How important are online reviews? Would you go to a restaurant you knew nothing about? Would you hire a lawyer with zero client reviews? What about a plastic surgeon?
The fact is, the experiences of others have always heavily influenced how we decide where to spend our hard-earned money. Online reviews are now more important than ever.
A local reviews software company analyzed the distribution of 1.3 million Google reviews and found the more reviews you have, and the higher you’re rated, the more likely you’ll rank at the top of Google’s local map results.
Another study by BrightLocal determined that a full 88% of consumers trust a review as much as a personal recommendation. The same study found that nearly 40% of consumers trusted a review for a doctor or dentist online in 2014 — second only to the restaurant industry. These are statistics you just can’t afford to ignore.
Many business owners assume that if they give great service, positive online reviews will start flooding the internet. But this is not always the case. It’s best to actively seek reviews, rather than rely on the whims of your customers.
But it’s not always easy to ask a client to write you an online review, especially if that client is brand-new. After all, you don’t want to look desperate — or worse, like approval from others is your only motivation for providing great service.
Is there a way to ask for online reviews without being pushy? Will it effectively encourage your customers to take a few minutes out of their day for you?
There are several ways to approach the question/request. But first, you must know precisely where you want the review to be written. The majority of people looking for information on a business will land on a Google review, so building up that portfolio should be your first stop.
Not sure where to start? Here are some pointers for those first steps.
Where Should I Ask For Online Reviews?
Naturally, your print newsletter is the perfect platform to ask people who follow you company to give a review. You can also use email, social media accounts, or a local reviews software like ReviewJump to reach out for online reviews.
However, if you actually see your clients in person — especially if you see them regularly — you might have better luck asking your customers or patients in person. Just ensure that the person with the most client interaction is the one who always asks for the review, as strong relationships result in strong reviews.
How Should I Ask For Online Reviews?
First, check the guidelines for the Federal Trade Commission, which prohibits undeclared incentives for online reviews. You could actually be dealt a fine for offering money, products, or services in exchange for online reviews.
Also, take a look at the policies of the review sites you want to use (here are Google’s). Most sites, including Google, have a strict no-incentives policy. Yelp recommends business owners change their phrasing altogether. Rather than asking for a review, they suggest saying, “Check us out on Yelp.”
If you do ask, make sure to give them an honest estimate of how long it will take — and why it’s important for your company or practice to get honest feedback.
When Should I Ask For Online Reviews?
Reviews turn out best when the customer is happiest. If it’s possible to have a short conversation right after you’ve provided your fantastic service, your customer will be more likely to not only give you an online review, but give you a great online review.
Or, if you utilize a local reviews software like ReviewJump, it doesn’t matter when you ask for online reviews because of its negative review filter.
Online reviews don’t just give you a competitive edge. They also serve as a referral system, in which strangers who are in the market for your services can connect with people who are already satisfied customers.
If your business is really stepping it up, be proactive about getting reviews! People are busy. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive!