Best Practices for Getting Reviews
In today’s digital world, receiving positive, descriptive reviews is a necessity for any business. Online reviews are more than just a medium for customers to express themselves; they play a critical role in generating buzz and allow your product or service offerings to become known to new customer segments. More importantly, we have seen that Google Business Profile (GBP) reviews affect local rankings.
Local rankings are affected by online reviews in two critical ways. The first is that a large amount of positive reviews helps a business stand out online and signals to search engines that customers find their content authoritative and relevant, permitting them to rank above the local competition. The second is that reviews posted on major review sites, such as Yelp, help increase visibility to new consumers using different sites and apps.
While the hope is that satisfied customers take it upon themselves to share their experience as a public review, there are tactics that can be implemented to help your business encourage customers to take action and leave reviews.
Cultivating an Effective Strategic Mix
One of the most basic practices for getting reviews is to simply ask your customer for one. This may seem straightforward, but in most cases, customers won’t mind if asked correctly. The most important aspect to consider to increase your chances of success is timing. If you decide to ask your customer, combine the request with a type of follow-up that is sent a few days after the transaction such as an email or text. This shows the customer you are still keeping them in mind and value their opinion. A strong follow-up message includes the following elements:
- Introduction with a personalized greeting
- Brief sentence thanking the customer for their business
- Information and contact numbers for support or questions
- Request to fill out a review and why it’s important to your business
The most common way this is achieved is through email. An email is a great way to express to your client or consumer your appreciation for them using your product or service along with a link to write a review. The link provided to customers can also be altered so that the review is posted directly to the GBP to help with your local rankings.
Another effective practice is to make the process of “giving a review” as simple as possible for the customer. If giving a review requires navigating multiple pages of a website or going through multiple forms, the customer will likely become frustrated. If customers see the process as quick and easy, they are more likely to engage. There are several ways to simplify the review process including:
- Creating specialized links for easy access
- Having guided questions to help with writing
- Explaining why the reviews are so important
- Using well-known review platforms (Ex: Yelp or Google Reviews)
Choosing Strategies Based on Relevance
One practice applicable to well-developed or reputable businesses is to use past reviews to help encourage new ones. Take advantage of prior reviews you have received and include snippets of them alongside your email requests or on your website. Customers may see these reviews and want to give their own opinion if they find others had similar experiences. Creating a “review community,” so to speak, will only benefit your business if everyone is interacting and talking about how you have helped them.
There is no single strategy that will automatically work to get reviews, which is why your business should combine various strategies to see what works best. It is critical that you pay attention to how customers respond and adjust based on what is observed.