Competition is fierce in all of today's markets. It seems that for every problem a customer suffers from, there are a hundred local businesses clamoring to provide the solution. It can be extremely difficult to push ahead and continuously finish first. One way to do so is by amassing a large amount of online reviews and testimonials. Unfortunately, the natural tendency is to only post reviews when we're angry about a product or service - not when we're satisfied. So, how do you get your happy clients to take extra time out of their busy schedule to post a positive review?
Though you don't want to specifically request a positive review, you can encourage your customer's to give you honest feedback in exchange for discounts or rewards. We've all seen major retailers offering a chance to win Free iPads or $100 gift cards for doing customer surveys. It's possible to use the same technique to start an avalanche of reviews on sites like Yelp, Google My Business and Yahoo.
Recruit Loyal Customers
If you've already been in business for a few years, chances are that you have customers who you know were very satisfied and might have even become a repeat customer. Reach out to your best clients and simply ask them to post some honest reviews for your business. Explain that you are wanting feedback and that you are trying to engage more potential customers in the area who might also need your business. Chances are they will want to pay forward their appreciation for the help they have received and want you to be successful.
Make it Simple
When you do ask for reviews, don't just say "give us some reviews please." Make it easy for them. They are already taking time out of their day, it isn't necessary for them to spend two hours searching google for places to post a review. Choose a handful of sites that you believe will attract the most customers. Once you have your list you can post links on your website and print them up on a nice flyer for handing out.
Send Out Links in a Follow Up Email
Hopefully you have a way for your clients to sign up and join your mailing list. Doing so will allow you to reap many benefits. When a customer makes a purchase in your store, or schedules a service, send them a follow up email. This is useful for several reasons. Saying thank you after the fact is a very personal and sincere gesture. It's like receiving a thank you card in the mail after attending a wedding. It also gives you a chance to give your customers a coupon or discount on their next service and potentially gain a repeat sale. Make sure to include somewhere in the email that you encourage your customers to leave honest reviews, and list the sites where they can go. If you do choose to include an incentive, now would be the perfect time to let them know about it. The great thing about this method is that your client is already on the internet when their reading the email.
Your customers are much more likely to post reviews if you make it simple and rewarding enough to do so. Use the above suggestions to create a system for getting customer reviews. Eventually, it will become a seamless part of your workflow and daily business operations. Before long, you'll see a flood of positive reviews that will help boost your business.