In today’s digital marketplace, reputation plays a central role in the consumer decision making process. 70-90% of a buyer’s journey is completed before engaging with a vendor.1 This is because consumers are cautious. They search through tons of content – researching both the product and the provider in order to make an informed decision before buying. Reviews are an integral part of this process.
It can be nerve-racking to sit on the sidelines and hope that no one writes a negative review. This idea scares many people away from asking for reviews because we often think that no reviews are better than bad reviews. But, for those with a large client base, sticking your head in the sand isn’t an option. Apps and services like Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc. make it easy for consumers to voice their opinions about the organizations they do business with. Because of the weight consumers give online reviews, ignoring these outlets can have a serious negative effect on new business opportunities.
Most consumers who interact with you will have an average experience. That’s normal. These people aren’t very likely to share their experience by writing a review. The only people who tend to write reviews without being prompted are the small percentage who either had a really good or really bad experience. If you rely solely on these polarized groups to manage your reputation, it may controversialize your product or service. In turn, it may lower consumer confidence for those who were considering contacting you.
Instead, you should take the initiative to manage your reputation.
It is inevitable that everyone will receive some bad reviews even if they are unfounded. That is the nature of the beast. If you actively seek reviews from your clients, you stand a chance to drown out those negative reviews with a high volume of good and average reviews.
Here are a few good tips to help you get better reviews
Ask in your email signature
This is an easy way to passively ask for reviews. Provide links in your email signature that take your clients to pages where they can leave reviews. Like any passive channel, you will not have a large amount of engagement through these links, but it requires little effort and creates awareness that you otherwise wouldn’t have had.
Ask your clients directly
The best way to encourage people to write good reviews is to ask for them. That isn’t to say that you should include a plug for reviews in every communication, though. You should ask for a review after completing a sale or solving a client’s problem. Also, be specific when asking for a review. If you just helped a client solve a problem with their service and they are happy with the results, ask them to write a review about how you handled the situation.
It never hurts to give your clients an incentive to write reviews and you don’t have to break the bank to do it. Simple incentives like a $5 gift card or a small discount on services can be just enough of a nudge to convince your client to act.
Incorporating soft requests for reviews in your client communications will help you take charge of your online presence. It isn’t necessary to use every tactic that I’ve listed but you should consider which tactics would work harmoniously within your communications and build from there. Whichever route you choose, remember to be patient. These channels for reviews take time to perfect. Your first attempt may have underwhelming results but that shouldn’t discourage you. You need to be proactive to manage your online reputation and this is the way to do it.
To learn more about our review guides, please click here.
1The Role Of Influence In The New Buyer’s Journey. (2014, April 10). Retrieved November 25, 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2014/04/10/the-role-of-influence-in-the-new-buyers-journey/