If I told you that according to BrightLocal research, 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, would you be surprised?
With the direction our society is heading and the influence of technology in the business industry, it is not at all shocking that customers are providing their two cents about a business online.
79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Online reviews have a bit of a tarnished reputation thanks to websites such as Yelp, which are muddled with fake or paid for reviews. However, with consumers placing such as large emphasis and trust into these reviews, it is crucial for your business to gather positive, authentic reviews from your loyal clients to display online.
In addition, some unethical businesses have been known to use shady practices in an attempt to gain online reviews. I strongly advise you to not engage in paid, illegal or highly unethical tactics in an attempt to have a few reviews online. It’s really not worth your time, money or frustration.
When you’re ready to begin collecting reviews for your business, try the following simple (and 100% legal and ethical) methods.
Provide Free (and Fast) Wifi
Without offering your customers free wifi or access to the Internet aside from their personal data plans, you may have to wait until they get all the way home to review your business. By that time, unless you’ve sincerely angered them or changed their lives for the better, chances are that the customer has completely forgotten about reviewing your business.
With direct (and free!) access to the wifi connection, customers can review your business on the spot. In combination with other tactics, this may be one of the easiest ways to entice online customer reviews.
From a tabletop display to a brief sticker near the cash register, adding simple signage to your business will prompt customers to quickly provide their thoughts online.
Businesses such as restaurants, automobile repair shops and other establishments may not always have the opportunity to verbally entice customers to review the business. Therefore, the signs are quick, nonintrusive reminders to customers who may not have otherwise thought to review the business.
While interacting with customers, encourage your employees to ask for online reviews at the right point in the conversation. Depending on your management style, you may also be able to provide a little incentive for employees who garner the most online reviews for your business.
When customers have a pleasant experience with employees, not only are they more likely to review your business but they are also likely to provide a positive review.
Go Above and Beyond
You will have angry, unsatisfied customers from time to time. It’s inevitable. Plus, some people simply cannot be pleased. Unfortunately, due to the digital megaphone known as the Internet, these unruly people will voice their opinions via negative online reviews.
Instead of fighting back online with a heated, emotion-filled response, take the extra step to ensure that a wrong is righted and you are now seen in a positive light by that customer. Go out of your way to discuss the issue with the particular customer and alleviate the issue. Whether you choose to offer a refund, an individual offer, or some other method of rectifying the issue, the point is that you went out of your way to ensure that the customer has a positive experience, which they will appreciate in the long run.
Remember, if a customer has a positive experience, they will tell approximately three people. If they have a negative experience, they will tell about ten people. Keep that in mind when gaining online reviews, conducting day to day business, and managing the online reputation of your business.
Ability to easily review
If your online review process is as difficult as taking the SATs or as boring as standing in line at the DMV, can you really expect customers to take time out of their day to review your business?
Your review process should be as simple and as seamless as possible. A few information fields, a box for comments and a submit form, is all you need. The harder the review process is for customers, the less customer participation you will receive.
Reach out to your loyal customers
Every business has loyal customers, so personally reach out to your group of fans and ask them to provide an authentic review of your business. Due to their immense loyalty and desire to help out a business they are connected to, this particular set of customers will gladly provide an online review.
With these tips and tricks up your sleeve, get out there and get those online reviews!