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You know that reviews and referrals are important, but just how important are they? Some research indicates that more than 90 percent of people pay attention to reviews. More than that, they allow these reviews to sway their buying decisions.
Given that, the importance of customer reviews can’t be overstated. The big question for your business isn’t whether you need reviews. It’s how to get them.
If you’re feeling a little lost about how to get your customers to leave a review, don’t worry. This guide will walk you through 10 simple steps. You’ll have more reviews before you know it!
1. Set Up Your Online Profiles
It’s difficult to get customer testimonials if your customers don’t have anywhere to leave them. Before you ask customers to review your business, take the time to claim your profiles.
You can do this in several ways. You’ll want to claim your Google My Business profile. You may also want to create your Facebook business page.
Both of these platforms allow customers to leave reviews. Other sites, like Yelp, also allow for reviews.
Don’t forget about adding reviewing capability to your own website as well. It’s great if people leave you five stars on Google, but that may not help if others are shopping on your website.
By setting up different platforms for reviews, you’ll make it even easier for customers to offer their feedback. You may even want to use a service to aggregate reviews and cross-post for you.
2. Ask Your Customers for Reviews
Now it’s time to ask your customers for reviews. You might be surprised by how many people are excited to be able to leave a review.
You’ll want to make sure that you’re targeting satisfied customers. For that reason, it makes sense for you to ask your most loyal customers if they’d take the time to leave a review. Look for people who have bought from you over and over again.
You’ll also want to personalize the ask. Don’t generically ask your biggest fans to “leave a review.” Instead, point out that you know they love shopping at your store or buying a particular product.
Then ask if they’d be willing to share the love. Chances are they’ll be excited to share the great shopping experience or their favorite product with friends and family.
3. Respond to Reviews
Of course, you shouldn’t cultivate only positive reviews. Many companies don’t ask for reviews because they don’t want to deal with negative feedback. Negative reviews may look bad, but they can help you build customer trust.
How? You should always respond to reviews. That includes both positive and negative reviews.
If you only respond to positive reviews, people may think you’re ignoring negative reviews. Negative reviews can be tough to swallow, but they give you an opportunity to set things right for an upset customer.
They also give you a chance to show off your customer service skills. Customers who never see you deal with any negativity may be suspicious. When you respond to a negative review, you show them how far you’re willing to go to make it right for your customers!
4. Share Positive Reviews
As much as you should respond to every review, you may not want to share every review you get. Instead, focus on sharing the positive ones.
Sharing reviews gives you content for your social media feeds. It also gives your customers extra exposure to other people who may be interested in what they have to say. It can be win-win, as you get more feedback and your customers gain more followers.
5. Make Customer Reviews Easy
One of the reasons you wanted to set up reviews on different platforms was to make it easy for your customers. One person may not be familiar with Google My Business, but they use Facebook all the time. Another customer might want to review directly on your website.
You can also offer guidance on how simple reviews can be. Give customers guidelines about how to structure their review. It might be as simple as giving a star rating and writing a couple of sentences.
The simpler you can make leaving a review, the more likely you are to get them.
6. Say Thank You
You should always thank customers who take the time to leave online reviews. This can be as simple as thanking them on Facebook or sending them an automated email when they leave you a review.
You can also offer customers some incentives for reviewing. You might want to consider a contest, with reviewing as one of the conditions for entering. Customers can leave a review and fulfill other requirements to be entered into a draw.
You might offer a discount coupon if they fill out a review or a survey as well.
Do keep in mind that incentivizing reviews is a gray area. You can’t pay people directly for reviews. Offering a prize or a discount may be considered indirect payment in some places.
If you’re unsure, then stick with an old-fashioned “thank you.”
7. Reviews Are All about Timing
Another tip to keep in mind is that getting reviews is often all about timing. Asking a customer to review when they buy a product, before it’s even arrived in their hands, is often a misstep.
Why? The customer doesn’t want to review until they’ve had a chance to test out the product. By the time they have, though, they’ve forgotten entirely about leaving a review.
Instead, think about when you ask for reviews. Follow up with a customer after you know they’ve received their purchase. If you did ask them to leave a review at check-out, then send them a follow-up a week or two later.
This will help you get more reviews.
8. Do Good Work
It should go without saying that if you want more customer reviews, then you should do some review-worthy work.
Of course, it can be difficult to get people to leave reviews even if you’re doing a fantastic job. People are often more apt to talk about the negative than the positive.
Still, you might be surprised by how much offering fantastic customer support makes people want to leave a review. If they had a truly great experience, then chances are they’re going to want to tell everyone.
Keep in mind that some customers will still need some incentive to leave a public review for your business. This includes your most loyal customers. They may be willing to talk you up in private conversation, but they may not think about leaving a review for other customers to see.
Emphasize how simple it is to leave a review, as well as how important it is. If you can, sweeten the pot a little. If you’re doing truly great work anyway, then your customers should be happy to leave some praise.
9. Create a Step-by-Step Process
If this sounds like a lot to keep track of, don’t fret. A review process is the simplest way to keep track of each step.
By creating a review process, you can outline everything from the ask to the follow-up to response times for your reviews. You can also create policies about how to deal with negative reviews, when to share positive reviews, and more.
The review process lets you track every step along the way. That way, you can be sure you’re following up in a timely manner or even asking the right people to review.
List platforms like ReviewMaster or any reviewing tools you use in your process as well. This way, you can keep track of who has reviewed and where they left their review. You can also make notes about cross-platform sharing and more.
10. Assess and Tweak Your Process
Using the right tools will also give insight into how well your process is working. Are you getting some reviews, but not as many as you’d hoped for? It might be time to revise your process.
Use data collected from your tools to determine what’s working and what’s not. You might not be asking the right customers, or you may be asking at the wrong time. Some people might just need a bit more incentive to leave you a glowing review.
By making adjustments to your review process, you’ll be able to improve on it and get even more reviews.
Reviews Can Power Your Business Marketing
Customer reviews are essential to online marketing in this day and age. Not only do search engines love them but people use reviews to help them make great buying decisions every day. If you haven’t had a review process in place, then now’s the time to create one.
Looking for more great tips and advice? You’re in the right spot! Check out our extensive archives of how-to articles, tips, and tricks.
With the right advice in hand, the only way your business is going to go is up.