As the majority of people now rely on online search to decide which local services to purchase, it’s now vital for businesses to earn five-star Google reviews to distinguish themselves from the competition.
Today, 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
From a customer’s perspective, they can tell you a lot about a business: the type of service or experience they offer, how the staff behaves towards the clients, what the quality-price ratio is like, etc.
You can also learn a lot by looking at how businesses reply to their reviews, both the good and the bad ones. (If you haven’t already, here we give you a few hints about how you should reply to customers reviews).
But, for most businesses, knowing how to reply to customers reviews isn’t exactly the problem.
Instead, most business owners wonder: how do I get more Google reviews for my business in the first place?
Read on for a run-down of how to get more Google reviews from your customers.
It sounds like stating the obvious, but have asked your customers for Google reviews yet?
Most businesses still don’t. Yet most customers are willing to share their opinions or evaluate their experience with your business.
In fact, 68% of consumers left a local business review when prompted.
When you ask them to review you on Google, be sure to explain that is this valuable for your business and for building your online reputation.
Of course, you get best the results by prioritising those customers who you know are satisfied with your service.
In other words, there’s no reason to shoot yourself in the foot. So, if you can avoid it, avoid asking a person who you know is unhappy to review you on Google.
How you choose to ask for Google reviews depends on your activity and how you operate.
If you have an updated emails database (meaning more than 50 percent of your customers) then you should send a simple email asking your contacts to leave you a review, either on a third party site or on your website.
How quickly you send this email depends the type of service you provide. But generally it’s a good idea to systematically ask for review 3 to 5 days after the transaction took place.
You can even set up an automated email if you’re afraid to forget or have a large customer base. But don’t forget to add your personal touch as no one enjoys a sad, boring email asking for generic feedback.
If your business is not very email-oriented, opt for a more traditional approach (comment cards, phone calls, etc.) Also, don’t shy away from asking in person.
Most customers won’t mind the request; many will appreciate that you care.
To get more online reviews, your business needs to establish a presence where your customers can post them. Yelp and Facebook are consumers’ most trusted review sites (followed by Google). Social media such as Facebook or Linkedin also allow customers to evaluate your service.But you can collect testimonials anywhere — on your own website, or on an industry-specific site relevant to your business, wherever. The more the better.
If you want to know more about the different platforms where you can list your business, check them out here.
Remember: having a profile to get more online reviews means you may also need to reply to negative feedback. So make sure you keep an eye on these different platforms and respond promptly.
If you don’t want to leave anything to chance, you can send a direct link URL to the form for them to leave a review. This way, you reduce the risk of seeing your customer getting tired halfway through trying to figure out where to click or what to do with your link. Remember, the easier the process, the more likely your clients are to leave a review.
Plus, after they open the link, they’ll be prompted to leave five-star rating automatically
Creating a direct review link to your Google My Business review box prefilled with 5 stars is super easy, and it works regardless of whether you open it from a desktop, a smartphone or tablet.
Here’s the 5-step procedure to follow on a smartphone:
1. Open Google Chrome using the ‘incognito’ mode. This is to make sure you are not logged in when you create the direct review link so your username does not appear in the URL you send to clients.
2. Go to google.com and search for your business listing by typing its exact name.
3. Once you find your listing, scroll down to the ‘Review’ section. Process like if you wanted to rate your own business. Hit the fifth star – or any other star really, but remember that this will be the default rating in the direct review link you’ll send out, so the higher, the better.
4. You’ll land on a review screen once you select the five-star rating. It will then prompt you to log in, but you can just ignore it.
5. Press and hold on the URL bar until you get the ‘Copy’ option. Hit the button, and here is the link you can email to yourself or your clients.
Include this link in your email signature or weekly newsletter for instance.
Now, you may find that, even though you set up a business profile and kindly asked for reviews, your customers may still not do it. In this case, you may want to spark some interest by offering an incentive.
But be be wary of this strategy. In particular, third-party such as Yelp and Trustpilot have strict rules about how business owners can ask for reviews.
In other words, if you offer an incentive to leave your business a review, these sites may penalise you. You could completely lose any reviews you already earned by asking for more. So what do you do?
Instead of incentivising the reviews themselves, try incentivising more sales with discounts or other promotions.
When you have more customers, more people will see your email when you mention they can leave an online review — don’t ask for it directly, but simply inform them they can.