Why your online customer reviews matter
“This restaurant has outdoor seating, unlimited chips and salsa and 4.7 stars on Yelp — let’s go!!!”
How often does your decision to try a new restaurant involve a peek at the online reviews? Probably most of the time! We typically turn to online reviews as one of the first steps in our purchasing process. Whether we’re making a small purchase on Amazon or selecting a new hair salon — we want to know how the crowd votes! In fact, over 90% of consumers say that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. And thanks to our ubiquitous handheld devices, online customer reviews can make or break our reputation.
If you’re already overwhelmed by pressure to keep your website updated and manage your social media following, don’t panic! Getting more online reviews won’t require hours of work or an elaborate marketing campaign. We’ll give you a few easy tips on how to gain customer reviews, but first, let’s take a closer look at what they can do for your business!
1. Create a first impression
New clients care more about what others have to say about you than what you have to say about yourself. So before they do a thorough search of your website, they’re going to spend some time checking out the customer reviews. Will what they find be enough to keep them interested in you?
2. Boost your SEO
Yes, online customer reviews can actually improve your SEO ranking. Why is this? A company or brand with a significant number of great reviews appears more legitimate than one that is not generating any feedback. Since Google wants to provide consumers with the best possible search results, negative reviews or no reviews at all could cause your rank to decline. According to Moz, review signals account for about 15% of your ranking factor.
3. Solidify your customer’s experience
If you believe in your product and service, then you want your clients to take the time to think about their experience with you. The act of thinking about your business and then writing their honest review of it gives them quick and easy talking points should they recommend your brand to friends and family.
4. Continued dialogue with the client
Optimally, your conversations with your clients don’t end once the sale closes. Successful brands find ways to keep the conversation going without being “spammy.” A simple follow-up email after your client returns from their trip is a great way to ask for feedback.
5. Opportunity for feedback
One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is to ignore negative reviews. Ignoring negative feedback makes it look like you don’t care or you have something to hide. Respond to a negative review with an apology (even if you feel like it is unwarranted) and make the situation right, as needed. Likewise, your positive reviews give you a glimpse into the ways you are winning with your clients. Keep doing those things!
How to get online customer reviews
So now that you know how vital great reviews are, you might be feeling a bit helpless. Because unless you’re asking your mom to write a review, your reviews are totally out of your control, right? Not completely! Here are a few things you can do to get some buzz around your brand!
1. Send an email campaign
If you plan to send out a request campaign, the best time to do this is typically between 2-3 p.m. and then between 6-7 p.m. Essentially, the times to get a review are around the time people take their lunch breaks and get off of work. Keep it short and sweet!
“Thank you for choosing to work with (name of your agency)! It is our pleasure to serve you. We’d love to get your feedback and hear about your experience with us. Would you be willing to leave us a quick review on (name and link to review platform here)? Your imput would be greatly appreciated!”
2. Follow up after travel
When sending a personal email to ask for feedback, the best time is right after your customer has returned from their trip. Their travels will still be fresh in their mind, which provides the greatest opportunity for a specific evaluation of their experience. Did you know that Google’s algorithms are actually designed to flag fake reviews? This means genuine and specific reviews will continue to grow in importance.
Here’s an example:
“We loved working with Lauren to book our trip to Athens! She helped us see everything we wanted and more. It was our first time out of the country so we were so thankful for her thorough knowledge and expertise!”
3. Ask a happy customer
A happy customer who is already singing your praises might be inclined to share their remarks on a public platform. The key when asking is to avoid coming across as pushy or tacky. Remember, leaving your brand a review is a favor. So only ask if the moment is appropriate, be genuine, and show gratitude!