Online reviews deliver a lot of bang for the buck. They will give your local SEO a boost, increase trust and confidence in your business, and provide you with actionable insights needed to improve your operations. Unfortunately, despite all this value reviews deliver, many businesses aren’t maximizing the potential of their online reputation.
Even if you recognize the value of online reviews, it might seem difficult to get the ball rolling. How do you convince your customers to do you a solid and leave a review? The answer is much easier than you think – especially if you follow the five quick steps to help you get more reviews outlined below.
Step #1: Incentivize Your Employees
It’s human nature for your employees to resist change. This is especially true when that change forces them out of their comfort zone. Asking customers to leave a review might even make some of your employees uncomfortable, so what can you do to grease the wheels and motivate them to send review invitations?
It’s no secret that money is a huge motivator. If you have the budget available, you should set some aside for spiffs or bonuses for employees who buy into the program. At Podium, we suggest that you base your incentive on some or all of the following activities.
- Review invitations sent
- Recommendations received
- Number of reviews mentioning the employee
Step #2: Send the Invitation at the Right Time
The timing of the online review invitation is one of the most important factors that determines whether or not your customer leaves an online review. There isn’t a right time that is going to work for every business, but we recommend looking for an opportunity to send the invitation before they leave your premises.
For example, if you’re a car dealership, a good time might be when the sale is finished and the customer is waiting for finance. If you’re a dental or medical practice, the optimal time might be right after the doctor visits the patient. Simply put, your customer is more likely to respond to your invitation if the experience is still top of mind.
Step #3: Lay the Proper Foundation With Customers
Businesses that have the most successful online review programs have built the “ask” into multiple steps of the sales process. If necessary, provide your employees with scripts of ways they can ask your customers to leave a review. When asking the customer, your employees should let them know:
- When they will receive the invite
- How they will receive it (text, email, etc.)
- Why it’s important for them to respond
For example, when the time is right your employee could say, “Thank you so much for your business. Customer feedback is very important to us. Would it be alright if I sent you a text message right now with a link that makes it easy to leave a review? We would really appreciate it.” Operationalizing the ask will make it part of your employees’ daily routine, and over time asking customers for reviews will become second nature.
Step #4: Target the Right Review Sites
Not all review sites are created equal. Sites that are appropriate for an HVAC company might not work for a pest control company. That’s why it’s important to conduct research and find the right review sites for your business. Google and Facebook are a safe bet for most businesses because they are the most popular and a vast majority of your customers will already have accounts there.
You should also seek out industry-specific sites that your customers will find valuable. Having a balanced portfolio across a number of review sites will give your business more credibility with searchers as well as with search engines. For a comprehensive listing of sites, check out this list by Hubspot.
Step #5: Use an Online Review Management Tool
If you’re keeping track of your online reputation using a spreadsheet, you’re doing it wrong. An online review management platform will streamline the management of your online reputation and help you improve the quality of your online presence.
In the past, your customers may have been hesitant to leave a review because the process was long and arduous. A good online review management platform will create a frictionless process that makes easy for both your employees to send invitations and for customers to leave reviews.
Get More Reviews With Podium
Request a demo to see how Podium’s cloud-based solution can help you use text messages to invite all of your customers to review your business. Podium’s efficient, mobile process can help your business build a strong online presence on the sites that matter most. This will, in turn, improve local SEO and ultimately boost revenues.