Online reviews – are you losing valuable leads?
If you’ve been trying to increase your search engine rankings, get more clients, attract more referral partners, or otherwise grow your business, getting online reviews is one of the most important steps you can take.
But getting those reviews can be a challenge, especially if your clients are busy. It’s important to have a system set up to make it easy for people to give you good reviews, to prevent negative reviews before they happen, and to address any angry feedback that does slip through and get posted.
In today’s blog post, I’ll reveal how to get more positive reviews, why it’s important to get reviews, and how to prevent and deal with negative reviews.
Why you should ask for online reviews:
Online reviews affect your business’ success in many ways.
From search engine rankings to lead conversions, industry reputation, networking efforts, cash flow, and ROI on your online marketing efforts, customer feedback plays a big part in making or breaking your business, so it’s vital to know how to get good reviews and deal with negative comments.
Here are some of the biggest reasons why asking for online reviews is extremely important:
Reason 1: Your hottest leads are looking at online reviews.
If someone’s looking at reviews, that means they’re probably already in buying mode. They’ve decided that they want products or services in your industry, and now they’re choosing who to buy from.
If a business has a lot of positive reviews, that communicates two things:
- That business is popular. An abundance of positive reviews means lots of people use that business and trust it.
- They provide good products or services. The more good reviews you have, the more proof people have that you can give them what they need.
If you don’t have online reviews that communicate these two things to your potential clients, you’re missing out on some of the hottest leads that exist, which will cost you a lot of sales.
Reason 2: Online Reviews affect how you rank on search engines.
Nobody wants to use a search engine that gives them one-and-two-star results first and makes them dig for the five-star businesses. Because of this, it’s in a search engine’s best interests to give people the best results first, and online reviews are one of the factors they use to determine which results are the best.
The more positive reviews you have, the higher you’ll rank, and the better chance you’ll have of securing a lucrative position in Google’s “Snack Pack”, which is the three most prominently highlighted results on Google’s first page.
Reason 3: Customers can search by rating.
People seeking services via Google now have the option to only look at businesses that have a certain rating or higher. Because of this, a business without reviews will be invisible to more selective buyers.
Reason 4: Bad online reviews could deter potential referral partners.
If the people with whom you network are inclined to do their due diligence, they may choose to look at your online reviews before referring their customers to you. A lack of reviews is a warning sign that your business may not be trustworthy, which can make people reluctant to send you referrals.
Reason 5: People will probably see your online reviews whether they’re seeking them out or not.
This is especially true for people using mobile devices.
I recently encountered an example of how reviews show up even when you aren’t looking for them. I wanted directions to a local Pittsburgh auto repair shop, Glenshaw Auto Glass, based in Glenshaw, PA.
I used my iPhone to check Apple maps for directions and was immediately shown its Yelp ratings.
I noted that they had nine reviews on Yelp, with an average rating of four stars. For those of you who have not prioritized having a good rating on review and citation sites, that raises an important question: would I have traveled thirty-nine minutes to their shop if they had a two-star rating?
If you’re using Google maps, Google will use their own reviews, but the concept is the same, I just tend to use the Apple map application on my iPhone, and many people do not realize that Apple uses Bing for search and Yelp for reviews.
For these five reasons, it’s important to get positive online reviews for your business. If you need a sixth reason read a more recent blog in how Google is making a game out of entering business reviews from their current reviewers
How to ask for online reviews:
Customers are often busy, and in many cases, they have trouble finding time to leave a review unless they’re angry enough to leave a bad one.
So how can you encourage them to leave positive reviews, and prevent most potential bad reviews before they happen?
Here are a few methods you can use:
Method 1: Use a review service provider
The best way to get reviews is by contracting with a service provider like Grade.us. By using this service, you get a link to a review page, which you can send to clients. The page should look something like this:
If they give you four or five stars, they are then asked to share a review online.
If they’re not satisfied, you have an opportunity to reach out to them and correct the problem before it damages your online reputation.
Method 2: Request reviews during conversations with satisfied clients.
When you’re actively having a conversation with a satisfied client, you have a much higher level of rapport and influence with them than you do when they’re simply receiving a link through email. At this time, you can ask them to leave a review on your website, review service provider, citation site profiles, or other online locations.
Method 3: Offer pre-written business reviews.
If your customers are too busy to write reviews, or they don’t know how to write reviews that make potential clients want to check out your business, one option is to give them pre-written reviews that they can tweak and post.
These reviews should include the following elements, especially if you plan to post them on your own website:
- The customer’s full name, and their website if they have one.If you’re posting the review on your own website, these elements help to establish that the review is coming from a real person, instead of being something you made up.
- The problems they were struggling with before they met you.These problems should be explained in the same terms your customers would use when they think or speak about their problems. Focus on the symptoms they KNOW they have, rather than the root cause that not everyone is aware of.
- The transformation or results you created for them.Once again, the description should focus on the symptoms, not the cause. People tend to be more aware of the tangible, visible day-to-day effects of their problems and results than they are of the root causes of the problem, and they care more about the results than they do about the process by which they get them.For example, people who want to lose weight aren’t looking to buy an exercise program. If they could lose weight without a program, that’s what they’d do, so clearly the exercises aren’t the selling point. So instead of encouraging people to say “she gave me ten-minute exercises to do”, say “thanks to her, I feel light, sexy and energetic, and I fit in my favorite outfits again”.
