Any company with a strong digital presence knows the importance of online reviews. However, many business owners are completely in the dark about how they can go about fostering these reviews and encouraging their customers to leave positive reviews while still falling within the rules of their favorite review websites. There are some proven strategies that any business owner can use to increase positive reviews and respond more aptly to negative reviews, improving their online reputation in a short amount of time.
Handle Unhappy Customers In-Person
The biggest source of negative reviews is unhappy customers that feel like their complaints about your business have fallen on deaf ears. By dismissing their issues with the service that they have received when they are in your place of business, you make them much more likely to leave a review on a public forum. Regardless of whether you agree with their assertion that their service was poor, you need to make sure that they feel like their complaints are legitimate and taken into consideration. Allowing someone to walk out of your place of business upset will only make it that much more likely that they leave a negative review.
Ask for Reviews
The simplest way to improve the number of positive reviews that you receive is to simply ask for them, and be genuine about it. Make sure not to explicitly ask for a positive review because it’s against the terms of service of nearly all review sites. But,t he next time that you strike up a conversation with the customer and get the vibe that they are satisfied with their service, ask for a review and tell them how much you would appreciate it. Let them know how much a positive review could affect your business. If they like what you provide and want you to stay open, many people are willing to spend 5 minutes of their time to leave you a positive review about their experience.
Reward Employees for Encouraging Reviews
Another great source for online reputation improvement comes from your employees themselves. As a business owner, you can’t be everywhere at once. You can’t interact with every customer, and you can’t ask every customer to review your business. However, training your employees to ask for reviews from customers they have had a positive interaction with will help you to improve your online reputation quickly. If you find that you are garnering a lot of positive reviews after implementing this policy, you can reward your staff as a whole, or perhaps reward individual members of your team that were mentioned wihtin the reviews themselves.
Have Conversations and Show Interest
People like to give their money to businesses that they develop a genuine personal connection with. If they like the owner, or have a nice conversation with one of your employees, you have a better chance of being able to solicit a positive review from that person. By engaging in conversations and showing genuine interest in what your customers have to say, you can begin building relationships that will result in positive reviews. Many of us go through the day without having a single genuine conversation with a stranger. Being able to create those kinds of connections will stand out in the eyes of your audience and allow you to develop better relationships with your customers.
Be Present on Social Media
One of the first places that a new prospect will go when researching your business is to social media. It is important that you make your Facebook pages, Twitter, and other social profiles accessible and active so you can create a solid first impression with those that are conducting research about your business. By interacting with would-be prospects through social media, you can be sure that you are putting your best foot forward. Additionally, the type of people who you will be interacting with are active online and therefore more likely to leave you a review in general. Some social networking sites like Facebook actually allow customers to leave reviews directly on the platform, so that needs to be taken into account when interacting with previous customers.
Reply to Negative Reviews in a Public Forum
When negative reviews pop up, they can have a profound effect on future sales. However, you can lessen the impact that these reviews have on your bottom line by responding quickly to negative reviews in a professional manner. Let the reviewer know that you regret their poor experience and are willing to do what needs to be done to make sure that they have a better outcome from doing business with you. A professional reply can turn public perception and let customers know that even if they have a poor experience, you are willing to make it right.
Link Directly to Your Business Profile on Google
When someone comes to your website, they should be able to easily find the various websites, including Google Reviews, where they can go to leave reviews about their experience with your business. Use images to link directly to these platforms to ensure that your customers can find them and are encouraged to leave reviews.
Customers, for better or worse, place a lot of importance on the online reviews. Neglecting your own online reviews can spell trouble and lost revenue down the road. There are different ways to encourage your customers to leave reviews, but the best way is undoubtedly to make genuine connections with your customers. If you are interested in learning more about how your company could improve your online reputation and facilitate positive reviews, please contact us to schedule your initial consultation with our online reputation experts.