Is your business running customer review campaigns? If not, you should be.
Your customers are your biggest fans and your biggest opportunity to make significant improvements to your business. Listening to their feedback can help you improve your rankings and even attract new customers through social proof.
Additionally, surveys show that consumers value the volume of reviews in addition to the quality. In 2020, BrightLocal found that the average consumer reads 10 reviews before being able to trust a business. Less than half would consider using a business with a star rating below four.
However, running a customer feedback campaign can present some challenges. Many review platforms don’t allow you to directly solicit customer reviews on their platforms. Instead, you should be intentional with how you ask for feedback and promote your profiles on review sites.
We are going to explore a few methods to encourage customers to leave reviews and strengthen your digital marketing. We will also talk through the different tools you can use to earn high-quality reviews for your local business.
Getting Reviews is Easy, But Getting Positive Reviews is Hard
It can be hard to earn positive reviews, even if you are known for great customer service. Sometimes businesses struggle to even generate reviews at all.
A lot of this has to do with the consumer mindset. Consumers generally expect everything at their doctor’s office or their local gym to go well. Their expectations for customer service are higher than those for a new restaurant, making it easier to surpass expectations. The bar for success is set much lower for restaurants than it is for a cardiologist.
Instead, maybe people decide to leave a review only when things go wrong. This can often lead to businesses that are providing great customer service having more negative reviews than positive ones. That’s disheartening for any business owner.
So, what can you do to improve your online reviews?
The answer isn’t revolutionary, but it is effective: Focus on getting happy customers to take the time to leave reviews.
Asking for a Review in Person
It’s always okay to ask happy customers to leave a review on their review directory of choice. However, what is never okay is to offer to pay reviewers for a good review. That will erode their trust and also violates many policies for online directories.
We recommend having the person who has the most contact with the customer ask for the review. Front line employees generally have the deepest relationship with your customer.
At a medical practice, for example, this may be the nurse practitioner or the doctor themselves. You can also post signs in your establishment reminding customers that you value their feedback in online reviews.
Map out all the customer touchpoints in your company and where it makes sense to ask for a review. Chances are, if you really do have outstanding customer service, you will get that valuable review.
Asking for a Review via Email
E-mail is a great way to ask for customer reviews. Chances are, if they are a patient or a paying customer, they provided their email during their visit.
Having a contact database of former customers is a great way to generate quality reviews. However, it can also be a bit more complicated to pull off than simply asking in person.
Here are some guidelines for asking for customer reviews via email:
- Have a clear call to action button so that users can easily see where you want them to leave the review. Remove as many steps as possible.
- Do not promise them anything for leaving a review.
- Test multiple variations of an email to see which ones your customers engage with.
- Segment your email list to target only recent customers. Unengaged customers are less likely to respond to emails and may not even be customers anymore. We recommend editing your list down to people who have visited your establishment within three months.
- Make the reviews about them and not about your online reputation. Don’t say, “Leave a review so we can improve our online reputation.” Instead say, “Leave a review so people like you can enjoy the benefits of working out at our gym.”
Asking for a Review via Text Message
Did you know that 82% of people say they open every text message they receive? Traditional email has an average response rate closer to 20%.
Imagine what your business could do if your messaging was read consistently by almost your entire audience.
Companies can now use automated text messages to expand their influence directly to their audiences’ mobile devices. Businesses can send out customized review requests within hours or minutes of a customer interaction. This is not only timely messaging, but it helps your brand stay top of mind while the customer replies.
Text messages all but ensure that someone will see your review request pop up on their phone.
Asking for a Review via Promoter Campaign
Promoter campaigns are a hybrid between email review requests and customer experience surveys.
They allow practices to send emails to patients with a one-question survey to rate their visit on a 10-point scale. If they rate their experience as a 9 or 10, they will be prompted to post an online review. This tactic is useful for raising your number of positive reviews.
However, if they choose between 0 and 8, they will be directed to additional survey questions. These follow-up questions can give your organization much-needed insights into your customers’ experiences.
Multi-question surveys offer more control over the kind of feedback you are seeking from respondents. Structured questions can evaluate specific experience criteria, such as staff communication with customers. You can also get feedback from open-ended questions, which can reveal valuable information.
Natural Language Processing engines (NLP), which power platforms like Binary Fountain analyze unstructured comments on surveys and reviews. It breaks them down into different insights and assigns the category and sentiment. Both negative and positive feedback is analyzed to help discover the businesses’ strengths and weaknesses.
Respond to Your Current Reviews
One of the easiest ways you can encourage future reviews is to show your current reviewers that you are listening. Responding to reviews is particularly important in times of crisis, such as COVID-19. The Binary Fountain customer success team suggests responding to all reviews as a best practice. Do this for both positive and negative reviews.
When responding to neutral or negative reviews, choose service recovery as the first priority. Collect some data on service providers and locations. If one stands out as having a lower reputation, start there, track results, and work toward improving sentiment.
When it comes to choosing review sites, start with one review site, such as Google My Business. You can then prioritize additional sites based on your industry and where reviews are coming from.
Prioritize the Customer Experience
Getting quality reviews shouldn’t be the focus of only marketing and brand management teams. It should be an organizational priority from the “front of house” to your c-suite executives. Your organization should prioritize the customer experience as a KPI for the health of your business.
How people talk about your business online is how others will perceive your business. Remember, when it comes to online reviews, perception is reality.
Want to learn more about how Binary Fountain can give your online reputation a boost?
To learn more about customer review campaigns, see these related posts:
- [Infographic] How Can Text Messaging Grow My Business?
- [Blog] How Reviews Can Help or Hurt Your Search Engine Rankings
- [Webinar] Tips for 2021: Social Media’s Biggest Opportunities
- [Blog] What is Review Generation?
- [Case Study] How Baptist Health Increased Review Volume by 320% in 6 Months
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