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3 Simple Ways to Get More Online Reviews

We have officially entered a time where the success of our business is determined almost entirely by those who have directly experienced the services you have to offer. For those of us in the restoration industry, this can be extremely good news. If your small business provides customers with quality service, then there is no reason why you should not be able to harvest the benefits of your ongoing efforts in the form of good reviews. Why are good reviews important?

In a recent study, it was found that 90% of consumers said that reading positive reviews online influenced their decision to purchase goods and/or services from a particular company—that’s huge! It isn’t just about good reviews, either.

A whopping 86% claimed that negative reviews similarly influenced their decision-making process. Either way, it’s definitely time to admit that reviews should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. Despite their importance, obtaining quality reviews from your customers can be difficult. Most people don’t bother to leave reviews so it is doubly important to encourage your customers after a successful interaction.

Another factor that weighs heavily on people’s decision to purchase goods or services is how recently the review was left. Nearly half of people surveyed reported that a review must have been written within the last month to be considered relevant. That means that you must cultivate a steady influx of unique reviews in order for your business rating to be taken seriously by prospective consumers. The best way to achieve this goal is to anticipate and remove any obstacles that may provide difficulty for your satisfied customers.

Make certain that your business is registered on multiple online review sites, including Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook, as well as industry-specific sites like Houzz or Angie’s List where applicable. Once you’ve registered, double-check that all of your information is both accurate and consistent across all of the sites. Details matter! The difference between writing “Street” and “St.” in your address can cause problems for the various algorithms that govern these sites and the search engines that rely on them, so consistency is key. Once you’re set up, it’s time to create your strategy for success.

Here are three tips to get you started:

Ask!

This may seem like an oversimplified solution, but the best way to get reviews from your customers is simply to ask them. The asking is the easy part. It is slightly more difficult to pin down exactly when and how you should go about asking. Some people respond better to being asked in person, some would rather get an email. Often, small business owners will leave this determination to their people on the front lines—the ones who actually come into contact with the customers.

While it is a good idea to let the person who just successfully completed the job ask for a review, it is also a smart move to have a strategy in place for this before you send them out. If you’ve found that you receive more reviews after you’ve emailed your customers, then prepare your employees to ask your customers for their email address at the completion of their job.

Many customers do not feel comfortable leaving a review while the person they’re reviewing is standing right next to them, so be sure to leave them with a few options. There’s no magic formula to use when asking customers for reviews, more often than not it ends up being the result of a number of factors as well as some good old-fashioned trial and error. If you have tried different strategies with little to no success, don’t forget that there are companies out there who make it their business to develop new strategies for struggling businesses.

Keep it Simple!

The best thing you can do is to provide options for your customers to leave reviews. When doing so, however, try to make certain that it is as easy as possible. Include banners or links from your website to the sites whose reviews you are courting. If you are emailing customers, include links at the bottom (signature) of your email leading to popular review sites. You can even send them directly to the review screen to leave a review. Check out this tool to generate a Google link to leave a review to get your started.

As mentioned before, you should be registered on as many review sites as possible in order to maximize your online footprint. This provides your potential reviewers with the opportunity to use the websites that they are most comfortable with. Have your employee get their email or phone number and use that contact information to provide your customers with a path of least resistance. This can also be a good way to pre-screen your customers and weed out the ones who may leave a less-than-favorable review.  

If developing a strategy on your own is too difficult, there are many programs out there like Acquirly that can help you get more reviews online and can simplify this process not only for your customers but also for your employees.

Give Incentives to Your Employees!

Another way to keep your review momentum going is to incentivize your employees to ask for reviews. It is important to note that there should be no punishment or negative effects for failing to reach their goals—after all, some customers can’t be bothered to leave a review, no matter how nicely you ask. Instead, provide positive reinforcements for those employees that are receiving the most reviews. It is helpful to mention to both customers and employees the benefits that positive reviews can have on an overall business, but this should not be your sole incentive.

While it can be difficult to get more reviews, the benefits far outweigh the effort required to employ an effective strategy. Don’t forget to show your customers appreciation by responding to the reviews that you receive—good or bad! Bad reviews are, after all, an opportunity to display courtesy and good customer service. Turning a bad experience into a positive one can be a powerful way to demonstrate that you care about what your customers think.