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One of the most challenging tasks that new businesses face is building a solid online reputation. When you start with zero online reviews, it’s natural to think that customers may be reluctant to do business with you. After all, 93% of customers report that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. However, it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone – all businesses must build a reputation from nothing, and it is far from impossible!

While there’s no guaranteed way to generate positive reviews, there are methods to subtly encourage your patrons to write reviews and engage with your business. The best way to grow a positive reputation for your business is to give your customers an outstandingly memorable experience. Find a way to go above and beyond to make your customers feel appreciated, whether it’s a complementary item, coupon for their next purchase, or perhaps most importantly terrific customer service.

It’s also important to keep in mind that on some platforms such as Yelp, it’s against the rules to ask customers to leave a review. Today, we’re reviewing four rule-abiding tactics for generating more customer reviews.

1. Get Your Listings in Order

Understandably, reputation management isn’t the first priority when it comes to setting up your business. It’s crucial to claim and populate your business’ online listings before delving into reputation management, as these are the sites where your patrons will be leaving reviews. If you haven’t already claimed your listings, check out the DSG blog for more information on how to utilize your GMB, Yelp, and more. Once your profiles and listings are claimed and built out, you can begin to focus on building your reputation.

2. Make Leaving Reviews Easy

The best way to get your customers to leave more reviews is to make leaving a review as simple as possible. Customers value convenience – and once you’ve delivered your product or service, many of them will lose interest in interacting with your business. To facilitate the process of leaving a review, it’s important to make your online profiles that host reviews such as Google My Business and Yelp easy to locate. Learn more about optimizing your listings with DSG.

Consider sending automated emails to customers shortly after their purchase has been finalized, containing links to easily leave a review. This facilitates customers leaving a review while your business is still fresh in their mind. Additionally, if you run a brick and mortar location, consider putting up simple signage in your storefront or POS area. You might also consider prompting customers to review your business on any printed materials you provide them such as brochures, flyers, coupons and even business cards. These materials could even utilize a QR code, allowing customers to scan with their phone and be directed to a review site.

Finally, be sure to train your team to encourage customers to leave reviews. With everyone working towards a common goal, you can be getting more reviews in no time.

3. Leverage your Reviews as Content

When you receive a great online review, don’t be afraid to flaunt it! Post your reviews to your social media to show your appreciation for your customers. Not only will customers see you as a kinder and more “human” business, but it may also encourage them to leave a positive review too – for a chance at gaining a spotlight for themselves!

4. Deal with Negative Reviews Tactfully

No one wants to deal with angry customers and negative reviews, but it is a necessity. Sometimes, customers will leave a negative review complaining of something that is out of your  control, and unfortunately, all you can do is respond gracefully and offer a solution and/or apology. Discover more ways to manage negative reviews in this DSG blog. When dealt with properly, a negative review can be as beneficial to your brand as a positive review. Responding to negative reviews shows that you are engaged with your customers, committed to quality, and willing to go the extra mile to make the situation right.

 

Lastly, remember to never attempt to pay for reviews! This is a fraudulent business practice, and the Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on these false reviews with punishments of exorbitant fines and court orders.

When crafting your reputation management strategy, focus on your customers. Build a plan that works with your unique business and customer base. Stay tuned for future DSG blogs!

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