Updated: Apr 15, 2021
How then can you get more and better reviews from your current patrons that will attract new customers and more revenue? Here's a five-step process to give your business a lift.
Let’s face it. You already know how important online reviews are for your business. People trust recommendations from other real people more than they will ever trust a brand claim. As the owner of a service-based business you are already convinced that great word-of-mouth, amplified by the Internet, can deliver exponential benefits for your business.
How then can you get more and better reviews from your current patrons that will attract new customers and more revenue? Here is a five-step process to give your business a lift.
STEP 1: Deliver great service.
This is no special trick. The initial step to getting better online reviews is simple being great at the service that you do and making your customers happy. You have to work and establish that level of quality throughout your whole team and at each phase of your customer’s buying journey.
Are their initial inquiries attended to promptly? Is there someone always available to answer questions, book appointments and explain the details of your service? Is the service done on-time? Is the job done well and with a smile?
Great work done graciously always gets noticed. Making sure great work is delivered is always the first step in getting great reviews.
STEP 2: Ask for it.
As we speak, if you already deliver great service, your customers are ready and willing to give you great reviews. But do they know that you want it?
Tell your service staff to ask for reviews after they finish the job. You can also include a review request at the bottom of the bill receipts with the link to the website where they can write a review.
You can also place a form on your website where your customers can provide their feedback. This sends a clear message to your patrons that you want to hear from them and at the same time communicates to potential clients that you value your community.
STEP 3: Make it incredibly easy to give a great review.
You’ve done great service, you’ve provided clear cues asking for a review, now what? Because your clients would prefer varying ways of providing feedback, your task is to set up different easy ways to gathering them. Here are some ways you can set them up.
Create a simple form using tools like Typeform or as simple as a Google Form
Always have your Yelp listing ready to be shared and ready for new reviews
Make your reviews mobile. The on-demand services platform Supertap enables in-app reviews after the service, that starts with a rating, gives word cues and provides ample text space for the narrative review
You can also gather reviews via email or text message, just ensure you have a systematic way of collating them
STEP 4: Create an email or SMS campaign
First, if you haven’t yet, you have to begin collecting and organising your customers’ contact details. Once you have their email addresses or their mobile numbers, you can send either an email or text campaign requesting for their reviews.
Tell them straightforwardly that you wish to get their feedback about your services. In the message, send a link with all the various ways they can post a review. Never offer them an incentive for posting a review, lest it be seen as a bribe. Just allow the service that you delivered to speak for itself.
Make these review gathering campaign a regular effort and you are sure to get more honest feedback about your business posted online.
STEP 5: Reply to every online review.
Marketing a business is all about engaging with your market. In the world of reviews, you simply have to respond to each review, whether good or bad, to make the most out of its impact. This signals that your business is run by real people and gives your brand a personality. It can amplify the effect of a five star review and on the flip side, avert the damage of a customer rating.
Be all about grace and gratitude when responding to great reviews. When able, be personal about the response and resist the temptation to just reply with canned, copy-paste responded. Once more, the goal is to show that you are a business that cares for your customers, so be real in your thanks.
When given a bad review, it’s a great idea to do a bit of research with your staff as to what happened that led to this specific bad customer service. When you’ve confirmed that your team has indeed dropped the ball for the bad experience and assure the customer that should she choose to try you out again, you will be so much better. However, if this bad review seems to be a dud, call it out not with a counter-attack but with a simple statement that based on your investigation, no such bad service has happened. Hopefully, you have collected other great reviews alongside it to show potential customers that, in fact, you offer exceptional service contrary to what the fake bad reviewer is claiming.
Share glowing reviews as great testimonials
Reviews are social proof. Once you have them posted on your online listings, gathered in your Google forms or listed in your app’s ratings page, identify the ones that show your business in the best light and utilize them in your website design and business advertising.
Select ones that sound personal, showing how your business delivered and helped solve a pressing need. If you’ve received a review from an influential person in the community, highlight that too. Just be certain to get your customer’s permission to post these statements alongside their name, but once you have it, let the world know what your patrons think about you.
Why again should you bother?
Aside from training your team to consistently deliver wonderful service, you also need to remind them to ask for reviews from your clients. You’ve got to prepare the infrastructure to gather the reviews and also establish a regular system of collecting it. And for what again?
One word: Searchability
Online reviews are part of the top three factors that impact local search rankings. And with “(insert service) near me” searches steadily leading in search volume, it makes most sense to work and get your website up top in the search results. Here are a few topline pointers if you are new in the online reviews and search engine results game.
Search engines typically look at the quantity of reviews vis a vis the span of time it took to get these reviews. If your review's velocity is deemed too fast, with a sudden boatload coming in, it might be flagged as spammy and not considered authentic. So don’t worry when you start gathering reviews and think you’re running slow. As long as it is steady, with consistent build-up, you’re on the right track.
Comments are wonderful and provide anecdotal evidence of why your service is good. But for the casual online user, ratings are the easiest to read and absorb. As search engines are improving the quality and usability of their interfaces, they look for ratings that can be easily displayed on search results. So it makes sense to ensure that your review platform has a star-ratings feature, like Yelp or Supertap.
These steps and tips will help you set up your review acquisition plan and strengthen the online searchability of your service based business. It’s a tough market, and the more reviews you have, the more you differentiate your business from the competition. Don’t ever think that it’s too late for you to get started while other businesses have already gained traction. It’s never too late if you begin today.