In today’s digitally tethered society, businesses depend on accumulating client reviews online as a means of demonstrating that they can be trusted, inevitably driving traffic and sales. However, encouraging clients to write reviews in the first place can be a frustrating process. That being said, there are several ways you can encourage a higher review count, greater client trust, and a supercharged reputation in one fell swoop. Let’s take a look:
1. Consistent social media communication
Appropriately addressing issues and complaints raised in comments is critical. Doing so will convey to page visitors and followers that you take things seriously and respect clients… but it shouldn’t stop there. Always strive to provide accurate, concise, and clear contact information as well as a heartfelt apology for any mistakes on behalf of your business. Then, be attentive and openly work with complainants to make it right. It is important to not worry about whose fault it is, but rather how to professionally rectify the issue from a neutral perspective. It is crucial to word each response uniquely and not sound robotic, or it will appear as if you only care about your reputation rather than the happiness of the complainant in question. An organic, considerate, and authentic approach on your social media channels will encourage feedback by making people feel comfortable about providing their own.
Additionally, sharing positive moments involving customers or local events (charity functions attended by clients, honest heart-warming success stories, etc.) will also benefit the overall image of your business. Web users will see that your business genuinely respects clients and those in the community, and they may feel inclined to opt for your products or services as opposed to those of the “stiffer” competition. This potential spike in business could bring in more reviews, and if you’ve combined such an approach with tangible proof of your respect for the public, it will be even more effective in due time.
2. Consider Google as a Yelp alternative
While many businesses encourage reviewing via Yelp, it is not recommended to do this due to its spam filters. While seasoned Yelpers leaving dozens of reviews aren’t going to be affected by this, casual first-time reviewers are often frustrated by its filtering process that can bury or altogether remove their carefully written reviews of your business (and chances are that they won’t want to spend time writing another one). It also doesn’t help that some businesses choose to pay for falsified reviews in order to drive income and create a specific impression of their products or services – simply put, you need to do better than this. While we aren’t suggesting that you avoid Yelp entirely, it would be best to not rely too heavily on it for review generation by clients. There are some fantastic alternatives out there, such as opting for Google reviews that show up when users search for your business on Google Maps. This is more effective at encouraging client traffic and, in turn, more reviews.
3. Follow up with satisfied clients
Once a client is satisfied with whatever your business may provide, it’s generally a good idea to thank them for their patronage and politely encourage them to leave a review – just be sure not to push, whatever you do. Successfully implementing this approach will demonstrate that you value authentic input and want to build a successful business with client guidance as its foundation. Business cards, flyers, and most other handouts are perfectly suitable for this practice. Be sure to word such text carefully to remain consistently appreciative and professional, and provide appropriate directions to where they can write their review online.
In addition, an automatic email message for every online order is a golden opportunity to encourage client reviews. Many sellers on eBay and similar web-based retailers rely on this for feedback, and it generally works like a charm. When first composing such an email, always thank clients for their business and state that their input via a review is highly appreciated if they happen to have a few moments. Be sure to provide appropriate web links that have been tested to ensure they work, and avoid forcing the customer’s hand or outright requesting a review, as you could inadvertently influence them to cast your business in an unfavourable light. Be sure to include contact information so their concerns or questions, if any, can be addressed, which could lead to a sale and even another review for your collection.
4. Incorporate a page for testimonials
Instead of merely relying on an external archive of reviews, why not host them on the website of your business? Creating a page dedicated to client reviews and/or testimonials is a highly effective way of illustrating the importance of consumer trust in your products or services. It shows that you stand with your customers rather than in front of your brand image as a human shield. Curious browsers unfamiliar with your business and its reputation may feel more comfortable upon seeing even just the link to such a page (so put it in plain sight and make sure it works). As a result, not only could you potentially receive more clients, but also more feedback in the long run that can help your business gain more traffic.
To encourage this further, create a review form and embed it on the reviews/testimonials page so that users instantly see it. The less your clients need to dig, the easier and more organic it will feel for them to jot down a review of your business. Additionally, making a social media post welcoming client reviews, linking the new web page, and pinning it to the top of your public pages will enhance the effectiveness of this approach.
By demonstrating clear respect for clients, you are positioning your business as a professional and communicative body that values honest input and intends to build with it, not against it. With these methods in mind, it should be easier than ever to accumulate client reviews of your business online.