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3 Proven Ways to Encourage Customers to Leave Online Reviews

3 Proven Ways to Encourage Customers to Leave Online Reviews

Everybody knows online customer reviews can make or break your business. So how do you get more customers to write online reviews and increase your average star rating? It may take some effort up front to get the ball rolling, but don’t worry; the results will be well worth the effort.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve provided you with 3 effective ways to encourage customers to leave online reviews. Before you dive right into the how-to’s of the matter, let’s touch briefly on the why.

Why Does It Matter?

Our society all but relies on a foundation of digital context. As such, the buying decisions of the modern-day consumer are greatly influenced by what they see online—customer reviews not excluded.

According to recent studies, experts suggest that nearly 90% of consumers pay close attention to the online reviews of a local business. If that doesn’t demonstrate the importance of getting your customer to write online reviews, perhaps these stats will:

  • Over 90% of consumers between the ages of 18-34 trust online reviews just as much as they would a personal recommendation.
  • 57% of consumers will only give their business to companies with an average star rating of at least four stars.
  • 85% of consumers disregard reviews that are more than three months old.

The bottom line? Finding ways to encourage customers to leave online reviews is a venture worthy of your focus. According to these stats, you need at least a couple dozen reviews that amount to an average rating of four stars or higher. If you don’t have them, there is a very good chance your would-be customers will pass you up for someone who does.

So, let’s start beefing up your review profile.

There are several different ways to encourage customers to leave online reviews. We’ve listed the top three methods for the best results.

Just Ask

So many companies expend a great deal of time and effort to create elaborate review campaigns. Don’t get us wrong; these can be wonderfully effective, but there is so much to gain from simply asking for feedback.

More often than not, if you just ask a satisfied customer to help out your business by leaving a positive review, they’ll be happy to oblige. If you have a physical location where customers pass in and out on a daily basis, you have numerous daily opportunities to bulk up your review profile.

The key to success is making it as easy as possible for your customers, so as to not make them feel like they’ve been inconvenienced. Keep an iPad at the register designated for customers to write online reviews. While you’re scanning and bagging items, you can kindly ask for customers to leave some feedback or share their experience before you’ve even finished printing their receipt.

Use a Review Management Platform

There is so much that goes into building up your review profile. Not only do you have to constantly acquire new reviews, but you also have to manage those reviews to ensure that you maintain a decent star rating.

By enlisting the services of a professional review management platform, you can save a great deal of time to put toward improving other areas of your business. You can send current and past customers a review invite with a click of a button, communicate with them via SMS, and integrate with Facebook reviews, Google reviews, and more.

Initiate a Review Campaign

An official, well thought out review campaign can do wonders for your online reputation. You can initiate a campaign through email, social media, or even SMS text message. Your campaign can be as simple as asking customers to write an online review for your business, or hosting some sort of drawing or giveaway as an incentive. (Be sure the incentive doesn’t depend on the review being positive, or you will be seen as trying to buy reviews.)

However you choose to go about it, make sure you set a clear goal as to what you want to achieve, and don’t stop until you’ve reached it!

How To Write Online Reviews

What if your customers don’t know how to write online reviews? Enlighten them! It’s not a bad idea to provide your satisfied customers with a quick step-by-step explanation on how to write online reviews. Print the instructions on small cards and keep them near the register for quick and easy access, or include instructions with your review campaign.

Just remember to make it as easy as possible for your customers, so they’ll be more likely to comply with your request. Here’s a quick example of how to write online reviews in three easy steps—specifically for your Google My Business account.

  • Log into your Google account
  • Once you’ve found the company’s Google My Business listing, click on the reviews
  • In the top right-hand corner, click “Write a Review”

See? It’s as simple as that. You can even include screenshots to make the process even easier.

There’s no denying that managing your online reviews can take quite a bit of time and effort, but a fantastic collection of positive reviews can make a big difference in the growth of your business. Check out a few different review management platforms, plan your first campaign, or start out small by simply asking customers to write an online review for your company.

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by Jessi Duffin // Jessi Duffin is the Director of Creative Operations for Big Leap, a digital marketing agency located in Lehi, Utah. She is passionate about creative services, operations and business intelligence.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.