Reviews can be both a good and a bad thing for businesses (and can be a huge factor in your success). For the consumer, reviews are essential. Let’s face it, no one likes the idea of getting a potential bad review that could haunt you for years, but overall, customer reviews are great and one of the best ways to get an indicator of the quality of service provided by a particular business. People are much more likely to work with, or buy from, a company that they trust and your reviews can help establish that trust and give people confidence in your company.
Note: Once you have enough reviews on Google, your rating will show up when your site appears in Google search results – establishing even more credibility for your business.
Some of the most popular and most visible sources for business reviews today are:
- Google (for businesses with a physical location listed on Google Maps)
- Amazon (for products)
- Yelp (especially for restaurants)
- Trip Advisor (travel related)
How to Get Reviews for Your Business
If you provide a quality service and good experience to your customers (or even a negative experience) some of them are naturally going to want to leave a review for you. Natural reviews are the ideal type of review for you and your business. This is an indication that you’re doing something right (or wrong) and it’s prompting people to comment on their experience with you.
Asking for Reviews
It’s okay to ask your customers for reviews. Many people don’t go out of their way to leave business reviews but you might be surprised at how many of them will leave a review for you if you ask them to. I’ve personally had a lot of success with this by sending requests to my customers via email. If you feel like your customer had a good experience with you, it would be a good idea to ask them to write a review and post it online. Make it easy on them and provide them a link to one or two of your preferred sites for receiving reviews. The easier it is, the more likely they will do it.
There are services available that help to automate the process of receiving positive reviews by sending your customers an initial request asking them about their experience. If the experience was negative the customer will see a form they can fill out that sends the feedback to you to let you know how you can improve. If the experience was positive they will be prompted to leave a review on Google, Facebook or other. This type of customer engagement can be very useful for discovering what you are doing well and ways you can improve.
What NOT To Do
Do not solicit reviews and do not incentivize.
A few years back, Google cracked down on fake reviews. Soliciting reviews is a “suspect behaviour” according to Google, also it’s not good for potential customers to be presented with a positive view of your business only to potentially discover that maybe your quality of service doesn’t match what they read about you. It’s also potentially illegal in your state to incentivize or solicit reviews (i.e. paying or rewarding people to leave positive reviews). There are plenty of ways to get reviews for your business without resorting to these black hat tactics.
- I would encourage you to make a list of the customers you have worked with in the past few years that had a positive experience with you and reach out to ask them to write a review for you. Be sure to include a link to one or two sites where they can post the review.
- Consider what you can add to your daily processes to prompt more customers to leave reviews for you in the future. This could be something as simple as asking for a review in a thank you note with the customer’s receipt or a follow up thank you email. If you don’t normally have access to your customers email addresses this can be a good opportunity to start asking for it and build up an email marketing list. Not only could this help you get more business reviews but it can also be an easy way to get repeat business from your customers.