Have you ever had a customer with whom the stars just seemed to align? You hit it off, worked hard to gain their trust. Soon they were not only a loyal customer but also raving fan. You feel gratitude every time they buy from you–and they do, too.
This is the perfect customer to ask for an online review. Whether you’ve dipped your toes in the online reviews waters or are considering it for the first time, we’ve pulled together benefits, how-to advice and response ideas to help you move to the next level.
Benefits of Online Reviews
Whether you’re a B2C or B2B business, the benefits of online reviews go beyond a 5-star stamp of approval. Aside from the fact that 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, reviews help in search rankings and boost what’s known as social proof. That’s the validation that you’re a reputable company.And with more B2C and B2B buyers purchasing online during the pandemic—an extra boost of web cred goes a long way!
Benefit #1: Get star ratings, rank higher
If you’ve searched for a product or service on Google®, local businesses show up in what’s called a Map Pack, the map that features local businesses that match your search. You’ll generally see three businesses (and see others when you click on “More Places”). Those businesses get there through a combination of having an updated Google My Business™listing, a well-optimized website and Google reviews. That’s right — Google takes into account the number of reviews and average star rating in its ranking algorithm. If you don’t see your name in the list but your 4.8-star competitor is, your ratings may be a contributing factor.
Benefit #2: Online recommendations aid in voice search
Positive reviews also contribute to a better chance of being chosen to answer the coveted voice search. In fact, you’ll need an average review rating of four or more stars to show up in a voice search. With more smart speakers making their way into homes, not to mention voice searches done on mobile devices, doing business by voice is on the rise. It’s estimated 50% of all web searches will be done by voice this year.
If you’re in the B2B space, take note. As today’s voice searchers—primarily aged 18 to 34—move into decision-making roles, it’s expected they will continue to use this web search strategy when looking for local suppliers. What’s more, the pandemic has shifted the way we are doing business. business. A recent B2B purchasing report shows that 47% of North American buyers are purchasing through digital channels, an increase of 28% since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Benefit #3: Reviews help build consumer trust
One of the benefits of online reviews is showing the digital world that you’re a reputable company whose customers are so happy, they are willing to publicly rave about you. Not only are reviews a great reputation pick-me-up for your business but consider these stats:
- 73% of consumers trust a business more after reading a review
- 57% of them visit company websites after reading a review
And if those customers rate you on social channels, their followers may also see what they’ve written. Good news travels fast!
How to get online referrals
Now that you know more about the benefits of online reviews, you’re probably wondering how to get reviews for your business.
The good news is, getting them from customers might be easier than you think—76% of customers are willing to leave a business review. All you have to do is ask! Here are a few tips:
Tip #1: Ask at the right time:
Favors are most successful when you pick the right moment. For your customer, that might be when they send you a referral, tag you in a social media post or purchase again.
Tip #2: Make it easy for your team to ask:
Get your team in on the action. Have your team ask for a review as they are completing a successful project or emailing customers. If you have an ecommerce site, include review links on post-checkout or thank you pages.
Tip #3: Start with open-ended questions:
As you’re ending a sale or a project, ask your customer about their experience with you. If they say positive things, ask whether they would mind saying the same in a review.
How to respond to online reviews
The benefit of reviews isn’t just about how to get reviews for your business. You’ll also reap rewards when you respond to reviews, good and bad.
- Google says responding to reviews increases your visibility–which can help improve local search engine rank.
- Responding also shows you are paying attention to—and value—what customers have to say. That’s especially important during the pandemic when customers are looking for a human touch. The latest research shows 84% of consumers say the experience they have with a company is just as important as their products and services.
How to respond to negative online reviews
If you get a bad review, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, customers may be more skeptical if all your reviews are good. Here’s how to take charge when a poor review comes your way:
Act fast, but not so fast that you are responding with emotion. Take time to breathe and think through your response. Be thoughtful and not defensive. If you are emotional, ask a neutral party for help.
Say thank you
Think of feedback as love. Thank a customer for sharing their experience because it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Personalize your response
If you aren’t in a highly regulated industry where you can’t share specifics (like financial services or healthcare), respond to the specific complaint with a custom solution. If you are in a highly regulated industry (where you can’t share consumer information), ask offer the opportunity to share more details offline. Provide an email address or other method for them to contact you. Hint: If you’ve mutually agreed on a solution, remember to check back to see if the customer approves of the result.
Responding to complaints publicly shows you value your customers’ experiences.
Now that we’ve described how to get online reviews, it’s time to take the next step. Making the ask for online recommendations a part of your everyday customer experience not only gives you and your team more information, it can also help new customers find you. If you want to make reviews part of your digital strategy, give us a call. We’d love to help!