Thursday, March 6, 2014

How to Get More Business Through Customer Reviews


In a time when anyone can go online and find out the quality and credibility of everything from hotels to restaurants to plumbers, shouldn't your business be taking online reviews more seriously? Or, maybe you do realize the importance of reviews but just can't seem to get your customers to post them. Either way, try these 5 tips to improve your business's customer review strategy:

1) Be searchable: 
Is your business listed online as much as it can be? Are you sure? To check, go to www.getlisted.org. Simply type in your business name and zip code and it will tell you what review sites your business has a presence on and which ones are missing your listing. In order to get more reviews, you gotta get listed!

2) Have testimonials on your website:
While customers may tend to find reviews on third party sites more reliable, testimonials posted on your website that seem genuine and specific can also give your business some credibility. Therefore, make it a point to dedicate a section of your website to customer testimonials.

3) Send emails asking for reviews:
Some customers may be so pleased with your service that they post a review all by themselves, but more likely, you will have to make the effort to ask them to review your business. One way to do this is to dedicate an email campaign to asking your customers to write a review. Be sure to include links to all of the available sites where they can post their review (Facebook, Yelp!, Bing). If you're still having a hard time fetching reviews, include some kind of incentive in your email campaign such as a gift certificate for one lucky customer who posts a review.

4) Get your timing right: 
Customers are most likely to respond to a request for a review during or immediately after the sale or service has taken place. With that in mind, think about sending your customers to a review page immediately after they make an online purchase or receive their item. If you conduct most of your business in person, don't be afraid to hand your customers good old-fashioned comment and review cards. As long as it's short and sweet, customers will likely be willing to take the time to fill it out and you can use their answers on your website's testimonial section! (Don't forget to ask permission).

5) Don't wait until they're already gone:
Depending on the nature of your business, the length of interaction with each customer will vary. If you will come in contact with your customer several times before the service or product is completed/delivered, introduce the concept of posting a review early on. For example, if you give any kind of literature to your customer, devote a section to the importance of reviews. If a team member makes a visit to a customer's house, he could suggest that they give him a good review if they're pleased with his work. 

If your business has a large presence on online review sites, has a testimonial section on its website, sends emails asking for reviews, asks at the right time, and gives its customers plenty of opportunities to post a review, you're on the right track to getting more good reviews and increasing your business!

What other techniques does your business use to get reviews?

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