We are social creatures. We talk, compare, measure and seek value and worth in our everyday lives. It’s of no surprise then, that over the course of millions of years of evolution our social interactions have come to influence our purchase decisions.
We’ve needed help with these decisions from the first time “Gluk Gluk” was praised by his Cro-Magnon cohorts for his aerodynamics spears, right up to our fast paced business world today. It’s more evident than ever that positive word of mouth is one of the most important factors between the success and failure of any business.
So think about that today, whether you’re looking to grab a bite at a restaurant or investing in your family’s next vehicle, it’s important to know other’s opinions of any product or service. As we all know, the past 5 or so years have shifted, delivering that information in lightning quick fashion is now the standard. Word of mouth referrals have transcended beyond just ear to ear interactions and can be seen most prevalently on websites like Facebook, Google+ Local, HomeStars, Yelp and others.
These are now our public forums with information being streamlined and personalized to each user. Simply being online is not enough, you need to garner positive relationships and get the word out, we figured we’d you help you out by sharing this one magic word. Ask!
Ask and You Shall Receive:
The number one factor keeping your business from positive reviews, is you! Although it seems elementary, the majority of businesses simply don’t ask their clients/customers online word of mouth referrals. Welcome to the jungle of online reviews, you must pursue online reviews the same way you forwardly ask for personal referrals. Remember, if your service is invaluable and beneficial, you’re not going to have a hard time finding anyone to help you.
Creating a Review Station:
One tip we like to give businesses that operate out of a brick & mortar location is investing in a small netbook or laptop to set up in your reception area. Creating a “Review Station” is an easy way to have your patrons give positive reviews in a timely fashion. Reviews are all about timing and asking customers/clients to write a quick blurb at the time of satisfaction is key. Just leave your netbook/laptop open to your Google Local, Facebook etc.. page and ask for some recognition! (If they don’t Follow/Like your social media pages, remember to ask for this too!!!)
If you’re a company that services customers at their home or place of business, investing in an iPad or tablet can be an alternative. Although this may not be feasible for your company initially, it’s something to think about long term. The potential market share you can gain may pay for the investment itself.
Pointing to Your Review Pages:
Another tip we like to suggest is using your existing contacts. When cultivating online reviews, it’s an advantage you can’t afford to squander. Whether it be through your monthly client newsletter, prospect news mailer or even your email signature, provide a link somewhere to your review pages with a call to action.
This way, the reader is just a click away from reviewing your business. You’d be surprised how many reviews you can cultivate with this method, especially after going the extra mile for a client/customer and directing them towards the link.
Furthermore, potential leads can click through to view your reputation. Although it may sound potentially disastrous to some, putting your review links right in your signature shouldn’t be viewed with hesitation if your company is providing a valuable service. This is of course up to your discretion, if you feel your company is prone to negative reviews or slow turnaround times due to bandwidth, this may not be an option as you could bear the brunt of frustration.
Should You Offer Incentives?:
Incentives are a direct call to action to have your clients/customers review your business, but they aren’t always advisable. The reason being is that you can be penalized by many review platforms because they view it as unethical.
Instead, leverage your pre-existing offers or online deals and simply ask your customers/clients after the point of sale. If they are happy with product and have received a great deal for your service, they will be more than happy to write a review for you on the spot at your review station. If not, you can always send a follow up email or social media message pointing them to your review page and asking for a review.
Ease of Use:
In order to get a number of reviews you have to be efficient and not inconvenience people. That’s why you should always be thinking… “How easy is this for my customer/client?” For example, if you’re trying to bolster your Google Local reviews, before you ask make sure the reviewer has a Google+ account.
If not, it may be easier for them to give you a quick review on Facebook or another platform they belong to. You can also post a Facebook status update to your fans like “Happy with your experience? Please take a second to review our service.” You can provide links to your review pages or have them review directly through Facebook. Just remember, If the process seems too difficult to your customers/clients will be sure to avoid it. MAKE IT EASY!
Negative reviews are bound to come for any business, but positive, exemplary work will always outweigh them online. In addition (although a bit off topic) you can use these negative reviews as a chance to reach out and satisfy a customer with a poor previous experience. If your company is committed to providing excellent customer service you should not shy away from asking for reviews by providing a link or asking face-face at your review station.
Your Competitors Are Doing It!
Increasing your online presence through social reviews is essential to your business. Think about that space being taken up by your competitors and remember the importance of word of mouth and the fact that positive reviews help Google rank information in terms of relevance. Get out there today and start asking for your reviews!