May 4, 2020 By SmartBiz Team

No matter what type of business you run, customer reviews are essential to the success of your company. But how should you encourage customers to share their opinion online when genuine reviews can be so hard to get? Find out why these comments are critical, and learn how to get customer reviews for your business.

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Why Are Customer Reviews Important?

One of the most effective ways to gain customers' trust is through word-of-mouth marketing. With this type of approach, your business relies on comments and recommendations from regular people to increase brand awareness and convert customers.

In the past, word-of-mouth marketing depended on personal recommendations. Today, however, it includes customer reviews, social media posts, and other online recommendations. That's because studies show that almost 90% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends.

Since over 90% of consumers trust personal recommendations over traditional advertising, customer reviews should be a key part of your marketing and advertising strategy. After all, online reviews can:

  • Boost brand awareness.
  • Educate customers and answer questions.
  • Enhance brand credibility.
  • Drive conversions and sales.

8 Ways to Get Customer Reviews

If your customers don't typically leave comments after their purchases, you can convince them to start. Use these eight strategies to get reviews for your company.

1. Use Review Platforms

One of the easiest ways to get customer reviews is to take advantage of the platforms your clients already use. If you run a local business, focus on popular platforms like Yelp. First, check to see if customers have already started leaving Yelp reviews for your business. If they have, you can claim and verify your page. If they haven't, you can create a new page and put it to work.

You can also use search engine platforms like Google to generate more reviews for your local business. Set up your Google My Business profile and add your business to Google Maps. Every time a potential customer searches for your business, they'll automatically see your reviews and have the option to leave one of their own.

Once you set up business profiles on these platforms, you can start featuring their reviews on your website. Include a call to action on your website to encourage customers to read your reviews and write their own.

2. Create Social Media Profiles

No matter what type of business you run, you can use social media to generate customer ratings and reviews. Start by setting up a business page on Facebook. Then encourage your Facebook followers to write reviews of your brand, products, or services. You can highlight individual reviews by linking to them on your Facebook page, which lets you provide social proof and increase credibility.

3. Simplify the Review Process

If your business has its own review system or if your e-commerce store has a built-in rating platform, you have an extra opportunity to surface customer reviews at the point of sale. To increase the chances of customers leaving reviews, make your system as easy as possible. Your review page should be responsive and mobile-friendly to ensure that customers can easily write their comments, no matter what type of device they're using.

4. Give Customers Prompts

Even happy customers might decline to leave a review if they aren't sure what to say. To encourage good reviews, examples or prompts can be helpful. For example, you can ask customers whether they would recommend your products to your friends or request that they share a specific detail about their experience. Your prompts can get customers thinking, making them more likely to share their experience.

5. Ask for Reviews Right Away

Your business is more likely to get thoughtful reviews if you ask for them when your brand is fresh in customers' minds. That means it's in your best interest to ask for reviews as soon as possible but not so quickly that your customers haven't even had the chance to use your product. Use your judgment and your knowledge of the products you sell to decide whether you should request a review a few hours, days, or weeks after purchase.

6. Follow Up After Purchases

Just because your customers didn't leave a product review right away doesn't mean they never will. Rather than giving up and moving on after asking for a review one time, reach out via email and request one again. Follow up with customers at least one time after purchase, and you could increase the number of reviews you receive significantly.

7. Offer Extra Incentives

Writing reviews takes time and effort, which can discourage busy customers from leaving reviews. To incentivize customers, consider offering extra perks, such as a discount code or points they can use for a future purchase. In addition to getting more reviews, this strategy can also inspire more purchases and increase customer loyalty.

8. Add Reviews to Your Workflow

If your team isn't accustomed to requesting reviews, your business might not receive as many as it could. When reviews are part of the customer service workflow, however, you can rest assured that you're getting as many reviews as possible. To incorporate reviews into your workflow, automate post-purchase prompts on your website and email follow-ups after set periods of time.

What to Do After Receiving Customer Reviews

Learning how to get more reviews for your company is just the first step in your word-of-mouth marketing strategy. Once you receive reviews, it's essential to monitor and respond to the comments. It doesn't matter if you receive positive or negative reviews. Your business should respond to every review you receive, regardless of the sentiment.

When you reply to positive reviews, you have a chance to acknowledge happy customers and thank them for their business, which lets you create a personal connection and can encourage customer loyalty. However, when you respond to negative reviews, you can put a positive spin on a bad situation and solve a problem for an unhappy customer. Since your response is public, you can boost your credibility by showing potential customers that you take comments seriously and you constantly strive to improve.

To simplify your company's review monitoring process, try some of the most popular apps and tools:

  • GatherUp: Formerly known as GetFiveStars, this app collects customer comments from dozens of review sites. You can use GatherUp to monitor and respond to reviews, and you can display them on your website for added credibility.
  • Google Alerts: Setting up Google Alerts is one of the easiest ways to identify conversations about your brand. You can use this tool to alert you any time a blog or news site mentions your brand, and then you can respond in a timely manner.
  • ReviewPush: If you need to monitor reviews for multiple business locations, ReviewPush can help. This app alerts you via email every time you receive a review and allows for seamless responses, so you don't have to waste time checking each major platform.
  • Social Listening: Most social media platforms automatically notify you if you receive a customer review or if a user tags your brand in a post. You can also use third-party social media tools to set up a more in-depth social listening strategy, including custom alerts that notify you when customers mention your brand without tagging your business.

Now that you know how to encourage customers to write reviews, you can generate the word-of-mouth marketing your business needs to succeed. Remember to respond to each customer who comments to get maximum value from each review.