Before online reputations, word of mouth was the best form of advertising. This idea still stands, but instead of word of mouth, it’s now all about Google reviews. Today, customers have it easy. They can confidently choose a new product or service by simply reading what others have experienced.
Online reviews can be a gold mine for your company because they provide a stepping stone for new customers to choose you. However, without enough Google reviews, you won’t have that all-important connection that goes from search to sale. Here we explain how your small business can get more Google reviews by simply asking your happy customers for them.
The Importance of Customer Reviews
Many small businesses have a love/hate relationship with Google reviews. While good reviews boost business it just takes one unhappy customer to keep people from choosing you. Customers today trust online recommendations from strangers as much as they do from friends and family. If you don’t have a respectable amount of online reviews, you miss an opportunity to instantly send new customers your way. Reviews are free advertising trusted by customers because they are authentic. Here are some statistics about customer decisions and reviews:
- 85% of customers trust online reviews
- 60% of consumers believe customer reviews are trustworthy
- 73% of customers trust a business more based on online reviews
- 57% of customers visit a company's website after reading positive reviews
There is another element to customer reviews: SEO. Google uses reviews to help decide who they place at the top of the local pack. They view reviews as a nod to trusted companies, and Google is all about improving user experience. The better your ranking and the more positive your reviews, the better chance you’ll appear in those highly desirable three top-ranked local slots.
Why You Should Ask for Customer Reviews
The truth is happy customers are willing to provide a review. In fact, 70% of customers asked to leave a review are happy to oblige, while 74% did so. While it might seem intimidating to ask for reviews, today this is commonplace and people don’t find it in the least bit awkward. The trick is knowing how to do it right.
The Art of Asking for Reviews
That brings us to asking for a review. Here are tricks of the trade that ensure you get those reviews:
Time it Right
Timing is everything when it comes to asking for customer reviews. Imagine the disastrous results of asking for a review just as your sales team drops the ball. It would not be pretty. Instead, think of the customer journey to ensure your product has resolved their issues and they are experiencing that sense of satisfaction. This is at the stage where they have used your product or service and have found it resolved their issue including:
- After you know they are happy with their purchase such as confirmation via a call, survey or salesperson feedback
- At the time they make a new purchase or order
- When they’ve mentioned or tagged you on social media
- You notice they are using your website to find new products
- Customer referrals
Your business will have specific cues you can use as well. You just need to be certain the customer is happy, so you aren’t risking them leaving a negative review.
Set Up a Process
Your goal is to build an ongoing supply of reviews. It’s not enough to have 100 positive but dated reviews. You have to demonstrate your service is consistent, so a two-year-old review won’t cut it. The best way to continue building momentum is to have a process in place. It begins with training your team, so they automatically think to ask for a review when they know they’ve successfully resolved a problem.
Your marketing team can help by developing an automated drip campaign following customers along their journey including a request for reviews with a convenient link. If you have an e-commerce business you can also have an auto review link at the time of purchase, although this can be a bit risky since they haven’t used the product yet. The idea is to have a formal process in place used by trained individuals who have the most contact with your customers.
Reach Out to Confirm Satisfaction
Have your sales team or customer service reps reach out to customers to confirm they are satisfied. This is a good way to nurture relationships and understand the customer experience. Face-to-face interactions over a cup of coffee work well for close relationships, but you can also reach out in different ways. The goal is to start conversations in a personal way to show customers you care and want them to be happy. Once you establish a customer has benefited from or enjoyed your product or service, let them know their opinion means a lot and ask if they could share their experience via a review. Remember 70% of customers are happy to do so when asked.
Become Hypersensitive to Customer Satisfaction
Teach your team to prick up their ears and listen for signs of happy customers. These are the moments that offer the best opportunities to ask for a review. It could be your support team, sales reps or anyone who has facetime with customers. When they experience customer satisfaction firsthand they can confidently request a review at the very moment the customer is in a positive state of mind about your brand.
Ask the Right Questions
You don’t want to come across as too pushy and just blurt out “Please give me a review!” Instead, be tactful asking open-ended questions about how they found the service, how they liked the product, or if they would use the product again. This allows you to get a feel for their sentiment about your brand.
If they have something negative to say, you not only saved yourself the embarrassment of asking for a review but also have an opportunity to ask how you can improve or resolve their issue. If they are happy, you can then confidently ask for a review. You’re also more likely to bring them back on your side if you take the time to learn more about their dissatisfaction and make a sincere effort to make things right for them.
Make It Easy
The easier it is to leave a review; the more likely people are to do it. By offering different platforms customers can choose the one they are most familiar with. Send them a link to the page where you want them to make the review, so they just have to click, type and post. Be clear about what the review is about, such as their last visit, the computer we fixed, or the purse you ordered so they know what the review is about. Provide a hint at how long it will take so it doesn’t seem like a hassle. A little comment at the end of the request such as “It will just take a few minutes to rate us.” will help encourage them to click through and complete the review.
Use Emails and Social
Get your customer service reps or sales team in the habit of reading emails with positive comments in mind. If you find someone says something like “Thanks so much for your prompt response. It was really helpful to have you ready to help.” Have them ask if they can use that comment as a testimonial on your website. The same goes for social media. Respond to positive comments with a link asking them to post it to a review platform or ask if you can add it to your testimonials.
Use the Right Wording
The wording used to ask for reviews makes a big difference. Be sure you tell customers how important their opinion is while tying it back to your business such as:
- Your support means a lot to us. Please share your experiences with a review.
- We are so glad you are happy and would love to share your experience. Please leave us a review.
- Your opinion means a lot to us. Let us know how we did with a review.
You can get creative with your wording and tie it into your brand, so it appeals to your customers. Avoid language such as saying you’ll use their reviews to improve, as this sounds more like you are asking for a complaint.
The easiest way to advertise your business is to have your customers do the hard sell. Their words mean more than any marketing tactics you construe and therefore asking for reviews should be a top priority. Formalize the process and keep it going to see your reviews grow.
Are you wondering how you can manage your reputation better? At StructureM we offer reputation management solutions catered directly to your company’s needs. Contact us today and let us help you come up with a plan!