“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nothing at all.” If only we can instill those wise words from the film Bambi into the minds of the masses of people on the internet. Unfortunately, the real world is not a Disney cartoon, and no business is safe from public criticism online. According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
On the bright side, people do have nice things to say; you just need to seek them out. That same survey also revealed that 73% of customers tend to trust a business more after reading positive customer reviews. Customers will be more than happy to leave you a sterling review after a great experience, provided they have the time and the opportunity. It’s up to you as the business owner, to provide that opportunity for them. The following are a few easy strategies you can implement into your business to facilitate more positive feedback, and increase your overall rating online.
1. Respond to every review to show appreciation.
If your business is proactive about responding to reviews, this creates the impression that the customer is actually heard and valued. This open communication will encourage others to provide their feedback as well. While it’s important to thank your customers for sharing a positive experience, it’s just as important to respond to the negative feedback as well. A Harvard Study saw a direct correlation between the frequency a business responds to negative reviews, and an overall increase in their online rating. Be careful when writing your response to negative criticism, and resolve the situation without sounding overly defensive.
2. Share positive customer reviews you’ve already received.
Any positive feedback you’ve received, past or present, can and should be shared with your network across all social media platforms. This creates an opportunity for your positive customer reviews to reach an even greater audience, and establishes social proof that will encourage others to do the same. Highlight the positive review in the form of an appealing graphic, similar to a motivational quote that attracts more engagement and increases your reach.
3. Ask the customer in person.
Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. Sadly, most customers tend to move on with their lives and don’t think to write a review unless there’s something to complain about. If you notice that a customer enjoys what you have to offer, especially if they frequent your business regularly, chances are they’re more than willing to offer their recommendation. Don’t be shy about asking your happy customers to share their experience. They’ll appreciate the fact that you value them as a loyal customer, and will continue to associate themselves with your brand on a more personal level.
4. Send the customer review request.
If you aren’t asking the customer to share their experience at the point of sale, an effective alternative would be to send a request to leave your business a review via email or SMS. Although simply asking a customer to leave a review is a great start, people can and will forget. Sending them a friendly reminder will increase the chances that their positive experience will actually be shared online. The key to getting those positive reviews on your business listing is to make it as easy and convenient as possible for your customers to do so. In a world that’s constantly on the move, a review request via email or text message is the way to go.
5. Host an event.
Not only is this a great way to promote your services and show your customer appreciation; this also serves as an opportune time to collect emails and phone numbers from your customers. Make it part of the checkout process during the event to gather their information and build upon your database to send out review requests. By hosting an event you will create a sense of community and sentiment for those who are loyal to your brand, increasing the likelihood that they will leave you a review in the future.
Believe it or not, your customers do have nice things to say about your business, and sometimes need a little nudge in the right direction. In addition to these simple and effective tips, we can offer more solutions to generate positive content to your online listings, and help you maintain a solid reputation online.