My latest Locals Only post is up on SearchEngineLand: 5 Tips to Get More Customer Reviews:

An excerpt:

Some tips for asking customer reviews:

  1. Don’t offer incentives. A percentage of your customers will do it for free. If you offer to pay your top brand ambassadors, it’s possible they will get turned off, which could hurt your business by dampening the enthusiasm of these mavens.
  2. Make it easy for customers. Don’t send them a link to review you on Google unless they have a Gmail address.
  3. Don’t ask people for Yelp reviews. This almost always backfires. You may get a few positive reviews in the short term, but if your customers are not active Yelpers, Yelp’s SPAM filters will eventually toast their reviews. You’ll end up with no reviews and potentially some angry customers who wonder why their work of review art disappeared.
  4. Do it promptly. Don’t wait. People are most likely to give you feedback right away.  The longer you go from the time of service to the time of request, the likelihood of getting reviews drops precipitously. According to Ted Paff, CEO of CustomerLobby, a review service, “Comment card reviews solicited at the time of service can see completion rates of 80-90%” vs. much lower rates for other forms of review solicitation.
  5. If you have the customer’s email address, follow up your initial request three days later with a reminder email containing links of where to for review submissions. Reminder emails can account for a huge percentage of review conversions.

Bonus Tip: (always underpromise and over deliver :))I have often heard that business owners can feel embarrassed when asking customers for reviews. If that sounds like you, my advice is to be totally candid with your customers.

I didn’t get a chance to include some of the input I got from a couple of sources so I thought I would add them here:

From Bonnie Wang of DemandForce:

Top mistakes SMBs make re reviews:

  1. Obsessing over 5-star reviews.They haven’t realized that people are starting to paying less attention to the 5-star reviews, which might be perceived as less credible than 4 or 4.5-star reviews.
  2. Getting defensive about negative reviews. It’s important to try and put emotions aside and really listen to what the customer had to say, so that SMBs can leverage their negative reviews to highlight their outstanding customer service. 
  3. Avoiding dealing with the issues mentioned in the review or avoiding responding publicly to the customer–every complaint deserves a response.

Thoughts on how to build a process for reviews into a biz: Send a follow-up/thank-you email to happy customers right after their visit and provide them with easy options for providing feedback. If they don’t have automated communication system like Demandforce, they can always manually collect emails and schedule them out.   

From Ben Brooke of CustomerRating:

  1. Top tips for SMBs to get reviews from customers: 
    Ask for a personal favor and make it easy for the customer to respond. Businesses on our platform have been successful at capturing customer reviews because our platform enables the businesses to personally ask their customers for a “favor” (to leave a review) and then we making it easy for customer to do so. Do not require a  login, account creation or any other “hurdle” that would cause a customer to opt out of leaving a review.
  2. Top mistakes SMBs make re reviews
    It’s always a good idea for a business to “sleep” on their response before they post it to the world. It’s amazing how time can help take the emotion out of the situation and provide clarity on how to best respond or often times not respond.

  3. Thoughts on how to build a process for reviews into a biz
    The process of capturing and broadcasting customer ratings, reviews and testimonials can be fairly involved. To build a successful program I recommend working with a company such as to assist with the little steps that are hard for the business to sustain. By automating the process, businesses can focus their time on providing products/services worth being reviewed! 
  4. Any additional fave quotes on the subject
    Offering discounts and incentives to solicit customer reviews is not only unsustainable it is overrated. We have consistently seen business receive 50%+ response rates simply by asking their customers for a personal “favor” and then making it really quick and easy for the customer to provide the feedback.
Well I guess that was more than 10 tips but I gave up math after the SATs.  Read the whole article here.




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