Here are reasons why you should get online reviews from your customers.
- Reviews help your business rank higher in Google.
- Reviews really stand out in search engines due to their graphical representation.
- Almost 8 in 10 costumers read online reviews before they choose a local business.
- Positive online reviews are by far the best way to influence new customers.
- 88% of customers say they trust online reviews from strangers as much as recommendations from their friends and family.
- Ultimately, it will increase your profit margins.
So, if your business doesn’t have any golden stars yet, then it’s time for you to collect some.
Start with the biggest online review providers
There are many online review providers but when it comes to local business reviews, Google is one of the major players.
- Open a browser window and head over to google.com.
- In the search box, type a local query, for example, “beauty salon in Lagos”.
- Since this is a very localized search, Google displays its “local pack” result which includes a map and 3 local businesses.
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Whenever available, Google will display for each business, the average rating, the number of stars and the number of reviews customers have posted.
In an example of two businesses, one with a star rating of 4.3 while the other has 3.8, which one would you click on? Needless to say that the listings with higher star ratings really stick out. This type of behaviour has become extremely common when consumers are searching for local businesses. Since Google is still and will be, the main search engine for the foreseeable future, you cannot ignore it.
Having those coveted stars right below your listing will certainly fill prospective customers with confidence. First thing you’ll need to do is to create a ‘Google my business profile’. Once done, you will have to encourage your customers to leave reviews about your business.
Get reviews from your customers
Let’s start with two golden rules if you want to get golden stars.
- “PROVIDE EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE”. Sounds obvious? Not for everyone. People will be naturally inclined to post a review if you’re nice to them.
- “DO NOT INCENTIVISE OR PAY TO GET REVIEWS”.
- OK, the next thing you need to do is to make it easy for your customers to leave reviews.
How to make it easy for customers to leave reviews?
- Set up a page on your site that is dedicated to reviews with links to your chosen review sites. (Google must be part of your list along with another couple of other sites). Your link should look like mywebsite.com/reviews.
- You can now start encouraging people to visit your newly created page. Add a “see what they say” or “Customer feedback” link across your web pages.
- Add the mywebsite.com/reviews link to all of your email communications as it will get picked up along the way.
- Hand out a “thank you for your visit or thank you for your purchase” card to your customers where you can also feature the link.
- Post your link on your stationery such as business cards.
- Automatically generate the link to your invoices or receipt.
- If you send a monthly newsletter don’t forget to add your review link on it.
- If you have some loyal customers simply ask them to post some feedback either via email or by phone. (always check guidelines from the review sites you have chosen to use)
If you use these techniques, you will definitely start seeing reviews being posted in no time and hopefully, get those little stars in Google but don’t rub your hands so quickly as not everyone will give you a 5-star rating. You need to manage your reviews.
Manage your reviews
Ok let’s face it, you can’t please everyone and you will get some bad reviews… and that’s fine since only good reviews would look entrusting.
So what do you need to do?
- Address and own the issue as quickly as possible, it will show you care and you are willing to fix the problem.
- Make sure your response is well written with no spelling or grammatical error and in a professional manner.
- Describe what you are doing to fix the problem so it will not happen to future customers
- Do not use pre-written answers, make it personal. Make sure your replies are honest and genuine.
- You may sometimes come across some customers who just simply want to pick a battle no matter what. In this case, do the best you can, and if your best is not enough you may have to let it go.
- Do take the time to respond to some positive reviews too and thank some customers for their feedback and their custom. It will help build rapport with your client base.
Getting online reviews is not a one-off marketing tactic but a continuous effort. As in real life, you would want permanent satisfied clients and not just for a few weeks. Allocate a regular slot in your schedule to see what your customers are saying about you and encourage them to post some positive reviews. You won’t regret it and it will certainly help put your business on the map.