73% of consumers are more likely to choose a business that has online reviews compared to a business that has none. (Source: Critical Research Ltd, 2017)
In business, word of mouth is the holy grail of brand awareness; and in our increasingly connected online world, third party online review sites are worth their weight in gold – if we do say so ourselves! Sites like Yell.com, Google My Business, TripAdvisor, and TrustPilot provide ample opportunity to gather and publicise meaningful feedback from previous customers.
However, it can be tricky to maintain a steady flow of new incoming reviews, especially considering that nearly three quarters (73%) of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant any more (Source: BrightLocal, 2016).
So what’s a company to do? If your reviews pages are in need of some attention, check out these 11 ways to encourage a steady influx of feedback.
1. Simply Ask!
This is the simplest and most straightforward way to get the reviews pouring in. Research shows that 42% of consumers are more likely to leave a review for a business if they are specifically asked to do so (Source: Critical Research Ltd, 2017). Take the time to contact recent customers to politely ask for a few words; a simple, personal letter or email is all you need to reach out to each customer. Thank them for choosing your organisation and politely ask if they would be so kind as to leave you a review. Always provide instructions on how to leave a review for all relevant sites to make the process as straightforward as possible. This little tip works for virtually any business.
2. Make it Super Easy
Even if you ask customers for reviews in the nicest possible way, if the reviewing process is tricky to complete, they might drop out part-way through. Therefore, always provide clear instructions on how to leave a review, and favour review platforms that are easy to use. Actually thinking of something to say can be a stumbling block for some people, so it may be helpful to give them a suggested template or some prompting questions such as “why did you choose us over another company?”, “what made you decide on the product you chose?”, and “what was it about the experience that made you choose to review us?”.
3. Have a Presence on a Choice of Review Sites
It can be hugely beneficial for companies to have a presence on multiple sites – not just from a local SEO perspective, but also for the sake of people giving reviews. If you’re only accepting reviews through one site, you’re effectively demanding customers review through that platform alone. For example, if you only provide the option to review through Facebook, you immediately turn away those who don’t like Facebook, those who don’t have a Facebook account, and those who would much rather use a different platform. Asking for reviews is effectively asking people for a favour, so it’s polite to let people choose what platform is most comfortable for them to do so.
4. Publicise Your Review Status
If you rely on storefront appeal, many review sites (Yell.com included) allow listed companies to order promotional materials that publicise their listing and encourage people to read and leave reviews. This can take the form of window stickers, vehicle stickers, point of sale collateral, and postcards.
5. Point of Sale Calls to Action
If possible, you could print appropriate review links on till receipts, ready for customers to share their thoughts after an in-store transaction. This can work especially well when you train your staff to briefly but politely ask for a review with every sale, highlighting how online reviews help you out as a business.
6. Review Requests Alongside Deliveries
In a similar vein to the above suggestion, those who run ecommerce businesses could include a postcard with each delivery, prompting the customer to leave a review with instructions on how to do so.
7. Ask for Reviews Following Support Incidents
If your line of work calls for online support through chat and support ticket functionality, you may be able to include an automatic prompt asking for a review once each incident concludes. Even though the customer has had an issue, they may be over the moon that your team were able to put things right for them – an opportune time for them to share their gratitude.
8. Run a Prize Draw!
You MUST make sure you’re operating within the law when you run a prize draw, but they can be an interesting and fun way to spur on fresh reviews. To give an example, you might want to state that any previous customer who leaves a review on a set platform between two given dates is included in a prize draw for a money off voucher. Always provide thorough terms and conditions for every draw, and never pay for reviews. Further information available from the ASA website.
9. Don’t Forget Social Media!
Social media can be a great way to find happy customers to leave reviews. There are a couple of ways you can go about asking for reviews over social media; the most direct is to periodically post links to your review listings, asking previous customers to share their thoughts if they haven’t already. Alternatively, you could keep an eye out for mentions of your brand over social media (which is good practice anyway); when someone talks about your company in a positive way, approach them for a review with a link to your review pages.
10. Visibly Respond to Reviews
76% of consumers believe it’s important that businesses respond to issues raised in reviews. (Source: Critical Research Ltd, 2017)
Though it may not be a method of attracting new reviews per se, it is an important part of making your review pages seem a welcoming place. If your company posts a response to all reviews – both good and bad – it shows that your company genuinely cares about the customer experience and is willing to help even after money has changed hands. Respond to each review by thanking each reviewer for their time, echoing any particularly good feedback, and offering a method of escalating complaints if they have any. Check out our previous post about How to Professionally Respond to Online Reviews and How to Turn Negative Reviews into Positive Experiences.
11. Make Space on Your Website for Reviews
It’s important that reviews have some kind of a presence on your own website. You may wish to have a “reviews” or “testimonials” page on your site to highlight your best reviews from third party sites – each linking back to the original review. If this kind of page wouldn’t work within your site, you could alternatively include a link in your website footer to publicise your presence on review sites and to encourage new reviews.
Some Additional Advice
Whatever you do to bring in the reviews, be sure you’re doing it in a consistent and timely manner.
Once you decide on methods to encourage reviews, be sure to incorporate them into your average routine so they’re a matter of course when dealing with every single customer, and the question of leaving a review never gets forgotten. Don’t be afraid to try a few methods out and run with the ones that gain you the best response.
It’s also important to make your requests for reviews timely – you want to reach out to the customer when they’re at their highest potential level of satisfaction. Strike while the iron is hot – you don’t want the moment to pass undocumented!
Speaking of timeliness, did you know there’s now a Yell for Business app so you can request reviews and manage your listing while you’re out and about? This fab free app allows you to amend your business’s crucial details, add media to your Yell Business profile and respond to reviews all through your mobile or tablet – great for businesspeople on the go! It’s easy to use, and available for both iOS and Android, so check it out today!How do you approach customers to ask for reviews? Let’s look at 11 ways... Click To Tweet
What inventive ways can you think of to encourage reviews from happy customers? Do you already use a method that we’ve not included on this list? Are there any suggestions here that you’re going to try? Please share your opinions down in the comments!