With online reputation management becoming increasingly important, online reviews are a major focus for companies.
Studies show that when businesses have negative reviews, it deters 86% of consumers from doing business with them, and 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
If a company is highlighted online as a disreputable and discreditable company through a slew of bad reviews, the business will likely suffer.
So what if your business currently has negative reviews—or no reviews at all? How do you accumulate positive reviews without cutting corners and risking your company’s integrity?
Read below for our top tips to get positive reviews for your business without participating in less-than-ethical review tactics.
Provide Easy Ways for Consumers to Leave Reviews
Often times, if it’s not convenient for consumers to leave a review, they won’t. To create more opportunities for consumers to leave reviews that takes little effort on their part, provide easy ways for them to do so.
For example, if you send out follow-up emails after a customer purchases a product or service, create a call to action in the email that asks the customer to leave a review about their experience. If you’re looking to build your reviews on other review sites as well, you could also leave call-to-action links for other sites, such as “Review us on Google” or “Review us on Yelp.”
Ask for Reviews in Person
Depending on your business, you may interact with your customers face-to-face. If so, consider asking them to leave a review after you have a positive interaction with them. You could even print off miniature slips of paper with printed instructions on how to make it more likely that they’ll follow through with the request.
If you have brick and mortar locations, you could request that all your employees keep these slips of paper on hand at all times and encourage them to reach out to customers about leaving an online review.
Request That Your Company Be Added to Review Sites
If your company isn’t currently listed on a variety of review sites, request that your company be added. Having reviews on your own website is useful but many consumers also want to see reviews from third-party websites that seem less biased.
A recent study shows 91 percent of people read online reviews regularly or at least occasionally, and 68 percent form opinions once they read between one and six online reviews.
Having more reviews on a number of review sites increases your brand awareness and will also likely result in more business.
Place Review Sliders on Your Website from Other Review Sites
Many review sites let you take advantage of your company reviews left on their site by adding a review slider to your own website. A review slider can pull recent reviews from that review site straight to your website. Many review sites will also let you filter the review slider to only show recent reviews that have higher star ratings.
You can display review sliders wherever you’d like on your website but it’s often helpful to be on your landing page, or wherever you receive the most traffic.
If you’re not interested in a review slider or if you want another option, you can also place your company’s review score from other review sites on your website. If you have a high score on a review site, this could be beneficial to your online reputation as well as could increase your customer base.
The review slider as well as the review score both showcase your positive reviews and could likely elicit more. On either of these review information placements on your website, you could also have the image’s link to your company’s page on the review site, making it simple for visitors to see your profile and/or write a review for your company if they’re interested.
Ask for Reviews at the Right Times
An important part of gathering reviews for your business is knowing the right times to ask consumers to leave reviews. For example, you wouldn’t want to ask consumers to leave reviews after they came into your store with a complaint. Of course, you want to make it possible for customers to leave reviews of your company regardless of the situation, but you definitely don’t want to go out searching for review opportunities that will likely result in negative reviews.
Focus on opportunities when the customer will be likely to leave a positive review. Examples could be when you have a repeat customer after a customer purchases an item, when a customer refers another customer, when a customer mentions your brand positively on social media, after a successful customer service call, etc.
Share Recent Reviews on Your Social Platforms
To get more eyes on your recent positive reviews, share them on your social platforms. Make sure to include the date so that people know its recent, and also consider sharing the person’s first name to make it more personal and relatable to your followers.
Don’t Elicit Fake Reviews
Eliciting fake reviews may be a quick way to gather a large number of positive reviews, but it likely won’t pay off as you want it to. Most consumers are aware of this tactic, and there are obvious red flags that will alert a potential customer.
For example, if your business has thousands of only 5-star reviews, that’s a good indicator that you either faked your reviews or that you only allow “perfect” reviews to be seen. No business is perfect and when you try to claim that your company is, consumers will likely be turned off and will take their business elsewhere.
Respond to Negative Reviews—Don’t Avoid Them
Unfortunately, negative reviews won’t go away if you ignore them, so avoiding them isn’t going to solve the problem. What will help is addressing the reviews upfront and responding to as many as you can? Speak directly to consumers and acknowledge their concerns, also explaining to them how you plan to resolve the issue and do better in the future. This will lessen the effect of the negative reviews and may even improve your customer loyalty.
When consumers see a company respond to negative reviews, it demonstrates concern for the customer and reflects well on your business. It’s less about the negative reviews you receive and more about how you choose to handle them. It may be time-consuming and you likely can’t reply to each one, but making it a priority to respond to as many as possible will benefit your reputation and may even result in more positive reviews in the future.
Create a Customers Incentive Program Based around Reviews
Customer incentive programs are a great way to get positive reviews for your business. By offering something to customers, they are more likely to follow through with your request.
For example, you could create a contest where everyone who leaves a review for your business within a certain time frame will be entered to win a drawing for a free product or service from your company. Another option could be everyone who leaves a review receives a discount on their next order.
You could promote incentive programs like in a variety of ways, one being having a brief explanation and a CTA at the end of a company newsletter with a link to the review page you’d like customers to use.