Whether you work for a healthcare company, a nonprofit or professional services firm, the importance of online reviews cannot be understated. While word of mouth can be a powerful lead generation tool, today’s consumers are increasingly heading online to research businesses and products before pulling the trigger on both small and large purchases. 84 percent of adults read reviews when they research products and services, making it crucial for businesses to build up a strong listing of positive reviews.
Getting more online reviews for your business
While many marketers are aware of the important role reviews play in attracting new customers, figuring out how to get your current client base to leave reviews can feel daunting. Consider these three tactics to generate more reviews for your business:
1. Develop dedicated review collateral
Think about highly trafficked areas in your business and develop printed collateral that can be placed in these areas requesting reviews. For example, a doctor’s office might consider placing a poster asking for reviews in exam rooms where patients will likely see it while waiting for their physician. Keep collateral simple so that the key call to action, the request for your client to leave a review, stands out. Be sure to include the icons of any relevant review sites like Facebook, Google and any industry-specific review websites.
2. Create an automated email marketing cycle
Oftentimes it takes a few nudges to get a client to leave a review. Begin the process of requesting a review immediately after your first interaction with your client. For example, if you work with a nonprofit, consider developing an automated email newsletter that will be delivered 8 hours or less after contact. Thank your client for meeting with you and request that they take a few minutes to share their feedback. If the email is not opened or the link to leave a review is not clicked, set up automated workflows so that a follow up email is sent a few days later.
3. Incentivize your team to ask for reviews
When a client has a positive interaction with a member of your team, they are more likely to leave a review expressing their gratitude for the excellent service. Set up a contest to offer team members a tip or gift card for every positive review that mentions their name. Have your team members ask clients for a review and mention, “If you leave a positive review and mention my name, our company will give me a $10 tip.” The extra incentive encourages satisfied residents and family members to leave tips. This method also encourages team members to provide a high level of service and ask for reviews.
What to Say to Negative Online Reviews
While activating your existing client base to leave reviews is an important strategy for every business, managing negative reviews is also critical. Help Scout reports that 91 percent of consumers will not do business again with a company they leave a negative review for. However, if you resolve their complaint, 71 percent of those people will consider doing business with you again.
Receiving a few negative reviews is a guarantee and often is not the end of the world (even though it might feel like it at the moment.) Use these tips to constructively respond to negative reviews.
1. Respond immediately
Delaying your response may indicate to the reviewer and others that read the review that you do not care about their feedback. Aim to reply to all reviews within 24 hours or 48 hours at the most.
2. Focus on fixing the problem
While the negative review may feel personal, it is essential that you maintain objectivity and perspective. Getting into a back and forth fight with a reviewer does not serve your business, and may, in fact, deter others from working with you. Instead of engaging in a “he said, she said” battle, apologize for the client’s experience and focus your response on how you can either fix the problem or how you will do better in the future.
3. Take the conversation offline
It is important to remember that not only is the review public, but your response is also. The best strategy for minimizing the fallout from a negative review is to try to move the conversation offline where you can privately discuss the circumstances and work toward a resolution. After stating that you would like to remedy the situation, share your email and phone number with the reviewer and ask them to reach out to you. Doing so shows other potential clients that you are responsive and willing to make things right.
Online review sites have been gaining in popularity for years and are now an integral part of the consumer journey. It is essential that businesses invest in creating the resources to request reviews from clients on a regular basis. Managing negative reviews is critical to maintaining a strong digital reputation.