How to Request and Leverage Customer Reviews

In the current marketing environment, few marketing strategies are as effective as positive customer reviews for your business. According to a study, 85% of people surveyed trust online reviews as much as they trust a recommendation from a personal acquaintance – and personal recommendations rank higher than any other type of business advertising.

To take advantage of the enormous influence positive peer recommendations have on potential new customers, here are tips to help you prompt customer reviews and use them to their full potential to attract new business.

Encourage happy customers to leave a review

Don’t assume your customers know that you’d love to have them leave online reviews about your business, or even that they know where to leave a review.

Some of the more mainstream sites that publish customer reviews are Google My Business and Yelp. Your Facebook business page also provides online locations for reviews. Your industry may also have specialized review sites. You can create links to these review sites on your website homepage where they are most visible to online customers.

An upbeat, friendly request lets customers know how valuable positive reviews are to your business and how easy it would be for them to help your business thrive. If you meet customers in person, ask if they’d like to review their purchase. For sales, you might follow up with a repeat customer by sending an email that invites them to review their purchase–and provides a direct link to the review site.

Make it easy for people to leave a review.

One of the biggest reasons customers don’t leave reviews is that they’re too busy to take the time. You can remove that obstacle by providing a direct link to your review pages; for example, on Google, Yelp, etc. Provide instructions and examples of how to write a review and upload it to these sites. Be sure to state reviewing their purchase will only take a few minutes of their time.

You can communicate this information via an email campaign or in a note with invoices or receipts. If you send online receipts, you can add a link directly to the review site where you’d like them to contribute.

If customers engage with your business at a physical location, print small cards with your review request and leave them by the check-out counter.

Respond to your reviews.

A good way to encourage customers to leave reviews is for you to respond with gratitude and appreciation for their praise of your business.

Use social media posts to prompt informal reviews

If you have an active customer community on Facebook or Instagram, your posts can engage your customers and their comments serve as indirect recommendations for your business. Here’s an example of how a custom cake baker gets unsolicited endorsements. She posts images of her personalized cakes and tags the customer. Often the customer will comment on how beautiful and delicious it was.  Since the baker is posting nearly every day, potential customers who view her Instagram account will find abundant “social proof” that this baker offers a superb product.

Don’t get defensive when you receive a critical review.

Monitor your social channels so you know what customers are saying about your business. There are many reasons people leave negative reviews, and some of those may be outside your control. However, some negative reviews can be an opportunity for improvement.  If you find a negative review on a platform that allows you to respond to the review, take the high road and ask that the reviewer contact your business directly so you can work to resolve their issue offline. Don’t get into a long explanation online.

Surface positive reviews.

Once you have received positive reviews, you’ll need to make them visible wherever customers engage with your business they will see your positive reviews. For example, if your business gets a review on Google, quote that review in an ad, social media post, on your website, or in an email campaign.

Learn more about how leadership coaching might apply to your business:

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