We all know how important customer reviews are in making our purchase decisions nowadays. In fact, according to a survey,* 91% of the respondents aged 18-34 years old trust reviews posted online as much as personal recommendations. Also, 93% of consumers say that online reviews had an impact on their purchase decisions.
As local business owners, most of us probably know that customer reviews are a vital factor that influences our local search ranking. Businesses that respond to reviews see an average of .28 increase** in their star rating. According to Google,*** an increase in star rating is usually equivalent to an improvement in local ranking.
Don’t fret because, in this post, I’m sharing with you some of the best practices on how to solicit reviews from your customers:
1. Be timely with your request for a review. The ideal time to request a review is right after a transaction, as the experience is still fresh to the customer. If this isn’t possible, the max would be up to 4 days after the date of purchase.
2. Make it easy for your customers to leave a review. Remove unnecessary steps in the review process that will deter your customer from submitting one.
3. Be mindful of the different guidelines of each website in soliciting reviews. As an example, Google allows review solicitation but they don’t allow incentivizing reviewers. On the other hand, this practice is not allowed on Yelp as they don’t want businesses asking for customer reviews.
4. Don’t neglect other review platforms. In addition to Google, encourage your customers to provide reviews on other review sites like Yahoo!, BBB, and other niche review sites that are applicable to your industry.
5. Maximize different ways of sending review requests to your customers (i.e. via email, SMS, or checkout page for online purchases.)
Lastly, I believe that when you provide the best experience to your customers, they’ll be more likely to provide you a good review—sometimes you don’t even need to ask for it.
BONUS! I wanted to share these social media strategy ideas for receiving Google reviews:
IG/FB Video Post – Thank your customers for supporting you this season and helping keep your small business going strong this past year! Ask your viewers if they’ve had a good experience when visiting your store and, if so, if they’d consider leaving a Google review.
IG/FB Post – Upload a photo of the owners with a caption of gratitude, and include a CTA to leave a Google review. Something along the lines of, “Hello from the owners of [your Business Name]! We appreciate all your support so far this season. Next time you visit the shop, it would really make our day if you could snap a photo of your favorite display or a good experience you’ve had here and include the photo in a Google review! Every review helps our small business get discovered!”
IG/FB Post – Upload a photo/video of your store, showcasing the entrance or the storefront. Say something along the lines of, “[Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter] is a great time of year for tourists to visit our wonderful community, enjoy the natural beauty of our town, and support the local economy! We welcome tourists from all over into our shop each [Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter]! Something that really helps new tourists hear about us is Google reviews! If you’ve shopped with us before, please feel free to upload a photo of your visit and leave a review on our Google page to help us welcome more [Summer] visitors to our small business! Thank you!”
Be sure to include a link to your Google page so viewers can easily click over to leave a review for you. Remember to always respond to each Google review thanking the poster for visiting and for leaving a review!
What I Want You To Take Away From This Blog:
- Customer reviews help improve your local ranking.
- Each review site has its own guidelines. Be aware of each to avoid getting penalized.
- You can be creative in generating reviews for your business.
- An excellent customer experience is always the easiest way to get positive reviews.
Okay, over to you…
Have you used any of the practices mentioned above? If not, which of them are you going to try out with your customers? Let us know in the comments below!
We would love to know if you enjoy receiving tips from our weekly blog! Feel free to leave us a review here.
*Online reviews statistics to know in 2021 by Diana Kaemingk for Qualtrics.com
**How Responding To Online Reviews Affects Your Business Reputation by Lauryn Chamberlain for Yext.com
***How to improve your local ranking on Google by Google