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Marketing

A Guide to Getting, Responding, and Leveraging Reviews

Andrew Adams
Group of people sitting at at table

Online reviews play a big role in your efforts to get more leads and grow revenue, whether you want it to or not. Every day, consumers are reading online reviews to help make informed decisions on which small business to hire. They trust online reviews as much as they trust a recommendation from a friend or family member. While getting new reviews can be difficult and responding to them can be discouraging, when a small business can leverage the positive reviews and its responses, they can gain new customers and increase overall revenue.

Before we talk about how to get more reviews, let’s look at some stats on why reviews are important to small businesses like yours.

  • 72% of customers will not buy anything until they read some reviews. (BrightLocal)
  • 70% of consumers trust online reviews and articles more than advertisements when they want information about a business. (Statista)
  • 70% of all users need to read at least four reviews before trusting a business. (Deloitte)
  • One disappointed customer will share their negative experience with 9 - 15 people. (Oracle)

Online reviews are important to any local business. Both positive and negative reviews influence a consumer’s decision when looking at buying your services. In this e-book, we’re going to talk about a few things, including:

  • How to get reviews on an ongoing basis
  • How to respond to reviews
  • How to use reviews to get more business

Let’s Get Reviews

First things first, you need reviews. And not only do you need reviews, but you also need to be continually getting reviews to keep things fresh and give customers new insights into your company. But how do you do that?

Are You Where Your Customers Are?

To really get the most out of online reviews, you need to make sure your business is set up to get reviews. There are several websites where users go to look at reviews such as Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp. There may also be other sites where your customers look for online reviews depending on your location, business type, etc. Keep in mind that Google My Business reviews account for 57.5% of all reviews globally, according to Review Trackers.

  • 63.6% of users check Google reviews
  • 45.18% visit Yelp for reviews
  • 23.14% look at Facebook reviews

If your business doesn’t have a Google My Business profile, follow these easy steps to create a profile so you can start getting reviews.

How Do I Get Reviews?

Once you have a Google My Business and other profiles set up, you can start to get reviews. Some platforms, like Yelp, limit businesses from soliciting reviews. However, Google My Business does not have any limitations for asking customers to give you feedback. There are a few ways to encourage your customers to leave you a review.

The first, and most important, is to provide exceptional service that makes them want to leave a review. Going above and beyond a customer’s expectations creates loyalty with your customers and it also naturally encourages customers to leave a rave review. According to Review Trackers, “Reviews are increasingly shifting from being a place where consumers air their grievances to being a place to recommend businesses.”

Another simple way to encourage someone to leave a customer review is by communicating with them directly about it. Service-based businesses have found unique ways to do this and you may already have a process in place to help you gain more reviews. A simple e-mail, text message, or post-card after you’ve completed a job is a great way to encourage customers to leave you a review. It is easy to automate this process so that your customer receives an email or text message after the service is complete.

“Thank you for your business. We really appreciate any feedback you may have about your experience and we’d love for you to leave us a review.”

Consumers appreciate a simple thank you and they value a company’s commitment to improving based on feedback. If you can show customers you care about their opinions, it will help boost your reviews, as well. You can also incentivize your team to encourage reviews when they’re with a customer. For instance, you could give team members a bonus for each 5-star review they receive. The team member will be more likely to give exceptional service and encourage a review when they have a reward waiting.

One of the important parts of reviews is that your business is continually getting new reviews. By setting up an automated process to encourage reviews, you will be able to get more reviews on a consistent basis.

85% of consumers define online reviews older than three months as irrelevant. (BrightLocal)

Responding to Reviews is Important

89% of consumers read companies’ responses (BrightLocal)

Have you tried responding to a review and felt awkward doing so? Sometimes it can be difficult to respond to a negative review without sounding defensive or insincere. However, the data shows that customers expect a company to respond and those responses also affect if they want to do business with you.

To make the process easier, you can create a simple response for both negative and positive reviews that you can customize when you respond to reviews. You don’t want to post the exact same response to every review but customizing it based on their feedback is a good way to simplify the process. Check out these responses:

For a positive response, try something like this: “Thank you for your review. We love hearing from our customers about their experiences. We’re glad to know that (pick something from the review) went well.

For a negative review: “We appreciate your review and we’re addressing your concerns about (specifics from the review). We value your feedback and someone from our team will reach out to you soon.”

