It's no secret reviews are the lifeblood of getting more business. Reviews and ratings have been instrumental to me and my career for years.
Related: How Online Customer Reviews Help SEO and Drive Sales Growth
Everyone knows reviews are important; so then why do so few actually take the time to create a strategy to capture the reviews consistently? If you work in any local or service-focused business, you can't afford to not get reviews from every client you serve. And if your business sells products online, you've got to ensure every place your product is sold has high-quality reviews.
Here are five best practices for getting more reviews now:
1. Ask for the review early.
Setting expectations from the start is vital to a smooth and successful transaction. Realtors set the expectation of the sales process when meeting with sellers. Insurance brokers set expectations of how quickly policies issue. Doctors set expectations of when test results get back.
It's during the process of setting expectations that true professionals talk through the closing of the transaction and make the first ask for a review. Before the transaction even takes place, professionals will ask for the customer's commitment to providing a review or testimonial.
The script is simple and goes something like this: "My promise is to provide you with professional and caring service and make the life insurance buying process as easy as possible. I ask that after we get you your policy, you write an honest review of the services I've provided. Would you be willing to do that?"
Be sure to remind your customers when you've closed the transaction of their promise to leave a review. No one likes going back on one's commitment, and this is a great way to ensure your customers follow through on theirs.
2. Ensure satisfaction every step of the way.
You just learned that it's important to ask for the review early. Ask early and hope they write the review?
During the process of your transaction, there may be several stages. For an example, we'll keep it simple. Let's say it goes something like this:
- Order placed
- Successful delivery
- Process concludes
In this example, there are four opportunities to get feedback directly from the customer and to ask for that review. Here are a few short scripts you can use for each of those stages:
- "And when we get your insurance set up, the last thing I'll need from you is to leave a review. Can you do that for me?"
- "We've got the process started! By the way, have you thought about who you want to refer me to, to help next?"
- "Congrats! We're just one week away from finalizing everything. As promised, this should go smoothly for you. I know we're a week out, but could you leave a review of today?"
- "Woo hoo! That's it. I'm so excited for you. Remember when we started we both made a few promises to each other? Only thing I need from you now is to leave a review. Can you do that this afternoon?"
It might feel like a lot to ask people to do something four times. But, here's the thing -- we're all busy. Very busy! Your customers are well-meaning, but they may forget.
Put the focus on your customer, but don't be shy about asking what you need from them. Your business depends on it.
3. Leverage automation.
For those doing business face-to-face with clients, asking for the review at multiple phases throughout a transaction may seem easier than those who never actually meet their customers. This is where automation comes into play. There's automation for email services, social media, lead generation and even customer service. So, why not automate how you earn more reviews online from your customers?
There are a plethora of services to help you automate the process of collecting customer feedback and reviews. These services include TrustPilot, eKomi and ShopperApproved.
Automated services don't replace your personalized touch. They won't guarantee five-star reviews or that your customers will actually leave reviews for you anywhere. If you develop a well-thought-out system you need to ask for reviews and set up your software solutions to do the asking for you, you'll begin to see a wave of new reviews while being able to focus on your business.
Related: 6 Reasons Why Amazon Product Reviews Matter to Merchants
4. Use rich snippets to display reviews in search results.
This tip is a little more technical and lesser-known but can pay you back in big ways. Don't worry, you don't need to be a developer to take advantage of this tactic.
You'll want to be using either a plugin, app or markup directly from Schema.org to help Google identify both text reviews and star ratings. This is very important because your ratings and reviews will then display in search results.
So, when a customer is searching for the top painter in town and your website displays, the customer will also see reviews and ratings from your website directly inline on the Google search results pages.
Related: 6 Ways to Make Online Reviews Work for Your Business
5. Ask five-star reviewers to cross-post their reviews.
So you've hit the jackpot! Your customer was thrilled with how you handled the transaction. He's gone to your website and left you a fantastic review. And now you're done, right?
Well, if you're OK with average, then you can call it a day. If you really want to be known as a five-star service provider, then there's still one more ask to make.
Your client has made it known he is a super fan. Reach out and thank him for his review and ask him to go the extra mile and leave the same review on additional third-party review sites.
It's important to get additional reviews on websites such as Google, Yelp, Facebook and the Better Business Bureau. There are a few other websites that have caught on in the last few years as well, such as Capterra and G2Crowd. The great thing about reviews on these sites is that they display prominently on search engine results pages.
Put it into action.
Be sure to make your asks count. Be specific and respectful to your customers. Only ask your customers to leave reviews on sites that future customers will be using to evaluate you and your company. It'd be a shame to get a bunch of five-star reviews that are not relevant to your industry or service.
There's little magic involved in earning a great reputation online with positive, five-star reviews. If you make getting reviews a priority, then you'll begin to reap the rewards of five-star reviews.