This doesn’t happen automatically, though. You’ll have to work at generating those five-star ratings and glowing reviews, while also taking steps to minimize the impact of the negative comments and feedback.
Of course, it’s not actually ethical to solicit reviews from your customers. Most of the review aggregators have made that clear in their content policies and guidelines. (It’s even less ethical – and probably illegal – to “buy” good reviews of your business, or to hire someone to write fake praises.)
This doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything to generate and encourage more positive online reviews. Yes, you can! Here’s a list of ethical ways to do so:
Promote your reviews offline
Surely, you’ve been the recipient of a number of great customer feedback and praise. Make the most of these positive online reviews. Promote them in an offline setting. There are many creative ways to do so. Just check out what Kia did: in some of their dealerships’ showrooms, they printed their auto dealership reviews and summaries of review scores. These were then placed next to the actual cars – not only giving voice to their (happy) existing buyers, but also guiding the purchase decisions of potential ones.
(Check out: “Squeezing More Juice Out of a Positive Review”)
Do a blogger outreach campaign
If you’re selling products or services in a specific category, try to get these into the hands of a select number of bloggers. They’ll help you spread the word about what you’re offering, and maybe even give you valuable support and feedback. Choose your bloggers wisely, though: make sure you reach out to people with the sort of authority that your market trusts, and whose suit the general public will follow (at least as far as writing online reviews).
Change the frowns into smiles
One of your customers not happy with their experience? Don’t let the fire of their negative review spread. Put it out. Respond to the review, go out of your way to change their mind, and blow them away with your brilliant customer service. As always, you have the option to respond publicly or privately. If you choose to respond publicly, just remember to be careful about the wording in your response.
(Check out: “Encouraging Positive Reviews”)
Improve Wi-Fi, phone service
It’s easy for people to give a hotel a bad review for its spotty Wi-Fi, or rate some local business with a single star because of its crappy customer phone service. Things like this – your quality of services and facilities – should be addressed and enhanced in order to make it harder for customers to give you a bad review. On Hold Company CEO Bryant Wilson says: “If I’m already unhappy, a bad phone call just adds fuel to the fire. (And) if I’m already at my computer, Yelp is just a click away.”
Create deals and specials
Special promotions can do more than just attract new customers to your business; they can also generate more positive reviews from customers who are already in your location. Why? Because people like pleasant surprises. If you make them happy, they won’t be reluctant to post reviews and spread the word about you.