Before we discuss how to gain reviews, let’s explore why online reviews are important. We say this often, but the buying cycle has changed. Online reviews of your products, services, and businesses are available to any potential customer with the click of a button. Reviews are a key step in the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) buying cycle.
According to VendAsta, 80% of consumers research your business before walking in your door. What they are saying about you has a direct effect on your ability to gain new customers. Smart businesses are able to take control of their reviews to increase customer satisfaction and bring in new ones.
The first thing you need to do to gain online reviews is to claim your listings on review sites. Anyone can create a listing for your business and leave a review across the web, whether you know it is there or not. Potential social media platforms and review sites to start with, depending on your industry, include Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato, Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau, Amazon Customer Reviews, Glassdoor, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also create a page on your website for customers to leave reviews and testimonials.
After you have decided where you would like your reviews to be found, the next step is to ask for them. You can do this directly through your website either as a link to an internal review page, or as a link to one or more external review sites. Try sending follow up emails to customers and ask that they review you on your preferred sites. You can even add links to review sites to your business cards, or offer incentives for reviews left for you.
Once you ask for a review, be sure to follow up! If you claim your listing, not only do you have the ability to be notified when someone leaves a review, you are also able to respond to reviews, in gratitude for a good review, or as an extension of your customer service if you are left a negative review. For those positive reviews, be sure to like, favorite, and share them with others to spread the word, and encourage more reviews. If you have a negative review, don’t sweat. No one’s perfect. Keep in mind that 95% of unhappy customers will return if you help solve their issue, according to Lee Resource Inc. Potential customers tend to be more concerned with seeing how a company responds and resolves a problem than the fact there was a problem in the first place.
Gaining online reviews is a great way to add a personal interaction with your customers, which oftentimes leads to business loyalty. Conversations about your business are happening online right now. Be a part of it, and get those reviews!