick and mortar store tell them to speak with someone who is on site, like a manager, if they have any other problems. This gives them an actual human being to speak with in person. They can then offer an in store coupon or credit.

Invite them to try your business again. Invite your customers back for a second try and then make sure you turn their bad first impression into a great second impression.

Most importantly, be nice. Even if you are having the worst day ever. When it comes to running a business, we have to remember that customer service is important 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For example if you own a pizza restaurant and a customer was served cold pizza you should respond with something like:

“We are so sorry your pizza was not up to par! This is not how we normally serve pizza to our customers. We would love it if you would come back and try our pizza again! If you have any problems with your next in store visit please speak directly with our manager, Tom. He will be happy to assist you! If you have any other questions, comments or concerns please reach out to us at [email protected].”

This is a great response to a frustrated customer. The owner says that he understands how the customer is feeling and sincerely apologizes. Then he offers a solution to make sure the customer leaves feeling satisfied. If you successfully fix the problem and win back your customer you may have a chance to get a better review from them in the future.

Step 5 – Continue to Monitor

We cannot stress how important it is to make sure you are monitoring your reviews on an ongoing basis. You will be able to thank customers for their good reviews and address issues that arise from bad experiences with your business.

It can be challenging to get reviews from your customers. It all starts with great customer service! But you have to continue to put in effort after a purchase is made if you want to get reviews.

Reviews can make or break your business so remember to monitor the reviews you receive on all platforms and respond to the good as well as the negative. Responding to all of the reviews you receive can be time consuming, tedious work.

Let the professionals at LYFE help you craft responses that will keep your customers coming back time after time!

Do you have any other tips you want to share for business owners dealing with a poor customer experience? Share them with us in the comments below.

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