The Internet is a delicate but powerful thing. Especially for a business. Powerful, because a single bad review may be enough to drive dozens, even hundreds, of customers away. Delicate, because – while it would be nice to be able to ask happy customers about writing positive reviews – you still don’t want to appear too pushy about it, or too aggressive, or too insecure of your online reputation.
We understand. It is kind of tricky to solicit reviews. (Which Yelp doesn’t want you to do anyway.) But that doesn’t mean you have no way of letting your customers know about your presence on Yelp, Google+ Local, Foursquare, and other relevant review sites. And it doesn’t mean you can’t enhance your online review management efforts by trying to generate good reviews to counter the impact of the bad.
You just have to find creative ways of getting the job done, while also minimizing the risk of being penalized by review sites for review solicitation. To help you get started, we here at ReviewTrackers came up with this list of great tips that will help you encourage positive reviews… without actually asking for them.
Drive awareness. Doing review monitoring work but not getting the desired results? Well, maybe it’s because your customers don’t even know that you’re on Yelp or Google+ Local or TripAdvisor or their review site of choice.
So let them know. Make yourself be found online more easily. Post a “Find Us On (Review Site)” message on your Facebook and Twitter profiles. Embed a badge or widget on your website or blog. Add a Yelp or TripAdvisor signage in the physical check-in or check-out area of your business location. Edit your E-mail signature to include links to your pages and review site profiles. Be creative. If you can engage existing and potential customers well enough to make them look your business up on their favorite review sites – without making them feel as though you’re using them as some sort of promotional vehicle or brand ambassador – then you’re doing a great job.
Post check-in offers. A great way to entice customers to visit your establishment – and post a positive review afterwards – is to offer irresistible check-in deals. Sites like TripAdvisor, Foursquare, and Yelp (among many others) allow you to do this easily. Just make sure you create deals that are worth checking out, because if they are you can be sure that your customers won’t hesitate to spread the good word to their friends and social and mobile networks.
Use ReviewTrackers’ feedback request tool. The ReviewTrackers software platform features an intelligent feedback request tool that allows you to measure customer sentiment with a quick survey before requesting them to leave a review. That way, you can generate great reviews from your happiest customers, while also having the ability to collect candid feedback from those who didn’t necessarily have the most positive experience transacting with your business. The key is identifying and engaging with the paying customers who will recommend you – and learning from those who won’t – which is exactly what the tool is designed to do.
Promote your business offline. Sure, everyone’s searching, reading, and writing reviews online, but don’t think that what you do on traditional offline channels have little impact on the Web. Like what we said in a previous post, “5 Fantastic Offline Tips for Generating Positive Online Reviews,” your online review management can benefit greatly from offline work. Things like offering free Wi-Fi, engaging with journalists, and joining events and meet-ups can go a long way in building your reputation – and in encouraging customers to write glowing reviews of your business.
Conduct a survey. Don’t want to sound too solicitous? Instead of asking for reviews, conduct feedback-generating surveys. Ideally, this would be an online survey, which will allow you to easily gather data from customers, learn new insights, and come up with great ideas for serving people better.
A survey also encourages engagement, especially if conducted on a social network like Facebook. Hopefully, after giving their feedback, respondents will be moved to provide additional comments and reviews. In any event, they’ll definitely appreciate the fact that you value customer feedback, and that your business is ready and willing to listen to whatever they have to say.