Online reviews have two critical roles in your online marketing strategy. First, they help customers learn more about your company by answering questions and easing their concerns about your products or services. Second, they help with search engine rankings by creating more content to index, especially when it involves local SEO.
When you first start working to obtain more online reviews, it can seem awkward to ask customers for feedback. You might be afraid customers think you're just providing them with good service simply so you can land another five-star rating.
There’s no way around it. Reviews matter, and if you’re not actively seeking them, then you won’t receive the quantity or quality you need to be competitive.
Optimize the Check Out Process
If you’re selling physical products, then create a checkout system that allows customers to leave you feedback the moment they make their purchase.
This process is mainly for online shoppers. You want their checkout process to be as streamlined as possible. If you over complicate it with unnecessary steps and information, their frustration might cause them to leave you a less than stellar review.
After they make the purchase, a pop up might request they leave a review about their experience along with a “thank you for buying.” Customer service companies who lean on phone banks to resolve customer issues often utilize this tactic too by requesting callers to stay on the line for a survey after they’ve finished talking with a representative.
Restaurants might ask for customers to leave a review after they’ve finished their meals by putting a small tablet or kiosk on each table. Places like Chili’s and Outback Steakhouse report that the tablets not only help servers get orders to the kitchen sooner, but they also speed up the time it takes for a table to pay for their meal.
They’ve found that tables tend to tip more because of the automatic 20% option, and they can implement a post-meal survey as a part of the payment process.
Not every purchase warrants an immediate review. Some products require a few days or even weeks before customers can provide accurate feedback. For example, a mattress company might not want feedback until the next week after the customers had a chance to sleep on it for a couple of nights.
Ask for Feedback by Using an Automated Email
Send an email asking your customer who made a recent purchase to review how they are enjoying their product or service they received.
The email doesn’t haven’t to be lengthy. In fact, it’s better if it is short and to the point. Start by saying thank you, and then ask them to rate their experience. Sometimes, it helps to have a star rating that allows them to highlight how many stars they give you.
If you do include a survey, make sure it is only a few meaningful questions that are simple to understand. Over complicating the survey will reduce the responses or skew the results if they get fatigued and just do what it takes to finish it rather than provide meaningful feedback. You can also link directly to Google reviews or Facebook reviews so they can leave it on the platform you prefer.
Here's a template:
“Hi [first_name], we greatly appreciate your business. Can you take one minute to leave a review on Google about your experience with us? Here is the link.
We look forward to working with you again in the future!
Request Reviews on Social Media
You can request reviews in a couple of different ways on social media. Depending on how your customers expect to interact with your brand.
One way is by sending a direct message with a link on a platform like Facebook asking for a review. Another way is by creating an ad targeting previous customers requesting a review, which is a more passive way of asking.
Finally, you can feature your best reviews on your social platforms, which serves two purposes. One, it is a public way to thank your reviewers for their time and effort. Two, it lets future reviewers know that you actually take the time to listen to what consumers have to say about your brand and their experiences.
Send Your Customer a Text
If your customer has subscribed to text marketing, then you have a powerful way to communicate with them, but you have to use this tool sparingly. If you send too many text messages, you’re likely to annoy them.
It’s appropriate to ask for a review with a shortened link to your preferred platform, especially if you know they’ve recently made a purchase.
Stage Stores is a clothing retailer that is effective with their text marketing campaigns. Their messages come through once a month or less. They only bother their customers if they’re offering an exclusive deal, but they could also ask long-time customers to give them a review of the store location they shop at most often.
There are dozens of platforms where customers might leave reviews including:
● Your website
● Better Business Bureau
● Yellow Pages
It’d be overwhelming to try to build reviews on all of these platforms. Instead, the best strategy is to focus on the most relevant platforms and expand your efforts as needed.
For example, if your company is a tourist destination, then TripAdvisor and Google are more important than Etsy or Glassdoor. In contrast, if you sell supplements on Amazon, then you might benefit from focusing nearly all your efforts on improving Amazon reviews.
Respond to Both Positive and Negative Reviewers
When you respond to reviewers, it lets future customers know that you read their feedback. It also allows you to thank them for their time and effort.
It’s easy to feel defensive when you find a negative review, but let the feeling pass and then do your best to take the conversation offline by requesting they call you or by sending them a follow-up email if you have their information.
The best responses will resolve negative experiences, and hopefully, prompt an update to the star rating of their experience. Reviewers are annoyed when they feel like they are speaking to a wall. Managing negative reviews requires an appropriate and polite response, and doing it well might require some practice.
We’ve created a free ebook covering the top five review sites for your business. If you want to have a conversation about your online reputation management services, then book a free 30-minute consultation.