Reviews have been proven to drive sales because they establish trust. Potential clients are likely to trust the opinions of others rather than the business themselves. And they expect you to put only glowing reviews on your website (if you have a choice, why would you promote a negative review??).
But your clients see the reviews on sites such as Google My Business, Yelp and Facebook as unbiased, because they are a mix of good and bad, and they help to build a more complete picture of your business. You should remember that even bad reviews can be a positive thing -- they legitimize the rest of the good reviews and reassure visitors that the feedback is genuine and left by real customers. Even better... you can get bonus points by responding (calmly) to those bad reviews. But more on that later.
Have you heard the phrase "You can't G-E-T, until you A-S-K"? In the case of reviews, it's true. Restaurants have NO PROBLEM getting reviews naturally, but professional services usually struggle to show proof of their good work. It's not natural for most clients to leave their CPA's office and think to themselves, "I'm going to head to Google and tell the world about my great experience with that tax return!." So if your clients aren't heading to review sites on their own, it's ok to give them a nudge in the right direction.
3 Reasons Your Clients Aren't Leaving You Reviews
1. They've never been asked
2. They're too private
3. They haven’t had a referable/reviewable experience
Good news: you can fix two of those reasons! First, if you're focused on providing a great experience, it makes it easier to ask for positive reinforcement in the form of reviews. And asking for reviews doesn’t have to be bothersome. Many customers want to help your business grow! Read on....
Get in the Habit of Asking!
Here are some easy ways to incorporate asking for reviews from your clients on a regular basis.
Social media posts asking for reviews:
If your existing clients interact with your business on social media, then place a post that gives them easy links to follow to share their kind words.
Including review links in email signatures:
Again, it's about providing easy links for your clients. If they've just had a helpful email exchange with you, then they can just click the link beneath your name to "Leave Us a Review", and be directed to your preferred location for reviews.
Ask for a video Testimonials in the moment you are receiving a compliment:
This move gets easier the more you do it! Get comfortable with a smartphone and be ready to record (hold the phone horizontal, please). You can place these video reviews on YouTube so they show up in search results, but also on your website and social media accounts where your prospects will be looking.
Create an incentive offer for leaving reviews:
In most industries, it's not kosher (or even legal) to "pay" for each review. But that doesn't mean you can't do a drawing or giveaway to those who "entered". But don't do this too often or your audience will tire of it, and your reviews will only happen in spurts throughout the year.
Automate the process:
For businesses that struggle with asking, there are a handful of good review generation/automation services, who do the asking for you via automated follow-ups after the visit or transaction. A client can click on a text message or an email and leave you a glowing review, all while sitting at a stop light! It ups your chances of getting more reviews, on the exact channels that you want. We like BirdEye and ReviewTrackers, and there are many more.
Where Should You Put Reviews?
No brainer: your business' website should have a reviews/testimonials page. Here customers can not only view previously submitted reviews, but leave their own as well.
With Google (aka "Search") being king, your first focus should be reviews on your Google My Business profile. These reviews show up as stars in search results, and having a quantity of reviews can help boost you over other businesses showing up in search. Second, you should turn to the social media channels that show reviews and that your prospects and clients use the most. Facebook is usually one of the first that people go to see social proof of your company, and it's a good tool for connecting with customers and thanking them for the positive review (also to reach out to fix any negative ones).
How to Handle Negative Reviews?
Negative reviews and comments should be taken in the form of feedback. Can you enact change? Was it a one-time error? Do what you can to contact the customer and rectify the problem, but whatever you do don’t delete it, unless it's offensive (if deleting the review is even possible. Most of the time, it's not). You can learn more in our blog "How to Remove a Negative Review from Facebook".
The odd average or poor review shows consumers that you’re being truthful and posting all reviews, which makes your business look honest. But it's more how you respond. Don't reveal client information, be kind, and offer to take the conversation offline. Whatever you do, do not get in a shouting match. It may feel good to shout back at an irrational client, but you look like a loose cannon to new prospects.
So, to wrap it up, reviews have SO much power that you may not even be harnassing for your business. Remember to G-E-T, you need to A-S-K.
If you need guidance to get your company presence cleaned up or established, we specialize in guiding our clients through the digital world to achieve their goals.