- Specifics about the time, quantities or monetary value in their results.If you can include the exact timeframe in which your client got results, the amount of money they made because of you, the number of new dates or clients they got, or other such specifics, the review will seem far more credible and compelling.For example, “He helped me get ten dates in three weeks, and three months later, one of those women became the most amazing girlfriend I’ve ever had” paints a clearer and more attractive picture than “He helped me get lots of dates, and one of them eventually turned into a relationship”.
- Their picture, if they’re willing to provide it.Like the name and website, a picture of their face helps to establish that these are real people leaving reviews, not just stories you made up.
- Any special challenges you helped them overcome.Some clients balk at making a purchase because they think, “It works for other people, but it won’t work for me because I have a special problem or limitation.”If you have a client who you helped to overcome a particularly challenging obstacle, encourage them to mention it in their review, to encourage people who think their problem is too big to be surmounted.
- What their problem was costing them.This cost could include lost time, money, health, well-being, self-esteem, or anything else their problem was robbing them of.
Method 4: Give satisfied clients a list of questions they can use to write their review.
If your clients want to write reviews for you, but they aren’t sure what to say, you can give them this list of questions to make it easier for them to create a compelling review or testimonial:
- What problem were you struggling with before you started to work with us?
- What was it costing you in terms of time, money, happiness, health, relationships, opportunities, influence, or reputation? Are there any other areas in which it was holding you back?
- What was your favorite thing about working with us?
- Was there something we offered you that the other solutions you tried did not?
- How long did it take for you to start noticing results?
- What changes and results have you gotten by working with us?
- What effects have those changes had on your life?
These questions will help to get their creative juices flowing, and will encourage them to write about the things that your potential clients really care about.
They also help your clients to see how far they’ve come by working with you, which will make them all the more eager to help others receive the same benefits you gave them.
If you’re in an industry where changes can be gradual or easy to miss, having a “before and after” profile will help your clients to see how much they or their situation has changed in the time you’ve spent together.
How to monitor business reviews and deal with bad reviews:
Even if you have a review service provider in place, there may still be times when a negative business review appears on one of your profiles and must be dealt with.
There are several review-monitoring systems available, and they will help you to detect and respond to bad reviews quickly before too many people see them.
But how do you deal with these reviews, in a way that improves your reputation instead of damaging it further?
Here are a few valuable guidelines to use:
- Address it quickly.
The longer a bad review sits on the internet unaddressed, the more people see it, and the clearer it becomes that you aren’t responsive to your clients’ problems.
You want to show both the angry customer and anyone who sees their comments that you take your customers’ concerns seriously and that you’ll act quickly and decisively to rectify the situation.
- Don’t get defensive or angry.
While it can be tempting to lash out at people who insult you, hurt your reputation, or otherwise offend you, this is not the time to let your emotions make your decisions for you. Instead, it’s time to take a deep breath and remind yourself that your reputation and your relationship with your customers are more important than your pride.
Don’t try to prove that the customer’s problem with your company doesn’t exist. Instead, focus on solving the problem.
- Find out what went wrong and why, and if there are any other problems that need to be addressed.
Get all the details you need to fix the problem, and invite the client to tell you about any other problems they may have had. This shows that you take their concerns seriously, and are going the extra mile to make sure they have full satisfaction.
While you’re exploring the situation, make sure to pay careful attention to what they say. Some businesses’ customer support representatives skim quickly over their clients’ questions, and as a result, the answers they offer can range from ineffective to completely irrelevant.
This only angers the customer further and requires that you spend even more time on the conversation, so it’s far better to take the time to get it right on the first try. After all, as John Wooden said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
- Offer an effective solution.
When people flood the internet with angry reviews, it isn’t usually just because something went wrong. It’s because something was wrong and nobody fixed it.
Offer an effective, timely and actionable solution to their problem, if at all possible. And if the problem isn’t fixable, whether because the issue was on the customer’s end and is entirely outside your power to fix, or because their expectations were simply not reasonable, then explain why you can’t give them what they want.
- Have a clear refund/return policy.
When a conflict arises, it can be very valuable to have a document or policy you can refer to. Armed with this, you can point out to customers who aren’t being reasonable that your policies were clearly laid out, and that by making a purchase, they agreed to abide by those terms.
Along with your standard refund/return policy, it’s important to get signed agreements in writing before you begin to work. That way, both parties know what to expect from each other, and you can both refer to the agreement in the event that a misunderstanding occurs.
How do I get started?
I just gave you some valuable tools and strategies that you can use to start improving your rankings, revenue, and reputation. But for some business owners, especially those who already have a lot on their plates, getting started can be overwhelming. For information on our online audit visit this offer page. We can and will make sense of our online presence including your business reviews.
If you want to get a free report of your business’ current reviews with no obligation, and an opportunity to get your review management taken care of for you, click the image below to get your review report.