Should I Be Asking Customers to Review My Small Business?

Laptop keyboard
Online reviews are a great way of amplifying your positive word-of-mouth

Online reviews aren’t just for hotels, holidays and Hollywood movies anymore – people are sharing their opinions on businesses big, medium and small.

It’s becoming the norm for people to tap away on their keyboard in order to let their feelings be known after they’ve experienced the service a business offers, whether that’s a kitchen design firm, garden landscaper or driving instructor.

So should you be asking your customers to review you online on sites like Yell?

Quick answer to this one… yes!

Think back to when you would visit a shop and see testimonials stuck up behind the counter, taking pride of place where everyone can see them. Online reviews are a bit like this, but even better. Because it’s not just people who come through the doors who will see them – it’s potentially every customer out there.

And they will see the review at a crucial stage – when they are considering which business is the right one for them.

So people are reviewing businesses, web users expect to see them and consumers are using them more and more to make buying decisions.They want reassurance that a business is real, people are using it and it’s trustworthy.

They are an extremely important tool when it comes to online marketing.

How can I use reviews to boost my business?

  • Make sure you are registered with sites that accept reviews. I mentioned Yell earlier, and there are lots of other ones out there. Google Places listings allow reviews of businesses too. This means if people search for what you do, or your company by name, the chances of you being found online are maximised.
  • Ask your loyal customers to review you and monitor sites for comments.
  • Start interacting! If you get a positive review, feel free to thank whoever left the post (most sites have the functionality), and if the review isn’t so positive ask the person how you can help make things right. This helps build trust even further with online communities, because you value good customer service and are showing it in the most public of arenas.

A quick word of warning

Don’t post reviews of your own business or counter other reviewers using a dummy account of some kind. It’s not difficult to see when this is happening and this will damage your online reputation. Some people look upon reviews with worry, and think that people only leave comments when they want to talk about a bad experience.

However, the average star rating on Yell for a business is around 3-4 stars out of 5.

Remember, there’s nothing to be afraid of when it comes to reviews of your business – people look favourably upon businesses who are comfortable speaking with customers online and prepared to deal with any problems head on.