There’s one thing Amazon really gets right: customer reviews. They help customers decide whether they want to buy a product or not. In short, they help Amazon close sales. Whether you’re selling a product or a service, there really is no debate that online customer reviews are important.
A 2015 survey found that 97% of consumers aged 18-34 read online reviews to judge a local business. People want to know what others have had to say about your brand and company. So how do you get your customers to give you a review?
1. Set up your profiles
Consider all the sites that are relevant to your business, whether that’s TripAdvisor, Yelp, Angie’s List, Google+, LinkedIn, or an industry specific site. Set up profiles on multiple review sites. And have a place on your website for reviews, too. Aside from the SEO benefits, customer reviews form valuable content on a website.
2. Ask for it
Seems simple, right? But you’d be amazed at how few businesses actually ask customers for a review. Ask for a review via your website, email or calling them on the telephone. Add a note to invoices or receipts asking customers to leave a review, or include a review link in your standard email signature. And, of course, there’s Facebook. Don’t be scared of possible negative reviews (see point 4 below).
Here are some tips when asking for a review:
- Personalize your request by mentioning the customer by name
- Tell them how much you value their input (“…your review is important to us”)…
- …and how it will help other people (“…help others make informed decisions”).
Make review requests part of your company’s procedures and methodology.
3. Make it easy
Unless your customer has a complaint to share, the average person won’t be searching for ways to leave a review. That’s why you need to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Provide customers with links and step-by-step instructions on how to post reviews. Also put direct links to your review profiles (see point 1) in multiple places – a follow-up email, a newsletter and your website, of course.
Be sure to not bog the customer down with multiple steps and details, or else you could lose them. A simple review process leads to more customer reviews.
4. Respond to reviews
When you get a negative review, respond promptly in public and solve the problem. This shows that you are listening and engaged which will often encourage more feedback. Depending on the issue, it may be wise take your conversation offline via email or phone. Then, if you resolve the matter, leave a brief comment in the public timeline.
Got a positive review? Be sure to say thank you.
5. Incentivize (but don’t buy) reviews
Offering a small incentive is a good way to prompt someone to leave a review. But make sure your offer is for writing a review, not for writing a good review! Monthly giveaways, where one reviewer is chosen randomly, are effective in encouraging reviews without any semblance of a transaction taking place.