Every business owner knows how critical reviews can be to their business. It's common knowledge. But what most wonder is how some businesses succeed at getting many reviews, while some struggle to get even one.
Well, it all comes down to one thing - a review collection process. Those businesses with tons of reviews have a system in place that makes it possible to collect as much feedback as possible.
Do you have a review collection system or process for your business? If you’re yet to put one in place, don’t worry. This article provides the secrets of the review collection process and how to manage them.
The Benefits of Positive Online Review for a Small Business
Online reviews bring plenty of benefits to your business, much as it may be a quick, straightforward process. The more positive reviews your customers leave, the better.
You see, online reviews are what most people turn to before they can visit your small business. They believe that the more positive reviews a business has, the more trustworthy a brand is to customers.
If you have not been emphasizing enough for people to leave business reviews, and especially google reviews, it’s time you made it a priority in your marketing strategies. Here’s why.
#1 The More Positive Reviews, the More the Leads
People trust online business reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends and family.
Therefore, if you can build on your online reviews, chances are high someone searching on google will read them and visit your business.
#2 Positive Reviews Positively Influence Purchases
Consumers don’t just make a purchase. In most cases, they’ll read the online reviews first before deciding whether to buy or not. If they can read about 10 reviews and 8 of them are positive, be sure they’ll make a purchase.
The more online reviews you have the more you’re likely to influence people to buy from you. This comes in handy for small businesses because it’ll promote their growth.
#3 Higher Testimonies Mean Reduced Costs
Google, and other online review platforms, does not charge to leave testimonies or respond to them.
If customers leave positive reviews about your business on its profile, the endorsements freely advertise your business.
Imagine marketing your small business at no cost on a global platform that most people trust?
#4 Many Reviews Rank You Higher
Google is kind enough to reward businesses with more positive reviews.
How? Google has search engine optimization (SEO) that links to customer reviews. As customers leave more reviews with crucial keywords, the likelihood of the search engine fronting your website once people search using the keywords increases.
The Debate About Balancing Positive & Negative Reviews
The hardest part of the review process is managing the reviews. You may encourage customers to leave reviews, but how do you balance between positive and negative reviews? What about the unfair reviews?
Well, one thing worth noting is that you cannot remove a google business review.
However, if you feel it’s unfair, you can flag it as inappropriate, and google will check it out. If the review is violating their policies, they’ll delete it. But they’ll never delete a negative review. Anyway, it's good to learn from your customers.
Similarly, if you have a review section on your website, don’t delete or hide the negative reviews. Instead, soberly manage them.
How Do You Respond to Positive Reviews?
Managing reviews is critical. When happy clients leave a positive review, consider the following tips when responding:
- Thank your customer for their feedback - A simple word of appreciation like, “Thank you for your kind words!” will do.
- Encourage the customer to shop with you again - Let them know you’ll be happy serving them again.
- Be brief - A short response will go a long way.
How Do You Respond to Negative Reviews?
It’s not that easy to respond to frustrated and angry customers who have left negative feedback on your website or google.
However, this doesn’t mean you fail to respond. If you can craft a genuine response showing consideration, the customer may rethink their reaction and remove or edit their review.
Consider doing the following:
- Relax: Don’t let emotions get the better of you. Instead, take a deep breath and relax as you craft your response. Even a simple “Contact Us” is better than arguing with them.
- Act fast: It’s advisable to respond as soon as possible. If you delay, you may come back when it’s too late to change the customer’s mind.
How to Collect Customer Reviews Online
There are many ways in which you can collect reviews for your business from your customers online.
Some of the best ways in which you can collect feedback from your customers include:
#1 Introduce a Review Section on Your Website
A review section on your website will enable your customers to leave their reviews with ease. You can also show these reviews below the products and services.
A Google business review link can also come in handy. Using the link, customers can also leave their feedback there.
#2 Create Online Customer Feedback Surveys
A well-crafted survey will help you get what your customers are thinking about your products and services. So think carefully about the questions to ask to get the right and accurate feedback from your customers.
But don't just ask a few questions through your website. Instead, have a lengthy survey with specialized questions, which guarantees better and accurate results.
#3 Follow up Through Emails
Email automation is one of the best ways of collecting reviews. After making a sale, an email thanking them for shopping with you and telling them you would be pleased to serve them again will go a long way.
Such an email will make them build more trust in your brand, and receiving feedback from them will not be a problem. In the email, encourage them to share their advice on how you can better serve them.
#4 Social Media Polls
Facebook and Twitter are among the social media platforms you can use to get feedback from your customers. These platforms allow the hosting of timed polls where you can ask questions and get responses.
The feedback you get can help you improve on your brand and the services you offer. A question like, “What other products would you like us to offer in the future?” will get you answers you can consider in your future business plans.
#5 Make All Your Reviews Public
Once you get reviews, make them available to your customers. As such, have a review section where all reviews you get to land at automatically. The best place would be under the products or services section on your website.
In addition, take time to respond to the reviews. This may encourage other customers to leave their reviews. Whether the reviews are positive or negative, don’t be afraid to post them online. They all help improve your business.
Even as you collect reviews from your customers, it’s worth noting that you should never influence your customers to leave positive reviews whatsoever. The collection process should accommodate both positive and negative reviews.
In fact, criticism keeps businesses going, and at no time is it possible to please everybody.
Put the review collection system in place, and the reviews will come naturally. Paid online reviews may not be of much help.
About the Author, James Webster
James Webster, founder and Executive Chairman of ROK Financial has almost two decades of experience within the financial services industry. His passion for helping small business owners and his innovative way of thinking, has allowed him to run multiple successful businesses including National Business Capital & Services. Under the National name, the team was able to help secure over $1 Billion in financing for small businesses nationwide.