How to get more online customer reviews
If you run an online business, you surely understand how crucial it is to generate reviews and get positive feedback from your customers. This is particularly important for local businesses, but not only. For example, online stores also need positive reviews to drive more traffic. Consumers trust online reviews and are more willing to work with a company that has lots of positive Google reviews or Yelp reviews. That’s why, in this article, you will discover eight ways of gathering online reviews effectively. We will also show you crucial review sites that are your must-have no matter what kind of business or website you have. Let’s get right to it!
Without a doubt, online ratings have an impact on the way customers perceive your company. And that’s not just our opinion. Let’s have a look at one comprehensive study that offers some up-to-date information on that.
Online reviews – social proof in action
In 2022, BrightLocal.com conducted an interesting study on online reviews. Here are the most important findings:
- 98% of customers read online reviews for local businesses
- 34% of respondents only leave positive reviews
- 7% of respondents only leave negative reviews
Furthermore, 80% said that it was “likely” or “highly likely” to leave a review if the company turned their initial negative experience into a positive one. This means that even if something goes wrong, customers will appreciate your efforts to make things right! Think of every negative review as an opportunity to learn something and improve your offer or customer service.
You have to understand that people are really eager to read online reviews. When asked how often they read online reviews (concerning local businesses), 34% said “always”, and 43% answered “regularly”. Only 2% of respondents said they never do that! Therefore, you really have to put effort into your online business reviews.
BrightLocal.com also asked about the types of business where customers pay the most attention to online reviews. The results are as follows:
- 84% – service-area businesses
- 83% – care services
- 82% – healthcare
Of course, this doesn’t mean that online reviews don’t matter in other businesses. We believe it’s always essential to drive more happy customers and encourage them to share their positive customer reviews.
Where to gather more reviews
The already cited study mentions three crucial sources of online reviews. Here they are:
These three reviews sites are Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook. And the truth is, that’s enough. In general, it’s better to have 20 positive reviews on the Google My Business website than 30 spread across multiple places and channels. It’s the same story with Yelp and Facebook. Concentrate on these three places, and you’re good to go.
After all, it is unlikely that customers will be highly interested in other sources, as these three are the ones where they conduct a local search. Putting your marketing efforts to other third-party sites won’t get you far, especially when you run a small business.
Of course, there are some types of online business where other sources are also important, but that’s just an exception to every rule. For example, marketing and IT companies frequently want to generate reviews on Clutch.co. Perhaps in your particular business niche, there are other third-party sites that help your online reputation. Either way, you can’t neglect these three fundamental sources of quality reviews.
So far, we have established that online reviews are immensely important (especially positive online reviews!) and where you should gather them. Now, it’s time to answer the crucial question – what can you do to get more reviews?
Customer feedback – how to generate reviews
We made a list of eight ways to collect reviews in these three sources. How can you encourage customers to leave more good reviews? Let’s have a look.
That’s the most straightforward and effective way to generate reviews. All you have to do is ask your current customers to leave a review. How can you do that? There are a few options:
- In-person (when a customer walks into your store or service point)
- Via email
- Via social media
- On a receipt
The last option is especially interesting because it’s non-intrusive. However, there is always a risk that many of your customers will throw these receipts away without reading them. That’s why it might be better to say something like “we encourage you to leave a short review online!” every time you give the receipt or change.
If you communicate with your customers over the phone or via email, use these channels to ask for more reviews. Don’t call them just to say that; just work this request into the next conversation or message.
Here, it’s all about the proper message. You could say something like that:
We would like to kindly ask you to share your opinion about working with us. We value what you think about our services. Please leave a review on our Google/Yelp/Facebook profile.
Quick, short, and effective. If you want to say something more, you can add that online reviews help you improve your services and that your prospective customers appreciate them as well. For many of your site visitors, that’s a sufficient reason to write a sentence or two.
