The online reputation of your business is more important than ever.  There are plenty of people who still shop in brick and mortar stores, but more people than ever before are using the internet to look up information about products and services, find stores, and shop, and good reviews will draw customers to your website.  Consumer studies by SEO consultant Sydney have repeatedly shown that most people look at the reviews of businesses and products before using a service or making a purchase.  So, with those things in mind, and appreciating how important online reviews are, how do you ensure that your company has the most positive online reviews?  These suggestions will help encourage your customers to leave positive reviews of your business.

 

Show Customers You That Pay Attention to Reviews

Customers want to know that you care about them, and you can prove it to them by paying attention to their feedback and showing that you’re listening to them.  Read the reviews that have already been posted about your business, and acknowledge them.  If a review is good, be sure to thank the customer, and tell them that you hope to do business again soon with them.  If a review is negative, you need to address whatever issues caused the problem, and encourage the customer to give your business a second chance.  Make sure that you always respond quickly to bad reviews, so customers know you care.  A quick response to a negative review can be enough to get that customer to continue to use your business, if they think you deserve a second chance.  A quick response may also ward off that customer complaining to friends and family, too, preventing negative word of mouth.  Just as positive word of mouth advertising is the best kind of publicity, negative word of mouth advertising can ruin your business’s chances of success.

 

Choose The Best Review Site for Your Business

Not all review sites are created equal.  Certain review sites are more suitable for certain businesses.  For example, Yelp is a great website to get information about restaurants, but you won’t find many construction companies or dentists listed there. Vitals.com and Healthgrades are good options for reviewing medical businesses and professionals.  HomeAdvisor or Google+ might be the best choices for construction or home building fields, such as construction companies.  TripAdvisor is a great site to use if your business is tourist-oriented.  So choose the review site that is most appropriate for your type of business, and make sure you direct your customers to the site where they can offer their reviews.

 

Make It Easy to Leave Reviews or Feedback

reviews feedback

The fact is, customers aren’t going to offer reviews of your business if they think it’s too hard for them to do so.  It’s human nature for people to look for the easiest way to do something, and if it’s too much trouble, they just won’t do it.  So part of your job should be to make it easy for them.  One of the easiest ways is to use Facebook and Twitter for reviews and customer feedback.  Facebook has an option to review a business on the Facebook business page, so if your business has a Facebook presence, others can see the reviews.  Twitter is also a good way to make contact with your customers.  Your Twitter handle can be used as a fast way to get your attention, and you can address any concerns or comments quickly.  You can also motivate customers to review their experience by offering a reward, such as a chance to win a small gift card or discount on a future purchase.  Sometimes, a little incentive is all it takes to nudge a customer into providing a review.  However, be careful not to provide TOO much incentive, or it can seem like you’re bribing customers to leave good reviews, which is unethical, to say the least.

 

Timing Is Everything

time is everything

Knowing when to ask for a customer review, and knowing whom to ask are both important steps in getting customers to post reviews.  First, it’s important to ask the right customers, preferably the customers who are the happiest.  Many people tend not to do reviews at all unless they have a complaint, so asking satisfied customers to post reviews is especially important.  The best time to ask a customer for a review is at the end of the transaction, while you still have their attention.  Once that point passes, a customer is focused on leaving and won’t be receptive to the request of a review.  If you ask for the review before completing the transaction, you run the risk of sounding like you’re more interested in the customer’s review than their purchase.  So wait for the right moment to ask your customers to review the business, and make it clear that you hope they provide honest reviews.  Don’t pressure them into giving a positive review if it wasn’t actually a positive experience.  Also, if you collect the email addresses from customers, you can send them a follow-up email a few days after the purchase, to remind them that a review or feedback would be appreciated.

 

Consider The Wording of Your Request

Asking directly, “Will you leave a review on Yelp for us?” sounds kind of awkward, both for the business owner and the customer.  However, changing the wording around can make the request seem more appropriate and polite.  For example, using the word “invite” instead of “ask” can create a different tone of communication.  Inviting someone to leave a review sounds a lot nicer than just asking someone to leave the review.  Another change could be using the word “feedback,” rather than “review.”  Those simple changes in how you phrase the request can encourage more people to review their experiences.  Customers have different responses to different ways of phrasing the request for a review, and getting the customer to feel like he wants to give the review can make all the difference.

 

Don’t Be Tempted to Fake It

It can be tempting, particularly if you have any negative reviews of your business, to create fake positive reviews.  Some businesses even pay for fake customers to post online reviews. Don’t do it, for a number of reasons.  One, it’s unethical.  Even if no one else realizes it, you know that it’s fake, and that’s reason enough.  Two, it undermines the credibility of your business and website.  If the word gets out that there are false reviews, that’s a reason for people to not trust your business, and those people will likely take their business elsewhere.  Don’t give them any reason to move on to another business. Also, posting fake reviews can result in a business being penalized or even banned from certain review sites.  If you’re lacking in positive reviews, make the necessary changes that will encourage customers to give you those recommendations.

 

How to Guarantee Good Reviews

So we all know there’s really no big secret to guaranteeing that your customers leave positive reviews for you, but if there was, here it is – make sure you always deliver an amazing customer experience!  Customers are willing to pay more for a better experience, and satisfied customers will continue to return to do business with you.  Make sure that your company always provides that better experience.  Happy customers will also tell other potential customers, and whether that’s online or in person, word of mouth is still one of the best forms of advertising and attracting customers.  It just cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to treat your customers well, and provide the best possible service to them.  The Golden Rule applies even to customer service.  Treat others as you want to be treated.

To recap, with the increasing amount of internet users who research products and services, and the businesses that provide them, online, it’s more important than ever before to have a good online reputation.  There are multiple aspects to this process of getting reviews and feedback from customers.  Make sure you select the most suitable review site for your business.  Not all review sites are created equally, and not all review sites are appropriate for all businesses.  You have to make it easy for customers to leave feedback, because they simply don’t want to go through a lot of trouble in order to leave a short review.  Know when to ask your customer to leave a review, and know how to ask for it.  Phrasing is important, and can be the difference between a customer wanting to leave a review and a customer feeling put out.  Under no circumstances, no matter how tempting it may be, should you create fake online reviews for your company or ask anyone else to do that.  It’s unethical and destroys your company’s credibility.  Finally, the best way to ensure that customers leave positive reviews for your business is by making sure they have a great customer experience.  It really is that simple.  Treat your customers well, and they will remember that.  Satisfied customers are the ones you want reviews from.

 

About the Author

Amir Noghani is an online marketing specialist at Algorithm SEO company Brisbane. Along with holding a master degree in Engineering, he has been working in the field of marketing and communications for over Seven years and developed a strong knowledge and skills in Online Marketing and Public Relations and also writing journal articles and blogs.

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