One of the best ways to build a winning online reputation and attract new customers is to get more five-star reviews. After all, online reviews are one of the biggest factors influencing consumer behavior today. Great reviews also foster goodwill, and they can make a positive impact on a business’ search performance.
If your organization doesn’t yet have a strategy for generating new and positive reviews, check out these tips to help you get started.
Know which review sites you can do it for
Some review sites – like Yelp, for example – frown upon review requests and don’t really allow you to ask customers for consumer feedback and have them post it on the site. But some review sites and platforms – like TripAdvisor or Demandforce – encourage you to be proactive in building your reviews. So, before you begin to send out review requests, read review sites’ content guidelines and make sure that you are going to be rewarded – instead of penalized – for asking for reviews.
Make your customers happy
The easiest way to generate new reviews with five-star ratings is to consistently deliver excellent levels of service. If you have customers who are not satisfied or happy with their experience – and are therefore likely to post negative reviews instead of positive – then make a point to reach out and identify and address issues.
We’ve touched on this in a previous blog post: if you’re asking customers to provide a review of your business, don’t give incentives or rewards of any kind. This might put off your happiest customers, who’ll probably do it for free anyway. And you don’t want regulators coming after you. Great reviews qualify as endorsements, and according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), if there’s any form of incentive or compensation or close relationship between the individual customer giving the endorsement and the business receiving it, then this should be made explicit.
Use E-mail tools
Do you collect customer E-mail addresses at key transaction points? If not, then we suggest you begin doing that. E-mail is one of the most effective customer feedback tools today, and here at ReviewTrackers, we’ve even developed a tool for helping businesses request feedback and reviews via E-mail. Or you can integrate your review requests into your monthly newsletters. If you’re sending a message to a happy customer, make sure you add a link that will direct them to your business page on the review site where you’d like them to share their experience.
Claim and manage your profiles on review sites
Part of building a winning reputation is being able to listen to and manage what customers are saying about you. If you’re implementing strategies and using customer feedback tools to generate new reviews, then you must also have a system in place for tracking, analyzing, managing, and responding to those reviews. Think of all the review sites that are important to you and your customers – then claim your listing on those sites.
Make it easy
Not all your satisfied customers are going to post a review just because they’ve been asked to. First, you have to make it easy for them: make sure that the links to your review profiles are there, along with a message that describes what exactly you’re hoping they could do. Be direct; don’t be shy about asking.
For example, you can say something like, “Can we ask you to share your experience with us on TripAdvisor? It’s the world’s biggest travel site, and since our resort just opened, we’d really appreciate if you could help spread the word about our resort. It would mean so much to all of us here.”
Time it right, and don’t procrastinate
The best time to ask for reviews is immediately after the purchase or the transaction. That way, whatever consumer feedback you get will accurately reflect the actual customer experience – without the passage of time blurring some of the important details.
Also, be aware of recent research indicating that weekends are not necessarily the best time to request customers to leave reviews. The most positive consumer feedback is generated on weekdays. Meanwhile, if you’re managing an automotive business, keep in mind that weekdays, from 10 AM to 4 PM, are the times when most reviews are generated.
Say thank you
Always take the time to show your appreciation to customers who responded to your feedback and posted online reviews. Again, it’s not recommended that you “incentivize,” but a simple thank you note will go a long way in demonstrating that yours is a business that cares about and values customer feedback.