Online reviews can be a handy tool for people to learn about your products or services, as well as for your business to continue improving from feedback. If a customer is especially satisfied with your service and leaves a glowing review, this can motivate others to engage with your business. On the other hand, if your service doesn’t deliver, a negative review can keep someone from becoming a customer.
Reviews are clearly important to a business’s success, but business owners can easily feel overwhelmed or helpless when it comes to asking for and receiving online feedback. Is it ok to ask customers for a review, and how should you do it? Is it really worth the effort?
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Why are online reviews important?
Business owners have a lot of responsibilities to juggle, and keeping up with how many Google reviews they have can easily fall to the bottom of the priority list. So why are online reviews so important? Research has found that people highly value recommendations from others. In fact, a 2022 Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal found that 49% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This is a big reason to monitor your company’s Google reviews and put a strategy in place to continually generate new reviews.
Think about it this way: if you are comparing a similar product from different providers, will you go for the one with 439 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 out of 5, or will you choose the 4 average with only 6 reviews? If you are like me, you will probably choose the product with the higher rating and higher number of reviews (the more reviews there are, the more likely people are to trust them).
Additionally, the quantity and quality of your Google reviews also influence local SEO rankings, which impacts the online visibility of your business. Just another reason to pay attention to reviews!
How to generate positive reviews
So now you’re convinced they’re important, what can you do to get more positive reviews?
1. Prepare your online listings for reviews
Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a platform that offers great insight into your company. From contact information to opening times, make sure your profile is as complete as possible. This will help clients find the correct information about your business, making for a positive start right off the bat!
2. Provide great service and/or products
Whether you sell tangible products or intangible experiences, make customers feel like you share their joy. From advising before the purchase and providing assistance throughout the process, to high-quality aftercare, make sure your service stands out. You don’t just want a review, you want loyal customers, so take your time for each one of them.
3. Provide personal aftercare
A sale isn’t done when the product is delivered. Reach back out to the buyer to see if they’re satisfied with their purchase. For physical products, this can be a great moment to upsell (if you bought the reusable coffee cup, you may also want the smoothie straws), or to ask for a review.
If your business provides a service, you can try to share a special moment with your client. For example, a meeting you had with them (snag a picture for social media - with their approval, of course) or a recent milestone your client reached. Make sure you celebrate with your customers—and then ask for feedback or a review!
How to ask your customers for a review
Figuring out how to ask for a review might be the most difficult step to getting reviews from your clients. Depending on your business, you might want to consider asking in person, digitally or passively.
- Ask In Person: Whether right away at checkout or when they come back for more, asking people in person is a great way to get the ball rolling. If they aren’t completely satisfied, this is your moment to offer support (and perhaps an alternative) to make sure they leave feeling happy. If you go the extra mile, people are more likely to tell others about it.
- Ask Digitally: Sending an email a few days after finishing the sale-cycle requesting a review can be helpful. Include links to different review platforms, explain how long leaving a review will take and get the reviews coming!
- Ask Passively: Add a note or sticker to a letter or package you send your client to passively ask for a review. A cool feature to use could be a QR code that takes people straight from the box to the page where they can leave a review. If you don’t ship physical letters or products, perhaps you can use flyers in your reception area or a post on social media.
When to ask for a review
It might be hard to determine when the right time is to ask for a review, but a good rule of thumb is to wait an adequate amount of time for your customer to truly experience your product or service. You can’t write an honest review about your new camera if you haven’t used it yet. It’s ok to give clients a few days to consider everything before asking for a review.
Help your customers get started by asking simple questions about their feedback. For example:
- How are you liking the product? / How was your experience?
- Would you like to try our other size/color/product?
- Do you have any questions about your purchase?
- Would you recommend us to family and friends?
The question depends on your product or service, but make sure your customers feel heard.
Leave a Review
Make Leaving a Review Easy & Fun
When asking for a review, provide direct links to review platforms for your clients to make it even easier for them to leave a review. Google reviews are the most important for boosting your local search rankings so this is the best place to start. If you know a lot of your customers find reviews on another platform, like Yelp, then offer review links to those as well.
You can share your Google Business Profile’s short URL with customers to encourage them to leave a review.
- Sign in to Business Profile Manager
- On the Home dashboard, scroll down to find the “Get more reviews” card
- Copy your short URL to share with customers
Besides links, it is also beneficial to let customers know how long it will take to leave a review (usually not more than a minute or two).
Engage with any reviews your business receives
If you’re lucky enough to receive a review from your customer, make sure you let them know you appreciate it (even if it’s a negative one). Writing a review takes time, and the effort for someone to sit down and share their experience shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Take your time replying to negative reviews and try to come to a resolution with the client. If you successfully resolve the issue, the client should not only be satisfied with the product, but also the service you have offered to make things right. Although it costs time and energy to go through this process, it will hopefully leave you with another satisfied customer!
Bonus: in most cases, a review can be updated, so if a customer is unsatisfied you still have time to make things right.
Receiving positive reviews is great! Make sure that these people also feel heard by replying to their comments and showing appreciation for their time. In addition, you can share positive reviews on social media to show customers how much their words mean to you.
A great example is Cedar Spring Family Dentistry sharing this funny, yet wonderful review they received from a client:
Other Review Tips & Tricks
- Claim your Yelp, Yellow Pages & Nextdoor pages. These platforms display local listings of your business with as much information as you provide. Make sure you monitor these listings and respond to reviews regularly. Use Online Listings to Engage with Customers.
- Add a review page to your website. This makes asking for reviews an easy and convenient process for everyone!
- Include review links in your email signature. At ALINE we have a feedback button in our email signature that links to the feedback page on our website.
- Create a social media hashtag where customers can share their thoughts on your business. From unboxing your product or a live room tour of your hotel, to actively promoting your brand to followers, social media can be a great place to grow your brand.
- It’s okay to follow up with people who haven’t left a review yet, but don’t become annoying. A happy customer is more important than a mediocre review.
Writing a review is quick and painless and it can help a company immensely, so why not go the extra mile? If you have more questions or need help getting started, send us a message! We’d love to help.