Asking your customers to provide feedback, a review of your services or a testimonial for your marketing is not a new concept. In fact, this type of word of mouth advertising is one of the oldest forms of marketing and in today’s online environment, client reviews (even from strangers on the internet) hold a lot of weight with potential customers when deciding which business to contact.
The 3 biggest reasons you should be asking your clients for feedback are:
Consumers are easily swayed by reviews and review scores. This is because we are hard wired to believe impartial third parties more than we believe the source. Consumers are not stupid, they know that businesses make claims that are not always supported by fact, to persuade them to spend their money.
For example, if you tell your customers that you’re the best window cleaner in the area, they are unlikely to pay much attention. However, if their neighbour tells them that you’re the best window cleaner in the area, they are more likely to believe them; they know their neighbour has no vested interest in recommending your business and so why would they lie?
No matter how great your service or products, the fear of accidentally soliciting a bad review is the key factor holding a lot of businesses back.
You simply can not please everyone, and whether you ask for reviews or not, it’s likely that some point you will get a few bad comments in one forum or another. If you get a lot of bad reviews, you probably need to take a look at your business practices, but in reality, one or 2 low scores or negative remarks will not do your business any harm.
In fact, most consumers understand that some people are never happy. We’ve all read reviews and thought, ‘perhaps that person is overreacting a little.’ The key to handling a bad review is in your reply.
You must always respond to your reviews, good or bad, even if it’s just to thank the person for taking the time to leave it. We know consumers read reviews, and they will see if you are active in replying to those reviews. A good reply to a good review, means relatively little – accept that you’re probably a friendly business. However, a good reply to a bad review can actually result in a very positive situation for you.
A well-structured and personal reply to a bad review will show that you are open to feedback, willing to take responsibility and that you care enough about your customers and your reputation to try and resolve the situation. One study discovered that for this reason, negative reviews can actually increase your conversion rate!
As we know, Google aims to provide the best and most relevant results to their users’ search queries. A huge part of your relevance and quality score with Google is your reputation and how useful past customers have found your services or products.
That’s why Google reviews are so important. If you look at the Google Maps search results for a local search query, you will see you have the ability to filter by ‘Rating.’ This rating not only provides additional information to your potential customers, but you will that that those businesses with the higher ratings are organically shown nearer the top of the search result listings.
For This reason, the amount of Google reviews your business has, and the rating of them, is one of the most important aspects of your local SEO strategy. When a potential customer glances over the search results, they get an instant idea of which businesses are most credible and trustworthy.
The key to good reviews is providing good service. It’s not rocket science. Customers who are satisfied with your work will be happy to recommend your business. However, you need to make it easy for them!
Ask friends and family to leave reviews first. People are more willing to add their voice to a platform if there are some comments there already, not everyone will be keen to be the first review on the board!
Then you can formulate a strategy to contact past and current clients and ask them for a review. Be honest, tell them why you want their review and how much it will help your business. Be sure NOT to offer freebies or incentives in return for a review – this is against Google’s rules and they will likely penalise you if discovered. Do however, make it as easy as possible for your reviewer by including a really obvious link for them to follow, whether it’s on a social media update, a blog post or a direct email or text message.
Here at Evolution Media we’re passionate about helping small businesses succeed online and are here to help you build your digital presence. Whether you want a full SEO strategy, new website, help gathering reviews, or just a chat about the best options for building your reputation online – just get in touch today.