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How to Gain Reviews Without Becoming “That” Person

Written by: Sarah Martisek

 

The hunt for reviews

There is no magic way for a business owner to obtain reviews. No magic amount of direct mailers, social media efforts or advertising can impact a customer the way an objective peer review can. In a world of self-expressive social media, it is not what you say about your business as much as what others have to say about it.

In a survey conducted by Dimensional Research and sponsored by Zendesk, 90 percent of people said that a positive online review influenced their buying decisions, and 86 percent said their consumer decisions were also impacted by negative reviews.

With all of this emphasis placed on obtaining online reviews for your business, how comfortable are you with soliciting reviews from customers?

Asking customers to leave reviews can be a delicate process. Many business owners fear they can come off as annoying, thus changing a once happy customer’s tune.

Here is how to overcome the awkward courtship that can be conquered with seven simple steps:

It’s not complicated.

Make your review process as easy as possible for the customer by providing them with the tools and resources. For example, include the direct links to your review accounts in multiple places like a thank you or follow-up email.

Spread the love.

Be present on multiple review sites because this is not a one “site” fits all process. Some of the popular sites are Google reviews, Yelp, Angie’s list, and Yahoo Local.

Be honest.

Don’t be shy about asking for reviews, it is the world we live and a part of doing business these days. Be open as possible when expressing to a customer something like, “Your opinion is valued by us and other customers, so we would be grateful if you could take a few moments and leave a review about your experience.”

Walk the line with incentives.

It can be argued that incentives should be avoided at all costs because they can persuade a customer to leave only positive reviews. Many do appreciate the extra effort put into an incentive for their time and efforts, whether it is good or bad. To avoid seeming like you are stacking the deck make sure it is a small incentive and that you ask for a “review” and not lead the idea of good reviews only.

Consider the customer.

A lot of “Millennials” have grown up with technology and are already savvy and used to the practice of leaving online reviews.  If you are asking a 30-something to leave a review this may turn them off. Giving a little extra nudge on leaving a review is encouraged as they may not be familiar with the process.

Your #1 fan.

A person that cares about your business enough to take the time and leave a review can be your largest asset. Think about how you can further this relationship your new “brand ambassador.” For example, nothing says sincere like a well-produced video testimonial from real people that can be added to a website.

NEVER ignore NEGATIVE.

Negative reviews are a part of business and should never be left without an official response. How you handle a negative review speaks volumes on how you may run your company. If you listen and address the negativity you may have a chance of turning an unhappy customer into your newest brand ambassador.

Final Thoughts:

If you hire a 3rd party company to help handle your online presence, make sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck. By responding to suggestions and meeting with them regularly, you will cultivate a relationship that sparks creativity and improvements. It will be reflected in your company online and offline.

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