Aren’t there a zillion things you have to take care of while running a successful business?
Most of your energy goes toward daily operations, staying competitive, and growing revenues. Because you are not always the face that customers directly interact with, you and even other managers might remain ignorant about how customers perceive your products or services. More importantly, you may not always understand the journey from the customer’s point of view: what’s working, what’s not, and what can be better?
Sales figures and profit margins tell part of the story, but not all of it. A huge part of the perceptions about your brand in the mind of customers comes in the way of reviews and feedback.
Why are customer reviews important for local businesses?
Google and Bing differentiate local search from general search based on one key differentiating factor – the location. So when you search for something like ‘best Italian restaurant near me’ or ‘best pub on West Avenue’, the search engine will throw up results for a defined geographical area.
But how do Google and Bing decide which local business to rank higher?
Just as metrics like content relevance, page speed, and backlinks influence search engine rankings in organic search, customer reviews play a significant role in determining where your business ranks in local searches. To cut a long story short, more customer reviews equal higher placement and higher visibility on local search results.
And that’s not all that makes reviews important. Customer behavior plays a significant part as well.
A 2021 study found that 88% of consumers across the world make a point of looking up online reviews while searching for local businesses. And that’s not all!
A more recent survey found that 49% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend or family member.
How to get more reviews for your local business?
Positive customer reviews build credibility, boost search engine rankings, attract customers, and amplify your online reputation. Now that we’re clear about its significance, let’s explore how you can get more customer reviews.
Here are 8 proven techniques to increase the number of customer reviews and feedback your local business receives.
1. Collect Email Addresses During Billing: Often, the easiest way to solicit reviews starts with collecting customer details during the billing process. Politely asking for an email address or phone number gives you a direct line of communication with your customers. You can then follow up with them and request their feedback once they’ve had the chance to fully experience your product or service. Remember, timing is key, so ensure your request is well-timed and consider providing a convenient link or platform where customers can leave their reviews.
2. Use In-Store Placards to Encourage Reviews: Harness the power of physical presence by utilizing in-store placards that encourage customers to leave reviews. Place eye-catching signs strategically near the checkout counter or other prominent areas where customers won’t miss them. Craft concise and friendly messages that express your appreciation for their feedback. You can provide QR codes or shortened URLs on these placards, directing customers to your preferred review platforms. Remember to make the process as straightforward as possible.
3. Verbally Mention How Much You Appreciate Honest Feedback: Never underestimate the power of a personal touch. Train your staff to verbally express how much your business values honest feedback. Encourage them to ask customers for their reviews, emphasizing that their opinions matter. This personalized approach can create a stronger connection with your customers, making them more inclined to share their experiences. Remember to maintain a warm and friendly tone during these conversations, ensuring customers feel comfortable and appreciated.
4. Offer Incentives on Future Purchases: Motivate your customers to leave reviews by offering incentives on future purchases. Consider implementing a rewards program where customers earn points or discounts for each review they provide. This win-win strategy encourages customers to share their thoughts and boosts customer loyalty and repeat business. Communicate the incentives to your customers and highlight the benefits they can enjoy by leaving reviews. Just make sure the incentives provided align with your business values and comply with review platform policies.
5. Include Review Reminders on Your Website: Make it easy for customers to leave reviews by including review reminders on your website. Strategically place prominent call-to-action buttons or banners on relevant pages, encouraging visitors to share feedback. Link these buttons directly to your preferred review platforms, streamlining the process for customers. Additionally, consider integrating review widgets or plugins that display snippets of positive reviews from other satisfied customers. This social proof can instill confidence in potential reviewers and boost the overall trustworthiness of your business.
6. Leverage Social Media: Tap into the power of social media platforms to amplify your reach and gather customer reviews. Maintain an active presence on popular platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, where you can engage with your audience and encourage them to share their experiences. Regularly post content that highlights positive reviews, using engaging visuals and compelling captions to draw attention. Actively respond to comments and direct messages, showing that you value your customers’ opinions and are dedicated to providing exceptional service.
7. Respond to All Reviews Thoughtfully: Acknowledge and respond to every review, positive or negative, thoughtfully. Express gratitude for positive feedback, showcasing your commitment to customer satisfaction. For negative reviews, address the concerns with empathy, apologize if necessary, and offer solutions or assistance. These responses demonstrate your dedication to continuous improvement and willingness to engage with customers. By responding personally, you show potential customers that their voices will be heard and that their experiences matter to your business.
8. Delight Your Customers With a Great Experience: The most effective way to gather positive reviews is to provide a remarkable customer experience. Strive to exceed your customers’ expectations at every touchpoint. From exceptional service to high-quality products, ensure your customers are delighted at every step. By consistently delivering excellence, you create a strong foundation for positive word-of-mouth and encourage customers to share their positive experiences through reviews.
Remember, happy customers are more likely to become loyal advocates for your business, attracting new customers and fostering long-term success.
Leverage reviews to grow your local business
Implementing the techniques we discussed above can encourage your customers to share their experiences with your business through glowing reviews. Soon, the word spreads, people stumble upon descriptions of your products or services online, and new customers start coming your way in droves.
Genuine customer reviews and feedback can be inspiring for potential clients discovering your local business. They can foster a desire to be part of something special. Your local business needs to be run smartly enough to live up to those expectations. And when it does, you’ll have more positive reviews and feedback coming in through the door.
Now that’s a feedback loop every business owner would love to have!