Responding to reviews is important in building customer loyalty. According to BrightLocal, Businesses that respond to online reviews increase the trust in their brand for 30% of their customers. An increase in brand trust leads to an increase in word-of-mouth referrals, repeat business, and revenue.

How do you stay up on reviews, especially if you’re getting reviews on a consistent basis? Create a schedule where you can respond to reviews once a week or a few days a week. Depending on the size of your team, you can give the responsibility to someone else to follow up on all reviews.

Following up on each review shows that your business cares about its reputation and the satisfaction of its customers. Consistently checking your reviews also ensures that you know what is being said about you on the internet.

Be Professional

A negative review can be frustrating as a business owner and it can be difficult to respond to negative feedback that you may disagree with. When you are responding to a negative or positive review, it is important to remain professional and courteous to your customers. A simple response to a negative review shows that you care about the feedback. Reach out directly to the reviewer to resolve the issue instead of trying to resolve it on the review platform.

Follow-Up For Repeat Business

A great way to gain repeat customers is to reach out and thank them for their review and their business. You can also offer a discount or service as a thank you for the review and to encourage them to use your services again. You can also offer customers a discount for any referral that they send to your company.

Using Reviews to Grow My Business

Reviews are a critical part of every business today and they are especially important for service-based businesses. Each review gives potential customers a glimpse into your business’s values, brand, and quality of work. A mix of positive and negative reviews also helps customers get an accurate picture of your business.

Combining positive and negative reviews can increase conversion rates by 85%. (RevLocal)

Your potential customers will be looking at your reviews before hiring you. Even with a word-of-mouth referral, customers still turn to reviews and your online presence to solidify the recommendations of even their closest friends. Potential customers will naturally look at your reviews but how can you leverage the reviews you receive to help your marketing efforts?

An easy way to leverage reviews is to post positive reviews as part of your marketing content. If you’re regularly posting on social media, you could highlight a positive review or comment as part of your social media plan. You can also highlight the reviews on your website, giving you control over what potential customers see.

Analyze Reviews to Find Ways to Improve

A great way to leverage the reviews you receive is to look at the feedback and find ways to improve your business. As you look through the reviews, are there any consistent complaints or concerns that you could proactively address during the time of service?

While negative feedback can be tough to swallow sometimes, it also provides opportunities to improve the customer experience and increase customer retention. It is important to use the information you receive through reviews to help improve your business.

If your reviews are continually talking about a certain employee, there may be opportunities for more training to help alleviate situations that can lead to a negative experience. On the other side, if reviews are continually praising a key employee, rewarding that employee for their exceptional service is a good way to get others to follow suit.

In the end, reviews can be a resource to your small business to find ways to improve your service and get more clients.

Make It Easy

A simple way to make managing your reviews and reputation easier is to use a marketing platform that brings everything into one place. Scorpion’s marketing platform allows you to see all of your reviews in one place, respond to them, and also gives you the tools to encourage customers to leave reviews as well through e-mail marketing, text messages, and more.

While a marketing platform may be a convenience your company isn’t ready to invest in, you can always set up processes to make review management easier. A simple way is to set calendar reminders on your phone to check reviews at a certain cadence. If you’re busy and get reviews often, then you want to be checking those reviews consistently, maybe every week. For others, it may be something you do twice a month. The key is that you’re seeing the reviews and addressing any issues as soon as possible.

Organic Benefits of Reviews

We’ve talked a lot about the ways you can use reviews to help your business, but there are also benefits of reviews that you’ll gain organically from Google. As you may know, Google likes to encourage companies to use their services and platform so they incentivize you through various ways. One of those ways is reviews and your Google My Business profile. Online reviews are one of many factors that search engines use to evaluate and rank your local business when consumers are searching.

At the end of the day, reviews and reputation management are just one piece of the puzzle of running a successful local business. There’s a lot to remember and a lot to do. If you’re managing your marketing and reviews on your own, make sure to find a cadence that works for you and keeps your reviews top of mind. If handling reviews and reputation is more than you can handle, finding a marketing partner to help elevate the strain can be beneficial.

Since reviews play such an important role, you don’t want them to hurt your current and future business opportunities. Follow these easy steps to manage your reputation with ease and make sure that online reviews are helping your business.

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