It doesn’t matter how many tactics you employ to get good reviews online if you don’t provide a quality service. Make sure you are advertising only what you can really offer and go above and beyond for you customers – they will reward you if you do.
In order for your satisfied customers to leave reviews, they need a place to do so. While it may seem time-consuming and unnecessary, it’s imperative that you take the time to fill out business pages for your company on sites like Google, Bing, Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp, Better Business Bureau and Yellow Pages. The more complete your online business listings, product descriptions on e-commerce platforms, and local profiles, the more it appears you actively care about your business.
People want to know what they’re getting into by going into business with you. If you sell a product, include high-quality photos of your product on review sites and encourage users of your product to share their photos as well. If you provide a service, show people your employees and office space. Photographs make your profiles stand out in local search results and on review websites and help you connect with potential customers and clients.
To cultivate reviews, you need to know where reviews of your small business are likely to appear. Which sites are your customers using? It may not be the most used platforms listed above. For example, product reviews appear on e-commerce sites like Amazon, while reviews of home services are more likely to appear on sites like Home Advisor. Once you find your customers, monitor the most frequented sites for new reviews at least once a week to assess your progress and deal with any negative reviews.
Develop a system to follow-up with customers either with an email or phone call after their interaction with you. Ask them their thoughts and encourage happy customers to leave a review online. Make leaving a review as easy as possible by providing links and easy-to-follow “how to” lists and remind happy customers verbally of review sites. If they aren’t happy, allow them to express their concerns and address them accordingly (before they leave you a nasty review online).
We know you want reviews, but when you set up a tablet or laptop and ask customers to review your business it crosses the line of the rules of service on some review sites – not to mention, a lot of customers view this as overly aggressive. Additionally, if you set up a review station, all of the reviews will come from a single IP address and will most likely be flagged by the review site as fake which will do more harm than good for your online reputation.
This one is very important. Don’t leave feedback unanswered – ever. If the review is negative, acknowledge if you made a mistake and offer to make things right or explain what you will do differently going forward. Remember, other prospective customers can see your response so handling criticism gracefully is important. Don’t become defensive or engage in a nasty public fight – it usually makes matters worse. Responding to positive feedback is one way to turn happy customers into enthusiastic advocates who spread positive a word of mouth and show others that you care about the opinions of all your customers.
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