Online reviews matter for today’s modern consumer. Reports show us that:
- 98% of people read reviews for local businesses.
- 93% of consumers say that online reviews influence their decisions.
- 3.3 is the minimum star rating of a business consumers would engage with.
- 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to buy after reading a trusted review.
- 94% of consumers say an online review had convinced them to avoid a business.
Here are 5 ways to guarantee 5-star online reviews:
- Have a clear way for customers to voice their complaints to your business – you don’t want customers using online review sites a means to complain. Ask for feedback from your customers using feedback cards and emails with a simple “how did we do?” Most importantly, have a culture where you and your staff regularly ‘check in’ with your customers. Show you care. The majority of the time, just having someone listen to their thoughts and concerns will be enough to turn a disgruntled complainer into a local brand ambassador.
- Action feedback – if people are regularly complaining about the same things – do something about it. Not all complaints require action but if the same complain comes up again and again – don’t create a rod for your own back – fix it and stop the punishment!
- Ask your customers for a review – don’t be afraid to ask customers to review your business – 68% of consumers will leave a review if asked.
- Reward your best (and happiest) customers for their review – encourage reviews from your biggest fans by offering them a discount or a freebie. This group of people are posed to sing your praises. Just make sure it doesn’t come across as a bribe – that’s naughty!
- Encourage Re-reviews – you were having an off day and now you have a 1-star review? Sometimes things fall down. Put it right, without huffing and puffing, reach out to the reviewers and put it right. You just might be able to change their negative review into a positive one.
DO NOTS: Don’t be tempted to go over to the dark side, in the spirit of reaping the benefits of online reviews, here are three things not to do:
- Don’t respond to negative reviews defensively – instead respond in a professional and empathetic manner – 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews. A good way to handle a review (no matter how nutty) is to simply say “gosh, sorry to hear that – that doesn’t sound right at all. Please email me / call me and I’d love the chance to set things right for you”. To behave defensively only reflects poorly on you and your business.
- Don’t post or buy fake reviews – they stick out like a sore thumb and you’ll come across untrustworthy and consumers will question how genuine your real positive reviews are.
- Don’t bribe, blackmail or coerce positive reviews – don’t only does it make you a bad person – but if exposed, it will tank your reputation.