A good online review can give you an edge over competitors who don’t have any reviews at all.
Customer reviews matter — and not just for the business owner’s ego. Reviews and star ratings, posted to sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook and Google, help other customers make confident and informed decisions. A five-star review can give you just the edge you need over a similar company that doesn’t have any reviews to speak of. Plus, reviews are key signals to search engines, which means that getting a lot of reviews can make your brand more visible to Google users.
But actually getting those reviews is easier said than done. Consumers are often eager to provide ratings for a restaurant or hotel, but for whatever reason they seldom think to review other businesses or service providers. Yet business owners cannot take a passive approach. To get reviews, they must ask for them. But how can you ask for reviews in a way that will prove effective? In other words, how can you ask for reviews and actually get them?
A quick word before we get into specific strategies: Google actually encourages business owners to ask for reviews, so there is nothing dishonest about any of this. Yelp is a little more measured: They’re OK if you ask for reviews so long as you don’t incentivize it — i.e., you can’t pay someone off to leave you a good review.
Strategies for getting reviews
With that said, here are some steps you can take to ask for reviews and hope to actually get them:
- If at all possible, ask in person. This is especially effective if you have an employee who has spent a lot of time interacting with the customer. Once a relationship has been formed, you can ask politely for a review, express how much it would mean to you, and tell the person exactly where to provide their feedback. This is the most effective way to get reviews — the in-person ask.
- Here’s a little hack you might find useful: Establish a system where every time a customer leaves a review, their service representative is given a $10 “tip” from the company. Print it on your receipts: If you were pleased with my service today, consider leaving a review and the company will provide me with a $10 tip. Customers want to leave tips for good service, and this is a free way for them to do it.
- You can also provide customers with surveys to see how their experience was, and if you get a good survey, you can follow up with that customer via email and ask them directly to leave you a review. This pre-screening process is important, as it can prevent you from getting any bad reviews.
- More generally, just make sure your review sites are clearly visible to all your customers. Display it on your website, and on your receipts and invoices, as well. Email signatures also provide a good place to ask for feedback. Make it easy for people to provide their comments.
Your company can become well-reviewed on the internet, but you have to take initiative. Get organized, and start asking for those reviews today.
About the Author
Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic Inc., a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, California, and Dublin, Ireland.
Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects and often engages in content and social media marketing, drafts resumes, press releases, web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at www.grammarchic.net.