Automated review requests
You can use them to automatically ask customers to leave reviews, e.g., in every thank-you message or in the parcel-tracking email. This way, you don’t have to remember about asking every customer for their feedback, and you can save a lot of time. Just make sure that you use these automated review requests only to reach your actual users that have placed at least one order in the past.
Review buttons and widgets
Many websites have buttons leading to a Google My Business website or a Facebook page. Such a button can be placed in the footer or in a section with other customers’ opinions. This way, customers have a convenient way to leave a review, and they can feel encouraged to do that. There are also many platforms that offer a reviews feature so that your users can easily share positive reviews. Google has even taken one step further. When you open a new Google My Business account, you receive a letter with a confirmation code and a free sticker that you can place on the storefront. As a result, you can ask customers to leave reviews without saying one word!
Use a chatbot
More and more customers eagerly use chatbots to communicate with companies. Because these intelligent assistants are increasingly effective, the customer experience related to them is continually going up. If you have a chatbot or a voicebot, why wouldn’t you add a simple feature to ask new customers to leave reviews? Such a simple customer interaction can be very effective, especially for a younger audience familiar with the way chatbots work. Bear in mind that sometimes chatbots can even be useful for customer acquisition, so it’s a clear win-win situation.
Display reviews and answer them
Granted, it’s not a direct way to ask a potential customer to leave a great review, but it can encourage many people to share their thoughts. In short, it’s all about displaying your current reviews in a visible place on your website and social media profiles. This way, you show both customers and search engines that you value word of mouth.
It’s also important to answer every review, especially when you get some negative feedback. Don’t be angry with your customers, don’t blame them (of course, this does not apply to a situation when someone leaves a fake review). Instead, you can thank them for their feedback and promise that you will try to do better in the future. This way, you show that you are mature and reliable and that you appreciate each online review, even the bad one.
Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. But they do expect you to be mature. Show that in the way you treat negative reviews.
If you run Google or Facebook ads, you can use them to ask for more reviews. You could create a campaign directed just to people who already bought something from you, asking them to share their opinion. You have to remember that people generally like to write reviews. They just need to be reminded about that possibility. Many of us don’t have much time, and we tend to forget about things, especially those that are not on our “front burners”.
We have to get one thing straight – we disapprove of buying fake reviews. It’s a detrimental practice that’s simply unfair to competitors that gather reviews from real customers. But there’s nothing wrong with offering some small incentives and discounts for leaving a real opinion. Many stores offer one-time free delivery for each review. It’s a good idea. You could offer something similar, e.g., a promo code or an extended return period. Other places, e.g., restaurants, can provide free wi-fi access in return for a positive opinion. It doesn’t have to be anything substantial (it even shouldn’t!); after all, leaving just one opinion is not a lot to ask. Especially given that usually, you can expect a positive review.
Work with local bloggers and influencers
The last idea is to get in touch with some local influencers and bloggers and ask them to drop by your local company and leave a review. Of course, not everyone will agree to do that for free, but coverage in local blogs can give your business a real boost. What’s important here is to look for influencers interested in your business sector (at least to some extent). Asking fashion bloggers to write about your printing house is not necessarily a good idea. Think of the ways to attract them to your business. Perhaps you will be able to come up with some creative ideas for mutually beneficial cooperation?
Summary: Get new reviews and do that wisely
To sum up, remember these essential lessons:
- Customers value good reviews. They can even help you get higher in local search results.
- Concentrate on Google, Facebook, and Yelp. These three sources are perfectly sufficient.
- Ask and encourage customers to share their feedback. In this article, you have a list of eight useful ways of getting more reviews. See which one will work best in your case.
- Play fair and don’t buy reviews. Even if it takes more time, it’s better to grow business the right way.
If you need help with getting more reviews in your company, our team is at your service! At Rank Higher Agency, our role is to help our clients thrive online. We will help you create and execute a strategy that will get you more online traffic and more positive reviews. Drop us a line to find out more about our offer.