Every time a consumer searches for a product online, they encounter review sites that tell them which products are best or which companies are the most reliable. They see how your small business measures up to its competitors in price, quality, customer service, and anything else previous customers want to share about their experience with you. They see you in the press (both good and bad) and they notice how you handle negative reviews.
When you enter your company name in a search engine, are you happy with the results that come up? If you see areas that need improvement, try these tips to promote small business growth with online reviews.
Join the Club
Create a professional profile for your company on all the review sites, and if you don’t already have social media working for you, join those sites too. Designate an employee to manage your posts, reviews, and online customer interactions, as well as keeping all the company information up to date.
Assess Your Strengths & Weaknesses
What does your online presence currently look like? What areas can you improve? Where do you shine? Get to work immediately on resolving any issues you come across. Use your strong areas as a starting point for posting positive content.
Ask for Reviews
One of the best ways to get more reviews and ratings is by asking the customer directly. Send them a quick email after they make a purchase asking them what they thought of their experience. You can even send out an email to people who are already on your mailing list to see if they would be interested in providing feedback.
Brag & Give Thanks
When you get a great review, make sure everyone knows about it. Create a spot on your website for customer reviews that are helpful and positive and share the best reviews on social media with a shout out to the customer. Always leave a comment on their original review thanking them or expressing that you are happy they enjoyed their experience.
Make Negative Reviews Work for You
Believe it or not, negative reviews are not always a bad thing. Think of them as opportunities for showing improvement and a willingness to resolve problems. If someone leaves a bad review, leave them an apology and offer to fix the issue or make it up to them somehow. In many cases, the reviewer will update their review to a higher rating and share how the problem was handled. However, even if they don’t update their review, your comment will show future customers that you care and are invested in customer satisfaction.
Consistently stick to a high standard of service, and whenever possible, go above and beyond. Customers will notice and appreciate the extra effort you put forward and may return the favor by sharing their experience with others.
For example, a local tire company had just closed up for the day when a customer pulled in with a flat tire. Seeing the store had closed, he decided to change the tire himself in the parking lot. Before he began, two young employees, who were now off the clock and not getting paid, rushed out to help him. The customer made no purchase that day, but has been a loyal customer ever since. He had never written an online review before, but was eager to share this experience with other potential customers, and continues to recommend the company in person as well.
Review Management Software
Incorporate review management software to get more reviews and become more visible to your customers online. User-friendly tools make it easy to track, collect, and share your reviews where your customers are most likely to see them.