How to Get More Online Reviews in 5 Easy Steps

By Rhonda Bradley / 13 July 2018

These 5 simple steps will help your B2C business get more reviews online. You’ll also learn how to encourage positive feedback and address negative experiences.

Customer reviews become more important for businesses every year. In fact, according to the 2017 State of Online Reviews report by Podium, 93% of customers say that online reviews have an impact on their purchasing decisions, and 82% of consumers say that “the content of a review has convinced them to make a purchase.”

Reviews aren’t just for consumers, though. They’re also critical to your SEO strategy. According to Shopify, online reviews also have a major impact on your rankings in search engines.

In this article, we’ll show you 5 steps to getting more customer reviews. You’ll learn how to:

  • Make it easy for customers to review your business
  • Promote your reviews
  • Ask for reviews
  • Encourage positive reviews
  • Address negative reviews

By following these 5 steps, you’ll also give a boost to your search engine rankings and sales.

1. Make It Easy for Customers to Review Your Business

Make it easy for your customers to review your products or services by offering review opportunities on the platforms they frequent most. In addition to your website, consider offering customers the chance to review on social media platforms like Facebook and Yelp.

Keep it simple and allow users to share reviews with the fewest amount of clicks and requirements. 

2. Promote Your Reviews

Show off positive reviews in all of your marketing and on your website, social media platforms, and emails.

For example, below is a review that travel site Couchsurfing.com shares on its Facebook page.

Couchsurfing Facebook screenshot

WPX Hosting company takes it a step further by displaying a review slideshow as its cover photo on its Facebook page.

WPX Hosting Facebook page

WPX Hosting has built its business on positive customer reviews. It uses them at every stage of marketing, and also includes a large social proof section on its website’s homepage.

WPX Hosting website

Customer reviews are strong social proof that most people trust as much as personal recommendations from friends.

Promoting your positive customer reviews is an excellent way to encourage others to write a review, while at the same time promoting your business.

3. Ask for Reviews

The Podium survey mentioned above also learned that 77% of customers are willing to leave reviews if they’re asked.

There are a number of ways you can ask customers for reviews. Here are a few ways you can ask your customers for feedback:

  • Share polls and surveys on social media and by email.
  • Send a request by email after the purchase.
  • Contact customers directly and ask for input.
  • Include feedback boxes at the close of customer chat sessions.
  • Ask for permission to use positive comments that customers casually share with you.

Below is an example of how a business can ask for a customer review immediately after a purchase. Hair salon K. Charles sends an email after every customer visit, thanking the customer for their business and asking them to share their opinion.

K. Charles Salon email

K. Charles wisely asks for both feedback and referrals at a time when the customer is most impressed with the service - as soon as they arrive home.

Offer incentives like discounts or coupon codes for customers who are willing to take the time to write or record a review. It’s perfectly acceptable to incentivize customers to leave honest reviews, as long as you are not “buying reviews” by asking for a certain angle or for positive reviews.

Finally, be sure to get your team on board encouraging reviews. Train your staff to ask for customer service reviews after every inquiry or support ticket. 

4. Encourage Positive Reviews

It’s important that your review system is honest and transparent. However, there are a few ways you can encourage happy customers to share their positive feedback.

Offer customers fun ways to review. For example, you might ask loyal customers to share their opinion in a video. Or, ask social media fans to offer video tips related to your product.

Consider a happy/sad-faced landing page. If you need to pump up your positive reviews, consider soliciting private reviews before sending customers to a review site.

Here’s how it works: Your company asks customers for feedback, but instead of going directly to a review system, they’re taken to a landing page and asked something like “How happy are you with our service?”

Below is an example of what this might look like.

Happy/sad review system
Source

If a customer chooses a sad face, they’re offered the opportunity to send a message to customer service.

But, when a customer chooses a happy face, they’re presented with a message that inspires them to write a review about their great experience. 

In an interview with Fortune Magazine, Daniel Vivarelli of Starloop shares his secret to generating a ton of positive reviews by offering to plant a tree if the customer will take the time to write a review.

Starloop review quote

Landing pages and apps like Starloop offer an ethical way to encourage positive reviews, while flagging customers who have had a negative experience and may need some additional help.

Ultimately, you should let customers know that positive reviews have a personal impact.

Digital marketing news source Marketing Land suggests encouraging positive reviews by letting customers know what a difference their reviews make. For example, they suggest having the customer service representatives let customers know that they'll receive a tip if their name is mentioned in a positive review. 

5. Address Negative Reviews

There’s an old saying that goes “You can please some of the people all of the time. You can please all of the people some of the time. But, you can never please all of the people all of the time.”

If you have a place for people to write customer reviews, then sooner or later you’ll probably be faced with negative feedback. If you handle it well, you can impress your customers even further and possibly turn around some of the unhappy ones.

For starters, never remove negative reviews. It’s dishonest and compromises the integrity of your review system. Instead, respond to the unhappy customers by thanking them for their honesty, and then work hard to fix the situation. 

Negative reviews are part of the process and offer valuable feedback that allows you to improve and adjust your product over time. 

When other customers read reviews, they’re often paying less attention to the complaints and more attention to the way you handle them.

Customers know that mistakes happen and not everyone can be satisfied. By showing them that you’re willing to take the steps needed to fix things, you’re proving that your company is worth trusting.

Get More Customer Reviews and Better Understand Your Audience

While consumers do rely on reviews to make purchase decisions, they’re usually reasonable with their expectations.

  • 92% of users will use a local business if it has at least a 4-star rating.
  • 3.3 is the minimum star rating of a business that consumers will consider doing business with.
  • Improve your ratings and people will take notice. A one-star improvement on Yelp leads to an average 5 - 9% increase in revenue.

It’s not difficult or expensive to increase the number of customer reviews for your brand.

If, for some reason, customers don't like your product, you’ll receive valuable feedback that helps you improve your business and better serve your customers.

But, if customers do like your product, you’ll increase the amount of organic traffic you get from search engines and can expect a higher rate of sales conversions on your website.

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