8 Techniques To Get More Customer Reviews For Your Local Business. Online reviews are the best way to influence purchasing decisions in today’s internet age. It’s not surprising, is it?
These insights are authentic and truthful, which is something no marketing campaign can match.
The modern equivalent of the all-important word of mouth, customer reviews can make or break the reputation of a local business – and make a huge impact on sales numbers.
You still have questions about reviews and their importance for small businesses. Below are the key facts about online reviews:
- More than 99.9% people review products they purchase online at least once a month.
- Positive reviews were cited by 91% of customers as a reason for them to be more inclined to recommend a company.
- Online reviews are trusted by 79% more people than personal recommendations.
- Only 13% people will consider using businesses with two-star ratings or lower.
Online reviews provide social proof of the quality of your offering, establish your expertise, and build trust – which makes it extremely important for local businesses to have as many positive ones as possible.
There are eight methods you can employ to get reviews on your local business.
1. Collect Email Addresses During Billing
Asking for the customer’s email address and phone number at the time of purchase is a big step toward landing a review from them.
Most people will share contact information with businesses if they had a positive experience. They are more likely to recommend the business to others.
Send a friend a reminder after one week to get their email address and request that they write a review of their experience with you business.
Important: Review and always follow all the official instructions from the review platform regarding the soliciting of reviews.
2. For reviews, use in-store placards
Local businesses with brick-and-mortar stores can make use of in-store signage to encourage reviews. You can use banners and flyers as well as brochures or window stickers.
An option is to include a request for review at the bottom or on top of your bill receipts.
You can also have an app for your kiosk that directs customers to the website of your business.
You can also scan a QR code to access a list with links to review profiles that allows them to select the review platform they want to use to post a review.
This is a clear signal to your customers that you value their feedback and are interested in improving your service.
3. Verbally Mention How Much You’d Appreciate Honest Feedback
Your employees should be trained to give honest feedback, even if customers seem satisfied.
This tactic won’t be effective if there’s a line of customers and the person at the counter keeps repeating the same “Please review us” message to everyone.
But when the time (and rapport) is right, a friendly staff member should be authorized to use their judgment to say, “It’d be great if you’d consider dropping a review about <business name>.”
A request to review in this instance will be more heartfelt than pushy.
Remember that the same applies for both online/phone support and staff in-store.
4. Get Incentives on Future Purchases
Your most loyal customers will be already telling their friends about you brand. Others may just need to be pushed to write reviews.
In return for reviews, you can offer discounts or coupons to your customers.
Be aware Google is against fake reviews it considers ingenuine.
That’s not to say you can’t offer incentives – you just can’t offer incentives for positive reviews.
So long as you’re giving the two-star reviewer the same coupon as the five-star writer, you stay within the guidelines.
5. Include Review Reminders On Your Website
Your chances of getting more reviews are higher if you make it easy for customers to write reviews. It sounds obvious, yet so many businesses aren’t making any effort to simplify the review writing process for their customers.
You see, most people don’t leave a review because they don’t want to spend time “learning” how to do so.
Even if they know how to, it’s just viewed as an unnecessary tedious process that they can’t be bothered with.
Your customers should feel as comfortable as possible leaving valuable feedback.
Make sure you use pop-ups or call-to action buttons (but not in an irritating way) to direct visitors to your Yelp profile review page.
You might consider using direct link generator tools like Supple You can generate an unique Google review link to your business, and then send it via email to your customers.
Customers can click on the link to go directly to your URL in Google Business Profile. There they will be able to write a review and then post it.
Don’t expect your customers to follow an elaborate path for writing reviews, as it’s highly unlikely they’d do that.
6. Leverage Social Media
You can use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to post specific questions regarding your business’s performance.
Followers who are interested can follow the instructions to write a review using their preferred review platform.
You might ask customers to tell you if there is an old menu item they miss. Then, you could encourage customers to mention that in their review as a “vote” for bringing it back.
This allows customers to post fun stories as reviews and boosts your social media engagement.
7. You should thoughtfully respond to all reviews
No matter how busy you are, it’s your duty to respond if someone takes the time to review your business.
And, while it’s always advisable to avoid sounding robotic as a brand, even a simple, timely “thank you” can encourage customers to stick around with your business.
Also, you should personalize your reply and make it unique.
When people see that you respond to every review – good or bad – it gives the impression that the business truly cares about consumer sentiment, thus providing an incentive for new customers to take a moment to share their own experiences.
Also, don’t feel dejected by negative reviews – they help make your brand more authentic.
If all the reviews are sunshine and rainbows, there’s almost always something fishy. These reviews would be questioned by many.
These are the guidelines you should follow to respond to any negative reviews
- You must respond as fast as you possibly can.
- Recognize your error.
- Be polite and explain your view.
- Write a meaningful and personal apology (even if you think it’s not your fault).
- Provide immediate relief or compensation (such a refund, voucher etc.).
- Ask to resolve the issue offline, if necessary.
Use bad reviews as an opportunity to improve your business and show that you care about your customers’ satisfaction.
Retrace your steps and address the root problem.
Basically, respond to all reviews with a positive attitude.
8. Enjoy a great experience that will delight your customers
Your customers’ in-store experience is pivotal to the amount and quality of reviews you’ll receive.
If a customer is awestruck with your product, service, or the experience they had, they’ll feel obliged to leave a review.
It is crucial to please customers and surpass their expectations in order to generate better reviews.
You can be sure that your efforts to provide the best customer experience will result in a positive outcome.
Get reviews for your business
If you’ve already been soliciting, monitoring, and responding to your reviews, congratulations! You’re ahead of the game. If you haven’t, there’s no better time to start than right now.
First, find out what customers have to say about you. This means looking at the most popular review sites.
Google Business Profile and Yelp are important online for almost every company.
Your industry may require you to maintain specific review sites.
Capterra, for instance, is well-known in software reviews, while TripAdvisor tracks hotel experiences.
For a detailed explanation of how to find reviews for your local business, be sure to read Matt Southern’s piece here.
Online reviews can change your business trajectory
Online reviews are a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening with your business, gather feedback, and expand your customer base.
This is true for both good and poor ones.
Customers will be impressed by your reviews and decide to do business with them.
You have the opportunity to accept responsibility, address your shortcomings and transform negative experiences into something positive.
Online reviews are vital for any business’s success, particularly on a local level.
By describing actual interactions with your business, they give potential and current customers insight into your operation and provide an authenticity you can’t find anywhere else.