When you need a service or are looking to make a big purchase, what is the first step you take? You go online and look for information, maybe read a few online reviews. Guess what? Your customers do the same thing!
Many local search engines and local directories use consumer opinions as a factor for how prominently they show a business in their results. Both the volume of reviews and the sentiment of those reviews have an effect on how visible a business is. Businesses that can successfully encourage their customers to leave positive reviews will benefit from reaching a wider audience.
Online reviews are a great way to cultivate brand advocates who will help drive more customers to your business. A brand advocate is a ‘fan’ of a brand & takes a sense of ownership in seeing it succeed by evangelizing it to others.
According to a research done by comScore, 61% of online users consider buying a brand, product or service recommended by an advocate. Any of your customers can become an advocate for your business; all you need to do is ask. Here are five easy ways you can increase your online reviews and the number of advocates for your business.
Remember to ask for reviews after your business with your customers is complete. People are most likely to give you feedback right away.
According to Ted Paff, CEO of CustomerLobby, a review service, “Comment card reviews solicited at the time of service can see completion rates of 80-90%” vs. much lower rates for other forms of review solicitation.
You may feel embarrassed when asking customers for reviews. If that sounds like you, just be totally candid with your customers. Tell them that you are working on improving your business and you heard that asking for reviews was a good way to do this.
Another good practice is to check different review sites periodically to monitor what people are saying about your business. When you identify your brand advocates, make sure to thank them for their time and recommendations. Soon you will see the impact online reviews can have on your businesses reputation.