The buying habits of people have developed greatly in the online world in the past 10 years. With so much available information, customers are able to make buying decisions easily and efficiently. Online reviews from fellow consumers are most likely to be taken seriously by prospective customers when buying a product/service – especially if they have no prior experience doing business with a company.
But really, how important are online reviews? Nuanced Media says it best in this article.
Managing your company’s online reviews is a vital part of maintaining positive public rapport online. So why don’t more of your happy and satisfied customers leave your company an online review?
The four main reasons customers won’t leave an online review for your business:
There is a fifth one that we hear all the time from the business owner, “I didn’t think to ask”.
Here are some work-arounds for each of those reasons and suggestions how knowing more about what is behind these reasons can help you get more online reviews.
You asked once, they said sure. Now it’s been six weeks and you’re not sure if they really wanted to leave a review. Most likely they do it’s just that their own work and life took priority. Simply, they just got busy.
What you might want to do is set up a reminder so that if someone hasn’t left a review within a certain period of time, they’ll get reminded once or twice in a polite but persistent way.
We’d recommend after two reminders, to stop and chalk it up to the fact that despite asking, not everyone will leave you a review. The best thing you can do is to do your best to ask and remind in a courteous way. Then move on.
There is no disagreeing with this one. With online platforms (think Facebook, Google, etc.) changing their formats anytime they want, it can go from easy to… “where did they put that review tab?” in a matter of days.
This constant change can make it feel like a difficult task to leave your company a review. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and understand that if it takes more than two clicks to complete the task, most people will just say forget it, no matter how much they liked working with your company.
Further to that, everyone has their favourite and not-so-favourite sites. So say you suggest your customers leave your business a review on your business Facebook page, but what if your customers don’t want to use their Facebook profile for anything business related? You’re out of luck unless you’ve set up other sites for your company to be reviewed on. Be sure to make it easy in both time and number of options for how and where your customers can leave you a review.
Some of your customers may have writer’s block. They’re not sure what to say or how to express what they valued about working with your company. You can be a real help to your customers by drafting a suggested response when asking for an online review. Let them know that it is just a suggestion and they are free to edit or write something completely different. Since most people would say they’re better editors than writers, give them a head start with a suggested review.
A key to a helpful online review (remember, you’re leaving it for someone who doesn’t yet know you so they can start learning what it would be like to do business with you) is to narrow in on something specific that was done to your liking. In the case of writing a draft for your customers to use, think back about your work together and something that your customer really appreciated about doing business with you.
For example, a draft review you’d send to a client could say something like “Working with Jake’s Supplies was effortless as the team had our orders processed within 24hrs, helping us to better manage our inventory.”
Simple, one or two sentences, to the point. If your customer wants to elaborate further, that is great. I’d just caution staying away from generic review of “great service, nice people” as it doesn’t help to differentiate what it is like to do business with your company vs. a competitor.
Do accept that some of your customers are not going to review your business on any of the review sites (HomeStars, Yelp, Facebook, Google, etc) no matter how many times you ask them.
Being sensitive to how much or little your customers want to participate in the online world is the right thing to do.
However, they may be absolutely fine with writing you a glowing testimonial via email or offering to be a reference any potential customers are able to contact in the future. Be open to what you’re customers are comfortable doing to support the ongoing success of your business.
Nine times out of ten I find that business owners are either too busy to ask their customers for an online review or feel a bit too shy about doing so.
While I can understand both scenarios, we’re leaving a lot of goodwill on the table and not using our current success to help land new business if we don’t ask for reviews.
Your customers would love to help you out with a review, just ask. Consider working the review request into part of your off boarding or project closing procedures to ensure you make the ask.
You can always phrase your review request this way: “Your review, or testimonial helps others who don’t yet know us feel more comfortable considering doing business with us.”
If you find yourself short on time to request reviews, or find the task of responding to each and every review too tedious (you need to thank everyone for their great review, and solve the complaints of the negative reviews), outsourcing the management of your online reviews may be beneficial and even profitable for your business.
Through outsourcing, you are benefitting from putting this process in the hands of experts who have the time, technology and know how to focus on managing this part of your marketing for you.
Outsourcing your online review management has the power to improve your sales, while providing you with a solid base of inbound traffic by generating positive reviews from loyal and happy clients.
Curious about your own company’s online reviews? Wonder if there are sites you don’t yet know about where online reviews about your company are listed? Take our complementary review scan and you’ll have a no-obligation report in your hands within 60 seconds.
Click through here and scroll down on the page to “I want to see what my online reviews say”.
Jen Kelly is a marketing consultant in Toronto.
She leads New Initiatives Marketing Inc. (NIM) an outsourced marketing agency serving clients in Canada and the USA.
Contact us today for a no-obligation conversation about how the right marketing can help your company grow, and how letting us manage your online reviews could support and grow your business.