Five Steps to Getting Positive Online Reviews
by Robert McNicholas on July, 25 2018
Positive online reviews are gold. Individually, we may deny it, but collectively, the facts are out: our purchase decisions are heavily influenced by reviews, either from people we know or—in the case of product reviews on sites like Amazon—from complete strangers. So, as a business owner, how can you garner more of these precious, glowing remarks?
In this article, we’ll take a look at the five steps you need to follow to get positive reviews. But first, let’s start with a caveat: never fake reviews. Ever. This cannot be stated often enough or written too emphatically.
Not only is it dishonest, you could get into trouble. In fact, full disclosure is required if a reviewer has received products, services, or other benefits for free from your company in exchange for a review—even if the review is honest.
So, how can you get those reviews going?
Five Steps to Positive Reviews
Like so many things in life, good reviews start with your efforts.
Provide a quality experience. Sell a good product or provide a top-notch service. You can’t expect to get a good review unless you give them something that is review-worthy.
Make the transaction a pleasant one. You don’t sell in a people-free vacuum. A large part of any transaction is customer service. Whether that’s done in person, by phone, or by email, it should leave the impression that a friendly, professional, and perfectly capable organization is standing behind your product. If necessary, you may need to specially train your employees in customer service techniques.
Don’t be afraid to follow up. Once the transaction is closed, send an email or make a quick phone call to follow up with the customer. Are there any problems? Any suggestions for improvement? Anything, in short, that you can do to make this an even better experience for them?
It’s okay to ask for reviews—especially if you’re dealing with a younger, web-savvy audience. Anyone who shops online is accustomed to receiving requests for reviews. However, make sure that the transaction is completely finished and any loose ends have been tied up. And clearly state that you’re interested in honest reviews. Don’t solicit positive reviews.
Let’s illustrate this.
Bad idea: “We really need positive reviews on our site. Please stop by and give us a four or five star rating!!”
Better idea: “We appreciate your honest feedback. Feel free to leave a review detailing your experiences on our website. Thanks!”
Make it easy to leave a review. If possible, make the review a one-stop process. One text box, one page, one ‘submit’ button. There’s no need to make reviewers volunteer a bunch of additional information. Check out one of the big online retailers, like Best Buy or Amazon, to see examples of a streamlined review process.
How to Handle Negative Reviews
Of course, not every review will be a positive one, and that’s normal. It’s how you handle a complaint that makes a difference.
Basically, you have two options: you can ignore the unflattering remarks (and possibly delete them), or you can use them as an opportunity to show off your customer service skills.
Personally, I get suspicious when a company has numerous reviews and none of them are neutral or negative.
So, if somebody has a legitimate, less-than-favorable review, either reply to it with a brief apology and an explanation of any mitigating factors, or reach out to them privately and see what you can do to make it right.
You could say that a positive review boils down to two things: your responsibility of making a good impression, and your responsibility of pursuing reviews and providing a forum for them. Both are worth the effort.
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