Social proof has been a deciding factor in making purchases for decades. If you run a small business and it can be rated (hint: that's virtually anyone), you should embrace review management to get ahead of the curve. You can ask for reviews to be more proactive in your online business. If you don't, you could be leaving a ton of money on the table.
Why should you ask for reviews? Asking for reviews gives your customers a call to action. That call is to share their experience with your business to the rest of the world. Good reviews show competency and even excellence, while negative reviews give a chance to show improvement and the ability to take criticism.
The ask is just one part of an overall review management strategy. There are other best practices involved that are a little beyond the scope of this article.
Benefits of Positive Reviews
Positive reviews offer powerful exponential leverage to your brand, in a similar vein that a website does. Here are a few ways to encourage your customers to share their experiences:
- Display a link or button on your website, social media, and daily deal websites. This can be to the site to review or any other purpose.
- Proudly display the logos or ratings of the review sites on your site or storefront.
- Provide comment cards in store or with your shipped product to provide a call to action.
- Incentivize repeat business and leaving reviews. This can be through a loyalty, ambassador, new offers, or other incentives.
- If someone tells or writes to you about their positive experience, encourage them to publicize that in a review.
- If someone leaves a negative review, reply to it and ask for a followup, more details, and how to make it better. You'd be surprised that this can sometimes lead to a positive review.
The goal is to have continuous reviews so that your business doesn't appear to be dead. Shoot for at least a monthly cycle.
The more positive experiences that can be collected, the better. Direct your customers online so that they can either leave reviews or even submit a testimonial. Testimonials are fantastic for business that may not be directly product or service based, at least in the traditional sense. If you sell high ticket items on your website and don't interface with anything else, this is absolutely necessary.
There are many different platforms that aggregate reviews. The 2 best ones you need to worry about are Google My Business and your Facebook page.
From Mobile App
- Open Google Maps App
- Search for location or tap it on the map
- At the bottom, tap the place's name or address
- Scroll down until you see 5 empty stars
- Tap the stars to score or write a review
From Web Browser
- Go to Google search or Google Maps
- Search for location
- Click Write a review
- In the window that appears, click the stars to score and/or write a review
For more information about this, check out Google's Review Support page.
- Click Reviews on the left side of the page's timeline
- Click the gray stars to rate and/or leave a review
- Click to select your audience
- Click Done
For more information about this, check out Facebook's Rating and Reviews Help page.
When I refer to online stores, I'm being a little loose here. The following steps below can be the verbiage template for your Amazon store, eBay store, Shopify store, your own website, or other retailers you sell through.
Enjoy your purchase. Please share your experiences.
- Visit retailer website.
- Login to your account and review your recent order or login and go to the product page.
- If you purchased in a store, find the product page.
- Click on “Write a Product Review” and follow the prompts.
Of course you should tailor the message to your storefront and add some personality to it's not so boring. I used to do this with products I sold on eBay. I would print off a little handout that included how I went above and beyond in fulfilling their order and asked them to leave feedback on eBay. It worked out pretty well.
These examples don't necessarily include a call to action for reviews, but it's the next best thing. They could easily be updated to include this specific text. These product warranty cards were included from a few products I purchased from Amazon.
Ask for Reviews Conclusion
One of the most frustrating things about a one-sided review system is there are people out there that write negative reviews with impunity. One tip I can give is to embrace criticism where you can and be slow to anger. Nearly everyone reads reviews so it's important to take them seriously. I believe most people are reasonable (shocking, I know) and just want a good product or service.
For the weirdos that just want to stick it to you, you can sometimes get their wacky reviews removed. It really depends on how they leave their review. If the review is inaccurate, libel, or dangerously confrontational, you can usually get these removed. As you review negative reviews don't let your default reaction to be to try to get them removed.
Your responses have power. In one of my online courses, I get unfair reviews constantly. That's not to say I don't deserve negative feedback, I do deserve to be taken to task and I love constructive criticism. In one unfair review, this one student listed like 5 negative things with demeaning descriptions. It was way over the top. When I shared this review to a few other instructions, most though it was a competitor intentionally trying to tank me. I addressed each one of the student's concerns and made myself available for contact. People love this type of willingness to improve.
Embrace the positive reviews and iterate to improve the negative ones. Focus on getting more 4 to 5 star positive reviews.
That's all for now. Let me know how you manage your reviews by commenting below. What else would you like to see covered.