We at Podium, see quite a few success stories. From collecting 100s of reviews in a matter of months to customers literally mentioning their local business reviews as the sole reason for their visit, to their standings on Google shooting through the roof, we love hearing our customers’ success stories.
But, of all the incredible customer success stories Podium has, one stands out from the rest.
A few months back we received a call from one of our clients who said that he needed to pause our service – we were devastated. We dug to find out the answer to why he needed to pause his Podium account and after a few minutes we came to find out that he had over 140 new walk-ins in one month, accrediting many of their visits to local business reviews. That’s right, he had 140 new walk-ins show up to his business, in just one month largely due to online reviews.
He continued to tell us that in order to resume his account, he needed to hire help and until then, he simply could not handle any more volume.
Talk about mixed emotions – we were extremely happy for him and his business but sad to see him go (he’s actually still a customer thanks to his hiring of more help)!
Strangely, this particular person isn’t the only person who has a similar story. We’ve heard from staffing agencies who say they saw more business in a matter of weeks than they had seen the last few years and auto dealerships say that customers traveled an extra 50 miles just to buy a car from the dealership that had incredible reviews.
The power of reviews are real and, if done correctly, your business can reap the benefits, as well.
Make it easy for your customers to leave reviews
This is one of the steps many businesses neglect to recognize – if you don’t make the review process frictionless for your customer, then you’ll only get reviews from your unhappy customers. I say that because unhappy customers are much more likely to go online and leave a review than happy customers. That is if you’re not giving your happy customers an easy way to leave you a review on Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc…
The most effective approach I’ve seen is to implement a review management platform like Podium. Now, there are many different platforms you can choose from, but remember you want it to be frictionless for your customer. What’s nice about Podium, is you invite your happy customers to leave reviews via text message rather than the traditional email-based approaches. This means for nearly every customer that has a smart phone, a review invite via text will receive a much better response than through email.
In some cases, there are reasons why you would opt to send out invites via email, but in most cases, text message-based review invites are the most effective.
Focus on review sites that your customers use
Today, there are so many review sites out there that it can be difficult to know which your business should focus on. One easy way to quickly understand the review sites that your customers often use is to simply look at the number of reviews you have on each, individual site. For example, if you see that you have 22 reviews on Google, 3 on ConsumerAffairs, and 1 on Facebook, you can quickly conclude that a majority of your customers will probably be using Google to search out your products and/or services. Therefore, Google would be a focal area for you.
If you don’t have any reviews on any review sites, see where your competitors are collecting reviews. Chances are, your customer bases are very similar.
Now, with that said, you should never neglect the other major review sites. Why? Because, with the user bases as large as they are for Yelp and Facebook, you’ll still get potential customers searching out you or your products/services on those sites. That’s why it’s important that you build a balanced presence and make sure you have a positive presence on those other sites – it will help in the long run.
Last of all, industry-specific review sites are an important piece to note. For lawyers, sites like Avvo can bring potential customers that are further down the funnel, looking for your exact expertise. For auto dealers, Cars.com or Edmunds may be a focus. For dentists or doctors, you may turn to HealthGrades or ZocDoc.
Whatever your industry, make sure you’re putting some emphasis into industry-specific review sites. In most cases, they won’t carry as much clout as sites like Google, Yelp, or Facebook, but they will still help push the needle for your business.
Make it a point to make reviews a focus
This is arguably one of the most important pieces. If you don’t, as a manager, marketer, or business owner, inform your team on how important reviews are to your business, then you likely won’t see the results you’re hoping for. But if you do make it a focus for your team and couple that with an easy way for customers to leave a review, you’ll see the number of local business reviews you collect jump through the roof. That in turn can result in your large uptick of new walk-in customers.
One of the easiest ways to get your team on board is to make sure they are saying something similar to all of your customers: “If you could leave us a review online that would be great!”. If you’re utilizing an online review management platform like Podium, their job becomes even easier. The prompt might sound more like: “We’re going to shoot you a text asking you to review us. If you have time to leave us one, that would be great! It really helps us out!”.
It’s as simple as that.
If you can make it a point to make reviews a focus, you’ll see your ROI on reviews shoot up, the need for marketing dollars in other places decrease, and the number of new walk-in customers shoot through the roof.
We at Podium see many of our customers transform their business overnight through collecting online reviews. Like I’ve mentioned, the crazy part is, it’s not all that uncommon for customers to see a large uptick in new walk-in customers accrediting their visit to the business’ local business reviews. By following the steps mentioned above, it’s not out of the question for your business to accomplish the same. Just remember, provide the easiest way possible to leave a review (which is often times by using a review management platform), lead those customers to leave a review on the sites that matter most for your business, and ensure your entire team is onboard for collecting more reviews from your happy customers.
Do those steps and watch your business transform with more walk-in customers than you’ve ever seen before.
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