According to an annual Local Consumer Review Survey by search agency Bright Local, 86% of consumers (including 95% of people aged 18-34) read reviews for local businesses. Awesome, you say, we had lots of reviews last year, so we’re good to go. Maybe not. The same survey showed that 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written within the past 2 weeks.
Not many will argue the importance of reviews as a factor in buying decisions. But you can’t just sit back and expect reviews to appear as if by magic. If you want something, the best way to get it is to ask for it. The same holds true with reviews.
Ask in person
Assuming that you’ve established a good relationship with your customer and they’ve had a positive experience in your store, you have the perfect opportunity to casually mention to them about leaving a review.
You can get fancy, create cards, signs, or whatever else you can drum up, almost nothing beats asking. You might go with something like: “We are glad you came in today. If you wouldn’t mind leaving us a review on Google, Facebook, or Yelp, that would be awesome! Those reviews help us know how we did today and let others know whether or not you enjoyed your experience.”
Play with your pitch — you’ll find something that works for you. You’ll also find that people are more willing than you might think to provide you with feedback and reviews — they just need to be prompted.
Ask in an email
Email is one of the most popular and effective ways to request feedback from customers and get more online reviews.
It’s not that difficult to run your first campaign. Simply collect your customers’ email addresses, preferably at the point of sales, maybe giving something away, like a pack of papers, for those willing to supply their email address. Keep the emails short and concise, and when you write your message, be sure to sign it with the name of your store (or even the name of your manager) to make it more personal. And don’t forget to add a link to the page where you’d like them to post a review.
If you’re looking to make the process a real no-brainer, ReviewTrackers’ Ask Tool (www.reviewtrackers.com) is one of the most use-friendly ways to generate reviews. Featuring powerful surveying capabilities, it allows you to create and send emails or text messages to entice customers to give their reviews.
The tool’s Smart Suggest feature, meanwhile, helps you identify the review sites where you can benefit (in terms of search visibility and online reputation) from getting more reviews.
Ask for feedback (even if its negative)
You can’t make every customer happy. Negative reviews can seem like the end of the world, and ultimately you want more good reviews than bad, stop for a second and think about the last time you looked at a page with not one single negative remark —- a ton of positive reviews can look suspicious because, try as you might, nobody is perfect.
A recent survey on the Power of Reviews (tinyurl.com/ybtx7rl2) revealed that 85% of consumers specifically look for negative reviews in order to make informed buying decisions. Why? Because bad reviews give customers a sense of the worst-case scenario — they want to know what can go wrong to understand just how much it will matter to them.
Don’t hesitate to respond to negative reviews — by publicly engaging, you’re creating a dialogue to connect with the customer and address the issue. Accepting negative reviews with grace is key — often people just want to feel heard. And responding to a negative review won’t just keep your customers loyal, it actually may get you some new business.
According to Bazaarvoice, consumers are 186% more likely to buy a product after seeing a business or brand respond in a positive manner in order to resolve a negative situation. Those same potential new customers were 92% more likely to buy after seeing the business offer a refund, upgrade, or exchange.