Leverage The Power of Customer Reviews


Published: May 7, 2018 Author: Jason Holicky - Hometown Design Studio Inc.
Leverage The Power of Customer Reviews

Reviews and ratings are an important part of the buying process, especially in today’s digital landscape. Yelp, Google, and Facebook are the three most common review platforms, and there are many more like it out there. Plus, many businesses present reviews on their own websites.

Aside from being a way for buyers and potential customers to communicate with each other about their experiences, reviews also play an important part in your local SEO strategy. Search engines like Google want to know if people like doing business with you. If so, your pages are more likely to rise to the top of the search results. 

Encouraging More Reviews
You’ve done the hard work of ensuring your customers have an excellent experience with your company: your sales team has the right touch, your customer service team is highly trained and knows how to make things right, even your logistics teams are skilled at making things happen on time. Now all you need is to get people talking about it.

First, it’s important to know that each review site has its own rules regarding what you can do to solicit reviews. For example, asking for Google reviews is fine as long as you don’t offer an incentive to do so. Asking for a Yelp review might not be the best idea as Yelp prefers customers to act on their own. No matter what you do, never offer to pay anyone to leave a review of any type!

Here are a few ways to nudge your customers towards leaving you a review:
  • Follow-Up Email. When a product is delivered or a project is completed, send a personal note to the customer asking for a review. Make it easy and include links to Google reviews, a business directory, or other sites that are ok with you asking customers for feedback.

  • Website Page. Dedicate a page on your website to your reviews. You can display a few positive testimonials, and provide links to make it easy for people to leave their ideas and opinions.

  • Printed Materials. From a simple note printed at the bottom of receipts to cards and handouts given directly to customers, make sure you have plenty of ways to let people know that their comments are welcome.

Your Responses Matter
By claiming your business profile on sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook, you’ll also be given the opportunity to respond to customer reviews. When you’re part of the conversation, you’ll be able to build trust among those who have left reviews and those who are reading them.

It’s important to take the time to thank anyone who has left a positive review. However, what you do when facing a negative review is critical to your success. Every business will have a dissatisfied customer sooner or later, and when you do, all eyes will be on you.

First, stay calm. Never, ever fire back at a customer no matter how irate he or she is or how wrong you think their review is. Always start by accepting responsibility and apologizing for the situation. Next, suggest an offer that will make amends. Whether it’s a refund, a replacement, or a discount on a future product, try to give something tangible. Lastly, make it clear that you intend to correct the problem so it doesn’t happen again, and that while you’re sorry the customer had a bad experience, you’re grateful for the feedback so you can improve your process.

Remember, you’re not just dealing with one unhappy customer. You’re also speaking to an unknown number of readers who can come along at any time and see how you responded when things went wrong. Now is your time to shine!

Making the Most of Your Reviews
Once you get a few good reviews under your belt and achieve a good star-rating, make sure you use that to your advantage! Showcase your happiest customers and your best reviews on your company home page so it’s the first thing that visitors see. 

It can be a little nerve-wracking to have people freely discussing your business, but the potential benefits are enough to make it worthwhile. From positive reviews reinforcing your business goals to letting customers know that you’re willing to work with unhappy customers to make things right, today’s buyers are looking for that information. Plus, the boost to your local SEO efforts is the cherry on top.

About the Author

Creative Director Jason co-founded Hometown Design Studio of New Lenox, IL in 2013. He spends his days guiding and consulting industrial clients and small businesses owners on their marketing strategy and projects. Jason enables everyone to be successful and grow their business by sharing his knowledge and experience.
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