According to a survey, 93% of consumers looked for a local business online in 2020, while 87% say they read online reviews of companies in their area before they decide to make a purchase. Additionally, HubSpot found that people trust online marketing and reviews if they can't get any recommendations from their family and friends.
This is why it's surprising that so many business owners seem to neglect either customer reviews or their online presence altogether. But in today's highly digitized world, especially during a global pandemic, the online presence can make or break the future of your company.
So, encourage your customers to write reviews. How can you ensure they will be positive? Should you even care about getting good online reviews only? Read on to find out.
You need to start by establishing your online presence. If you want to reach your customer base and make it easy for people to find you, you need to provide the necessary details.
Experts from Get Weave remind us that it goes beyond having a website (which should include a kind review reminder). For example, you will have to claim your Yelp or Google Business Page as well as those on social media and make sure to provide such information as the address, website, phone number, and location (integrated with Google Maps ideally).
All pages should also be integrated with each other and your website. This will enable your customers to find you, give them space for leaving reviews, and help you be perceived better by Google and its algorithm.
It's not often that people decide to leave positive reviews by themselves. While an angry customer is more likely to write an opinion, those satisfied with your product or service will need a little push. As such, you have to find the right time and way of asking your customers to review your business. Be careful, though, and don't rush, as nagging a person at the wrong time may result in an unjustified negative review.
You might set up an automated response that will send an email asking to leave a review to everyone who has purchased something through your website, identify customers who come back to re-order or re-purchase a product, or those who interact with you on social media. It's one of the reasons why it's beneficial to ask your customers to provide an email address while they order anything from your website or even subscribe to a newsletter.
It all depends on your industry and the nature of your business, so make sure you sacrifice enough time to get to know your audience.
There's also a lot you can do offline to get more reviews online. If you have a brick-and-mortar place, you can kindly remind your customers to leave their opinions on Google or another review site.
To do so, you might make flyers or brochures or put up a visible but not overwhelming banner at your place. A bill could include a small request at the end or even a special QR code that will direct a customer to review sites of your choice.
Make sure that you and your employees communicate this request as well - mention it during payment, say how much it will be appreciated, and thank them in advance.
As long as negative opinions don't constitute the majority of all your online reviews, you might even be able to use them to your advantage. How is that possible?
You can't please everyone, so when you ask for reviews, you are more than sure to finally receive a negative one. But it's all about how you respond. If people see that you are relatively objective and react to complaints, trying to improve the quality of your service, they will be more likely to trust you. After all, you will show yourself as someone approachable.
Not to mention that customer feedback and their constructive criticism can truly help you grow.
And while we're talking about reacting, make sure to thank your customers for positive reviews as well!
To sum up, customer reviews become almost crucial for success in today's digitized world, especially if you own a small business that only operates locally. They can help you a lot with boosting your online presence, which is necessary if you want people to find you and trust you.
Make sure your business is visible. Build a neat website and set up profiles on review sites and social media, and integrate them all. Don't be afraid of asking for reviews, but conduct a thorough research first to identify the right moment and ways to get them.
Interact with your audience - those potentially interested in buying as well as both unhappy and happy customers. There's nothing wrong with negative reviews as long as you know how to deal with them.
Long story short, create a plan to get good reviews, and enjoy the effects!