How to Get More (and better) Online Reviews:
It is a fact that the vast majority of consumers go online to find the local goods and services that they need. It is more important than ever for a local service business or brick and mortar location to have a very visible online presence. But once a potential customer has found you online you literally have just seconds to capture their attention. If your prospect has true buyer intent one of the things that they will be looking for is your reviews. A buyer wants to know if you are the right choice for them and if you are likely to be the best solution to their problem.
Your Online Reputation is More Important Than Ever
Numerous consumer surveys have proven that 85%+ of consumers read online reviews. Of that group up to 91% trust online reviews as much as a personal referral. As a business owner if you consider that 97% of consumers use the internet to find local goods and services that they require and 85% or more read and react to online reviews it is critical for a business to closely monitor and cultivate their online reputation.
Make It Simple To Leave a Good Review
Before prospects even land on your website make sure your business is found and has positive reviews on all the major review sites. For most businesses that would include Yelp, Facebook, and Google. Some niches have sites more specific to their specific business that must be covered. Have clickable icons on your website to Facebook, Yelp, and Google review links. Encourage your customers or clients to leave you a review. Make sure that you regularly monitor your reviews online.
Make it as simple as possible for your clients to leave a review. Remember many have never “done” an online review. There are software options available that can make the process very simple. However you choose to collect reviews consider the process from your customers point of view and remove every obstacle.
Optimize your website for mobile traffic. More online searches are done on portable devices than on desktop and the gap is widening.
Have A Process
Your business should have a standard process for collecting reviews. Always ask customers about their experience and their level of satisfaction. When they express contentment ask for a review. Have a process that is simple and straight forward for the customer to leave the review.
It is prudent to have a short discussion with the customer about the review. It is much more productive for your Google ratings and for other potential clients if reviews are specific to certain products or services. Reviews with “keywords” help Google consider you more credible.
Always Respond To Every Review – Especially Negative Reviews
It is just common courtesy to respond to a review. Other potential customers will think more favorably of your professionalism as they see that you read and respond to each review. It is especially important to respond to negative reviews. We all understand that no one and no business is perfect. Sometimes things don’t go well. Respond professionally and thoughtfully. Acknowledge the complaint. If possible offer a solution or compensation, not excuses.
A study by Harvard Business Review found that businesses responding to negative reviews resulted in better overall ratings. Understand that behind that negative experience is an opportunity to build a stronger customer focused business and stronger customer relationships.
Focus on Building Your Online Reputation – Leverage That Reputation
Make it a professional goal to have your business collect more and better reviews than anyone else in your market. Dominate with your online reputation and you will definitely reap the rewards. Build that reputation then leverage it at every turn. Encourage prospects to research your 5 star reviews. Use you domination in print ads, radio or any other advertising that you do. Consumers researching your business will want to know that you have the best reputation in town for taking care of your customers or clients.