Have you Googled your business lately?
Do you have a Google business listing?
How about Yelp?
What about your Facebook Page?
Let's assume for a minute that you're all set up with those landing pages. How many 5 star reviews do you have on those pages? Do you have any visible complaints or a low score on any of the listings?
Reviews are gold. They are testimonials, real-life experiences, and give customers the ability to see your "business scorecard." Whether you think customers check these out or not, reviews are everywhere on the web.
When you go shopping on Amazon, you instantly look for 5-star reviews and positive customer experiences. Or, you scour through the negative responses and read about a product before you purchase.
When you are picking out your next dinner spot, you go on Yelp and start looking at pictures and reviews.
Reviews matter and the lack of reviews matter even more. You are hesitant to buy when you don't see any reviews. In this day in age, a lack of reviews
Consumers are not naturally incentivized to leave positive reviews. When you go through the drive-through at a fast food restaurant and you have a good experience, do you find yourself going online to review the restaurant? Probably not.
What about when you travel on an airline? Consumers don't naturally leave positive reviews because they expect good service. The ones that do leave great reviews understand the struggle businesses have.
But what about when it goes bad? Negative reviews go public when expectations are not met. It is more often when customers have a negative experience that they take it to the web to let others know.
Therefore as a business owner, it is entirely up to you to actively source positive reviews.
It's simple. You need to ask for reviews and ask often. Every single customer experience that goes well should have a post job task that asks for positive reviews. As a business owner, you should personally send out emails, calls, or texts asking for them. Make it personal and let your customers know they are helping you out. Customers like helping you out if they had a great experience.
It looks something like this:
"Hey John, thanks so much for ordering shirts last week. I hope your group enjoyed them. Do you mind leaving me a review on Yelp? I am actively trying to source positive reviews and your opinion matters"
You need to actively pick customers that you know will give you positive reviews, therefore you should be selecting from customers that had strong experiences with your business. If you are worried about it, it may not be advised to ask for a review, but rather for feedback.
Ask your customers to review on a specific site. You can rotate between Facebook, Yelp, or Google. It may look awkward if the same customer leaves a review on all the different sites, and review sites may see that as spam. Each month you can rotate to a different site, or rotate per job.
You want to have a strong presence on each site, but it needs to feel natural!
You can respond to all the reviews and show a public interaction between you and your customers. When someone leaves a positive review, take the time to go on the review, acknowledge it, thank them, and respond positively.
"John, we appreciate the kind words. Your order was great to print and we certainly hope your 5k event went well! We can't wait until next year"
We get it, negative reviews will happen. Not every customer experience is perfect. While you will definitely try your best to reduce these reviews, if they do happen, act professionally, and do not argue with customers via reviews. It does not look professional or respectful to try and prove a point via a review response. Instead, acknowledge it and seek a positive outcome.
"John, I apologize that you did not have a positive experience with our business. It is our goal to serve every customer to the best of our ability. Mistakes do happen and I want to do my best to solve the situation. Please call me XXX-XXX-XXXX here or email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can come up with the best possible solution"
It is very hard to bite your tongue when all you want to do is let the customer know how wrong they were. That will not solve your problem over the web. Be the bigger business.
If your easy fix is to message all your friends and have them leave positive reviews, that may seem fake. You don't want to mess this part up, so be very real about it because once a review is posted, it is very hard to take down.
You want as many reviews as possible and you can set your business apart from your competition if you are the companies with stellar reviews. Yelp, Facebook, and Google like it more when it sees that customers are interacting with you.
A good exercise is to make a list of your active competition and track their reviews to your reviews. If you have 3x, 10x, or 50x more reviews, you are doing yourself a massive favor that will leverage you against other businesses, permanently.
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