In a customer-centric world, reviews can have considerable power – both positive and negative. When consumers search for merchandise, goods, and services, they often look to the experiences of others. Sometimes, they’ll read case studies or testimonials from your website where you control the narrative. Other times, they use relevant search terms and scour search engines, social media, or popular review sites like Yelp for help.
When you search within Google or another search engine, those stars that pop up next to a restaurant, shop, or service make an impression. It’s an immediate indication of the average customer review of that business. That’s some pretty powerful stuff! There is no doubt that those Google reviews have a direct impact on your customer’s choice to click (or not) on your website. They also can help (or hurt) build your reputation as a dependable and responsible source of what they are looking for. A recent survey discovered that almost 84% of consumers rely on online reviews even more than personal endorsements.
Improving your local SEO
Reviews give potential customers or clients insight into your business, but those reviews can do a whole lot more. Your website’s local SEO (search engine optimization) is also majorly impacted by them.
All the major search engines have become experts at predicting our behavior. The algorithms they use push local business listings to the top of the search results (as long as you have good on-page SEO, of course). Businesses with both positive, and enough, customer reviews create better credibility and move up within the search engine results page.
How to encourage great customer reviews
Excellent customer reviews begin with you. Are you offering a level of service that is satisfying your customers consistently? Do they walk away feeling they got what they were looking for from your website? When they call or email, do they receive a friendly interaction and prompt reply? Are you creating an impact that is worth a review? To generate good customer reviews, take a proactive approach with your current customers. Remember, there is no harm in asking, and most clients want to help businesses they feel great about. Every so often, why not focus on your top clients and ask them for a review? In return, offer to give them a review as well. It’s not only a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” situation, it’s good businesses supporting each other.
How to react to negative customer reviews
Sometimes, things happen. It may or may not even be your fault that a client had a bad experience. And let’s face it, some clients and customers can’t be pleased. Unfortunately, in the digital world, they have a powerful and immediate platform to express their discontent. Anyone can leave a negative review on wherever they choose. That includes Google, and they don’t have to have your permission to do it!
Of course, everyone is entitled to an opinion. They are also allowed to express that opinion so, it’s your job to be open enough to listen and take it in. If your staff, your business, or even you receive a bad review, reach out to the person quickly. Keep the situation calm by acknowledging their comment, and try to open up a discussion offline to diffuse the tension.
Tips for gaining great reviews
- Ask your clients to write a review of a specific service or product.
- Make it easy on them and provide a short list of items for them to comment on; perhaps how your company excels in a particular area in your industry.
- Offer to write a review for your clients in return.
- Should you ever receive a negative review, be sure to respond quickly.
- Create a CTA on your website, encouraging users to write a review.
- Don’t be afraid to use your social media channels to ask for reviews.
And remember that fake reviews are not advisable!