15 Tips for Getting More Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are hugely valuable for small businesses – for a number of reasons…

  • Online reviews are SEO gold! Customer reviews contain unique content and links to your business which play a BIG part in getting your business found in Google and other search engines. Nielsen research shows that more than 80% of all purchases for goods and services start with a search on the internet – so if you’re not getting lots of enquiries from online sources, your competitors probably are.
  • People trust reviews (much more than advertising). Positive reviews greatly increase your conversion from browsers to buyers. Did you realise that 78% of people trust consumer recommendations above ALL other types of advertising and marketing. (More research from Nielsen)

Managing your reviews/reputation is also extremely important – for example…

  • Research suggests that 86% of people will hesitate in hiring a business that has negative online reviews
  • 72% of customers will only take action after reading a positive review for a business

At Word of Mouth, we see a very strong correlation between the number of reviews a business has and the traffic and enquiries they receive (the more reviews a business has, the more enquiries they get).

But how do you go about getting great reviews. In the United States, reviewing a business after using them has become second nature for most consumers, but in Australia, many consumers still need a bit of encouragement. Based on the businesses that attract the most reviews, we’ve provided here our top tips to get more customer reviews…

  1. Smile and Talk to Customers! A novel idea, but if you build rapport upfront, you’ll find it MUCH easier to ask for a review after you’ve provided the service. PLUS, they’re much more likely to love your service if they like you!
  2. Ask Customers if they’ve seen your other Reviews. Even if you know they didn’t see your reviews, ask if they did – that way they’ll know how important reviews are to your business. Plus, you want to know how they found your business anyway.
  3. Show them Feedback is Important. Display evidence of your reviews in your shop, on a sign, on your website, at your point-of-sale, in your email signature. Make it clear to everyone that customer feedback and word-of-mouth is the currency your business lives on. (If you would like the code for the Word of Mouth widget to put on your website, please contact us – check out this business to see how they’ve implemented it.)
  4. Ask for a Review. Don’t be shy or embarrassed – asking your customers for feedback will actually increase their satisfaction! Just ask whether they were happy with their experience today, and then ask whether they’d mind reviewing your business on Word of Mouth. Tell them it only takes a moment and customer feedback really helps your business.
  5. Hand them a Flyer. If you’re a member of Word of Mouth’s Happy Customers Program, you’ll already have your customised flyers to hand out to clients (let us know whenever you need more). These give people simple instructions to review your business and also provide a visual reminder to actually do it. (You can also mail these out or include them in orders but you’ll get a higher response rate if you speak to customers about it.)
  6. Email a Request. If you don’t physically come into contact with your clients, you can email them a request for a review. Remember to include the link to your Word of Mouth listing and contact us if you’d like an email template to use for this. You can also email people a reminder a few days after you’ve given them a flyer.
  7. Use laptops / iPads in your store. While customers are being served or waiting, it’s the perfect time to ask them for a review and then hand them the iPad with your Word of Mouth page open. This works beautifully for some businesses and one hairdresser has recently climbed to almost 100 reviews using this method.
  8. Have a “Review Us” button on your website. Word of Mouth can provide you with a simple line of code to include on your website which creates a button and allows the customer to review your business without leaving your website. Please email us and ask for the code for your business.
  9. Input Existing Feedback If customers have emailed or mailed you letters of praise, you can actually log into your Word of Mouth account and enter this as a review on behalf of your customer. You’ll need the customer’s email address and this only goes live once the customer approves it.
  10. Add an Incentive. To quickly boost up the number of reviews for your business, an extra incentive can work wonders. Of course you can’t make any requirement on the type of review customers leave, but you can say something like “everyone that enters a review goes in the draw to win…” or “enter a review this month and you’ll get $xx off your next booking”.
  11. Get Staff Onboard & Make it Fun. Make sure all of your staff know how important reviews are to your business. Celebrate each positive review internally or even hold a competition to see who can get the most positive mentions in reviews.
  12. Respond to Customer Reviews. Let people know that you’re listening and appreciate their feedback. A public response shows everyone that you care about customers and their experience. Check out our tips for responding to positive reviews and responding to negative reviews.
  13. Try to Secure a Review Promptly. There is a fantastic window of opportunity when you are in front of your customer face-to-face (customers generally cool down, forget or just can’t be bothered once they get home) . In many cases reviews solicited at the time of the actual service can see conversion rates of 80-90% according to Ted Paff, CEO of CustomerLobby.
  14. Try to Avoid Soliciting Yelp Reviews. Yelps spam filters are very strong. For customers that don’t use Yelp regularly the filter may end up removing the review from your listing. You may also end up with some irate customers wondering where their review has gone.
  15. Make it as Easy as Possible. Word of Mouth has a automatic review link that you can send to your customers. It can be embedded in invoices, sent out in text messages or emailed to customers. The best part – customers don’t have to have a gmail or Facebook account to leave feedback.

Most businesses find that the more reviews they have, the easier it is to attract more reviews. It’s a snowball effect because you’ll attract customers that are influenced by reviews, and these people tend to review the businesses they use.

As an initial goal, we encourage businesses to aim for 10 reviews. Once you reach this, you’ll almost certainly be getting enquiries and new customers and you won’t want to stop.

Good luck!


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