How to Get Great Online Customer Reviews
I’d like to begin this post with a real-life example of how not having positive customer reviews easily available to the public can be detrimental to your business:
I went to an auto mechanic shop this past weekend, and was astounded by the professionalism and great customer service I witnessed there. What’s more, I had been intrigued by this business because I could see from looking at their website that they had dabbled in SEO a bit. Imagine my surprise, however, when I got onto their Google+ page to look at reviews of their business and saw only two, which while positive were slightly underwhelming. “How many people have been missing out on this place because they have no customer reviews?” I wondered. The answer is, likely, many.
If you have a business that you believe customers are very satisfied with, don’t miss out on the chance to earn some great customer reviews!
Do Reviews Really Influence Customer Decisions?
In short – yes. Studies have shown that many potential customers will read online reviews about a business’s products or services before committing to a buy. In a 2013 study conducted by Dimensional Research, it was discovered that 90% of the study’s more than 1,000 participants were influenced by positive reviews when making buying decisions. Conversely, about 86% of participants said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews.
Given this information, you can see that it is important to not only make sure that your online reviews are easy to find, but also that many of those reviews are positive. In fact, having many positive customer reviews associated with your website has the potential to not only assist your customers in their buying decisions, but to also improve your search engine rankings.
But how can you solicit more positive reviews from customers without infringing on their personal space? Think of asking for reviews like playing a sport: there are offensive and defensive measures you can take to get more positive reviews out of your customers.
Proactive (Offensive) Requests for Reviews
In an attempt to get the highest volume of reviews from your customers, you’ll likely try a proactive approach. This is an offensive move because you create the initial interaction to gain the review. You’ll reach out to all customers who engage in some kind of valuable conversion on your website. Every time a customer completes a macro or micro conversion on your site, ask them to take one minute of their time to write a sentence or two about their experience with your business. Customers can easily submit their reviews to Google+, Yelp or Foursquare.
The only downside to proactive review requests is that you don’t know for sure that every customer has had a positive experience on your website. Thus, you may end up looking at some negative reviews associated with your business. However, this isn’t all bad.
If the majority of your customers are very satisfied with their experiences, your rankings shouldn’t suffer as the result of one or two negative reviews. However, if you have very few reviews on your site, these negative comments may carry more weight with customers and Google alike. The key is to ensure that your reviews are of both high quantity and high quality. This is where your defensive review solicitations come into play.
Reactive (Defensive) Requests for Reviews
A good way to get the best quality reviews for your website and business is to reach out to people who you already know will provide good feedback to potential customers. This is a defensive move because the customer creates the initial interaction and you simply play off of it.
If you get an email saying that a customer loved your product, encourage that customer to share their opinion and experience on your Google+ page. If your reputation management team sees that people are saying great things about your business on Facebook, reach out to a few of those people and ask them to write a brief review for Yelp or Foursquare.
Another commonly overlooked reactive method for gaining positive online reviews is to solicit them from satisfied customers who come to your brick-and-mortar location. If someone tells your cashier that she loves the winter fashions your retail store provides, make sure the cashier knows to point the customer toward your Google+ page. Methods like this one can be highly lucrative in terms of gaining reviews because you have the opportunity to speak face-to-face with the customers and tell them how valuable their opinions are to your business.
Do you have another great idea for gaining positive reviews online? Tell me in the comments section below!