Search engines place a high value on customer reviews. This means that search engines consider the number of online reviews that a business has when deciding who to rank within local search results. If you do a local search on Google, you’ll notice reviews (and star ratings) are listed with both local (map) results, as well as with organic search results. This can help your business stand out from your competitors. One way to give your local, organic website traffic a boost is to get new reviews on your Google+ page.
Below are three steps for getting your reviews system off the ground:
1. Embrace Online Reviews
Many businesses hope to avoid online reputation management entirely, often without recognizing how valuable reviews can be.
The first thing to consider is that people will feel compelled to review your business whether you actively manage your reviews or not. If you don’t actively monitor your business’ reviews, you might not know about customer issues, and you may not be addressing customer concerns about your product or service.
Secondly, unless you are consistently acquiring customer feedback, one negative review can stick out to your potential customers like a sore thumb. Like it or not, online reviews are here to stay, and the best thing to do is to fully embrace them.
Lastly, it's important to understand that asking for reviews will need to become part of your day-to-day process. Every customer touch point is an opportunity to ask for reviews, whether it's at the time when an appointment is set, when the service is delivered, at checkout, or in a follow-up phone call or email, there is no wrong time to ask, and there's no better time to start!
2. Automate Your System
The easiest way to acquire new reviews is to automate your system. Do you have an email newsletter or an electronic receipt that you send to customers? These are perfect places to include a link for people to leave honest feedback on their experience.
Do you have a card that you leave behind after a service call or a paper bill that is mailed out monthly? Create a shortened link, include it on your printed document and ask people to leave an honest review.
Regardless of your process, there’s always a way to automate your system, which will allow you to gain a consistent stream of new, honest reviews.
3. Use Negative Reviews to Your Benefit
It’s important to understand that there is a science to properly respond to negative reviews. Customer Lobby’s Kevin Baca has written the definitive guide to constructively responding to negative reviews. The Customer Lobby blog is a wonderful source of information on how to navigate the complicated, and often sticky, world of online reviews.
Still not sure where to start?
Below are 3 tips to start taking control of your online reputation today:
Don’t wait: There’s nothing good that will come of waiting. Embrace your online reviews – both positive and negative – and take control of your online reputation.
Take advantage of your hard work: You put a lot of work into making your customers happy. Next time someone takes the opportunity to commend you on a job well done, ask them if they’d be willing to write your business a review online.
Ask for help: Just like most things in the digital marketing world, the strategies for online reputation management are ever-changing. Don’t hesitate to ask us what online reputation management options might be right for your business.