Reviews highly matter as a trust signal
The better your rating is (closer to 5 stars), the more trust a customer may feel when reaching out to you. So, of course, search engines and social media platforms will use these as a signal on how to rank your business website within their platform.
You will want to really get some great reviews and ratings to help stand out from your competitors online. While not guaranteed as a "ranking factor", you should see an increase in customers (Depending on your business industry).
But there are times you get an unhappy customer (or a competitor) that will leave a low rated review on your business. It is good to deal with these instead of leaving them alone. Businesses risk losing about 22% of business when potential customers find one negative article on the first page of your search results. That number increases to 44% lost business with two negative articles, and 59% with three negative articles.
Considering how powerful reviews can be, it’s worth putting the time in to using them well.
Why do I want to get more reviews?
When you Google for a local restaurant or a plumber service near you, you see the Google Map Box appear with 3 or more listings. Some of these have reviews, some do not. Your eyes go straight for the listings with the reviews, followed by the listings with the higher-rated reviews.
Simply put, they’re helpful for your local SEO. Having unbiased and unforced reviews from the public helps Google to further understand what your business is about, and recognise that you’re great at what you do.
Studies have shown that businesses with a good number of positive reviews on Google My Business appear higher in the local map results.
This means more eyeballs on your business, especially when people are searching for businesses like yours in the local area.
Best practices for getting good reviews
If you don’t have a good product or don’t offer fantastic customer service, STOP and work on that first - requesting reviews now would cause damage to your business brand.
Doesn’t ask. Invite. Invite is a kinder word than ask.
Ask Invite at the Right Time. The best time to invite them for a review is when the value that you’ve delivered to the customer is at the top of their mind, making it easy for them to recall what happened and write an honest review.
NEVER ask for a good review. Instead, ask for an honest review. Don't call it a "review on Google". Ask for online feedback.
Don’t offer incentives. A percentage of your customers will do it for free. If you offer to pay your top brand ambassadors, it’s possible they will get turned off, which could hurt your business by dampening the enthusiasm of these mavens. Some companies also have terms that state you can not incentive reviews.
Make it possible and easy. That means prominently featuring calls-to-action for customers to leave a review on your site or having a QR code/URL for them to visit after their dinner meal. When shipping products, include a paper that is of emotional value to the customer and a URL to leave feedback.
Share your reviews on social. This is great for more ways than one. By sharing your reviews on your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter business profiles, you can create easy posts and show your follows how awesome you are.
Where and how to collect reviews?
Google and Facebook are the go-to platforms for the majority of customers today, but are they the go-to platforms for your customers?
Make a list of all of the review platforms you and your competitors receive the majority of your reviews on. If you sell your products on marketplaces that have built-in review systems, include them in your list as well.
You should also take the time to learn how each platform works. This helps to ensure you meet each platform’s and consumers’ expectations.
Google My Business
The reviews from here are shown with local search results, maps and many other of their apps within their ecosystem.
Look at getting 9-15 good reviews for you business on Google My Business to start to notice results. Google My Business has a nice easy area for viewing and responding to your reviews as well.
Google has a great tool called Google Marketing Kit where they help you create the posts and content from your reviews. Check it out.
Reviews on your Business Page are often shown whenever someone (or yourself) shares the Facebook page. When people recommend you in local groups, your ratings should be saying "We can be trusted".
Unfortunately, Facebook hasn’t made it super simple like Google My Business has. If you send them to the Facebook review page, users who are logged-out of Facebook won’t arrive at the right place!
We need to take them to the login page, so they can login. This is where the “next” parameter that Facebook has built-in will take the user to wherever that URL is set to, after they login.
Replace "YOUR-BUSINESS-REVIEW" with your Facebook business slug. To find your Facebook business slug, visit your business page and look at the URL at the top and copy only the “slug” part between the first two slashes (“/”). NOTE: it’s not the whole Facebook page’s URL.
Your Own Online Shop
This can be a complex topic on it's own so here are some links for more reading on this:
However, the same rules apply - make it easy for your customers to do so.
If setup with the correct schema code, your product reviews may appear within various search results.
Other Review Locations
You can also use industry-specific directories that are relevant to your business. Places like Bing Places, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and AirBnB will depend on your business and location. Each platform will have their own terms on how to collect reviews.
You have received a good review, now what?
Respond to ALL Reviews. If you’ve been focusing on making your customer experience a priority, then your customers don’t just have a relationship with your product; they have a relationship with you. Thank them for their feedback.
A survey showed that 80 percent of consumers believe that a business cares about them when someone from the management team responds to their review. Unfortunately, most consumers – about 63 percent – say that a business never responds to their feedback.
Your customers will notice that your business values their input, and possibly leave more reviews in the future.
You’re a lot less likely to hear from happy customers so do reach out to them. The happy ones will take the product they’ve received, use it, and go on living their lives.
If you put in that effort now, you’ll be rewarded with customers who become raving fans. These are the most valuable types of customers you can have as they’ll promote your business without being prompted.
You have received a negative review, now what?
Unhappy customers have good reason to contact you - they want you to make things right.
The first rule of dealing with negative reviews is to not take them personally.
No business wants to receive a negative review, but the good news is that showing negative reviews actually improves customer trust. Why? Negative reviews shown alongside positives ones emphasize their authenticity and proves to the customer that they haven’t been doctored. They make your business look legitimate.
However, a bad review isn’t the problem. A bad review is the result of a problem. The real problem is whatever happened between your customer and your businesses that created that result. They’ll let you know of any areas your business that needs to be improved on.
Treat the upset customer just as you would an upset customer who hadn’t spoken up online: with empathy, compassion and a genuine commitment to making things right.
Even with fake reviews. Why? Shows great customer service to the other potential customers. Turn that bad review into a show of value and investment into your business and customers.
You should respond publicly, but that response should be a with a personalized response, and a request for an opportunity to make things right. You do not want to come off as standardized.
Once the wrong has been righted, ask them to write another review of their experience, which will show potential customers that you are willing to go the distance to take care of your customers and make them feel heard.
Do not get pulled into an online battle. No matter how polite your initial response, you may run into a troll who just wants to keep complaining online.
Here’s an example of how to respond to a negative online review:
“This is [Your Name], owner of [Business]. I’m sorry you were unhappy with the service you received at our business [clearly state facts without blame]. Our goal is for every guest to leave feeling satisfied with the experience. Please call or email me at [contact information] so I can resolve this issue to your satisfaction.”
Most platforms will not allow the removal of bad reviews so instead of trying to get bad reviews removed, drown them out. Improve your business, then get more good reviews.