Online business reviews have become an important resource for consumers on the lookout for new services. With so many businesses in the market today, people are blessed and burdened by choice. As a result, they’re turning to company reviews by other customers to help them navigate their options, using this sneak peek into the experiences of others to assess which provider suits their needs.
Young people — 18-34-year-olds in particular — are so influenced by customer reviews, that 91 percent say that they trust online business reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation. They also read an average of 10 before being able to trust a local business.
In 2019, Genbook conducted a survey on consumers’ online booking habits and found that 93.9 percent of survey participants would consult Google reviews or Yelp reviews. What’s more, 85.2 percent would consult social media reviews when considering a new service provider.
5 ways to encourage online business reviews
Suffice it to say that online business reviews are
kind of a very big deal. If you’re not actively encouraging your clients to write them, you’re leaving a ton of money on the table.
Here are some of the ways to get your customers to share their feedback about your business.
1. Ask for online business reviews in person
Catching happy customers when they’re physically in your shop is the best time to remind them to give you a review. As you’re finishing up with a client, always remember to request for a review if they haven’t written one yet.
A casual, “no pressure” approach should do the trick. Try something along the lines of…
Customer: I love my new haircut! Thank you so much!
You: Glad you like it! You know, those types of comments really help us out on sites like Google and Yelp. Would you mind writing us a review to tell others about your experience?
Customer: For sure!
Now, if you’re not too comfortable making the ask or if the right opportunity doesn’t come up, you could still bring up Google reviews or Yelp reviews before the customer checks out. Instruct your cashier or receptionist to politely ask for reviews. That way, if the client is satisfied with the service, they’ll be reminded on their way out.
2. Display signage
Not a fan of asking for reviews in person? Choose to display in-store signage instead. Set up signs that go on your door, mirrors, and on the checkout counter. Doing so will subtly remind your patrons to rate and review your business online.
The good news is that the top review platforms and communities — including Google, Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor all have branded assets that you can display in your venue. Each site has a specific process for these materials.
On TripAdvisor, you can request for free stickers by going to the site’s Sticker Request page and then looking up your property on the search box.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for more Google reviews, you can request or download ready-to-print posters and stickers from the Google My Business Marketing Kit.
Facebook, on the other hand, lets you access printable (albeit generic) stickers and table tents using this file.
Yelp’s process is a little different. The site automatically sends out “People Love Us on Yelp” stickers to qualifying businesses twice a year, though you can request for a “Find Us on Yelp” sticker using this form.
You can also download Yelp’s digital toolkit or create your own materials through Vistaprint. Learn more about Yelp’s procedure here. Once you have your materials, you can start raking more Yelp reviews in no time!
3. Follow up with clients after their visit
Since the booking process typically includes capturing your clients’ contact details (i.e., phone number and/or email), you already have the means to get in touch with them. Make it a point to follow-up with your customers a few days after their visit to see how they’re doing. From there, send a friendly reminder to review their experience.
Want to save time? Automate the follow-up process using an appointment management system like Genbook. Our solution collects feedback from your customers after their appointments, which you can then share on social media and Google Search.
4. Leverage social media
When a social media user follows or likes a business on Instagram or Facebook it is because they actually like that business. This makes social media a prime spot to reach out to previous customers and fans to ask them for support.
You can run a campaign or simply schedule a post calling out to the community for support and letting them know how much you value them and would appreciate them sharing if they like what you do. This also allows you to direct them to the site of choice, whether it is Google, Yelp, or directly on the social media platform the request is made.
Krystal English, a stylist at Nolas Salon does this well. On Instagram, she recently posted a glowing review that she received, along with a caption encouring her followers to write reviews. “Please make sure you all leave a review for your service provider on any avenue whether it be Facebook, Yelp, Google or in our case for people who schedule online, Genbook,” she wrote.
Do something similar on your social channels. Craft a few posts telling your fans and followers how much you value their feedback. Doing so could be just the thing to get them to share their own customer reviews.
5. Rewards for reviews
One strategy sure to motivate your clients is to incentivize them to submit a review. Consider rolling out an initiative that rewards customers for submitting online business reviews. You could, for example, offer a reward such as 10 percent off their next visit, a free product, or whatever is feasible for the business. It is worth experimenting with this and changing your offer to see what generates the best responses.
Remember that the objective is not to influence customers to leave positive reviews. The goal is just to encourage customers to leave online business reviews, and the service you’ve supplied should ensure they are positive. It’s extremely important to be careful about how this strategy is delivered, as you don’t want to appear to be bribing customers. Such actions can get you kicked off of platforms like Yelp!
Be mindful of the language and simply say that you would love feedback or a review, don’t use any language that appears to suggest you would like positive reviews or feedback, as this could be a breach of terms for some sites.
After the reviews are in
Once the reviews start flooding in, it’s worth thinking about how to use them.
Positive reviews can be used in your promotional marketing efforts. Some businesses will share their entire review page to encourage others to share feedback and also to show-off the positive things previous customers have had to say. Another simple option is to print screen great reviews and share them on social media or use them in your email campaigns as an example of what others had to say about your services.
Negative reviews also have a lot of value. The comments people make can be used to learn about opportunities to improve, and taking the time to respond to negative reviews shows the people that you genuinely care about their feedback. This, in turn, prompts more clients to check out your business. You can also use responding to negative reviews as an opportunity to ask for another chance to impress disastisfied customers.
Online business reviews have the power to completely quash the success of a business, or give it the grit to rise far above its competitors. But success through customer reviews does not come by chance. It is by design, and a lot of hard work! It’s essential to constantly deliver quality service in your business while managing how your brand is being discussed online.
Implementing the strategies above is the simplest and most effective way to start generating online business reviews for your business, transforming how you’re found online, how many people make bookings and whether they continue to come back.