The Internet has been a wonderful new means of communication for small business owners. It gives us the opportunity to advertise ourselves virtually anywhere at any at time. It has also redefined our understanding of “word of mouth advertising” – expanding it to include online reviews!
Satisfied clients or customers aren’t just talking about their favorite products or services to people they know in person, they’re also taking to the Internet with their feedback- using websites like Yelp, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon and Google Maps to leave reviews, helping other people choose the best product or service for them.
It’s important for you, as a small business owner, to gather positive reviews as testimonies for why clients or customers should choose you over the competition.
First, Get In the Mindset
Asking your customers or clients for reviews isn’t just a good way of getting exposed, it’s also good customer service practice.
Many people avoid asking for feedback because they’re afraid of getting a negativereview. However, negative reviews are also opportunities to set things right. In the unfortunate circumstance that your negative review goes public, you can turn lemons into lemonade. Through real-time engagement you can show an unhappy customer or client that you’re present and listening, and that you’re willing to correct the situation as soon as possible.
For this reason, don’t ask for reviews that are simply positive. Ask for honest feedback, and frame your request in a way that makes your customer feel like their opinions are a valuable resource for ideas on how to better your small business.
Show Them How
If you aren’t in the habit of asking customers for their email addresses, now is the time to start. Email is not only a great way to keep old clients or customers posted on new products and services, but it also makes it easy to gather feedback from them in the most efficient way possible.
However, some people may not even know how or where to write an online review. Make the process very simple for them by specifying exactly how they can review you. Include direct links to your profiles on Yelp, Amazon, Google, Facebook and LinkedIn, while also encouraging them to “like” or “friend” you.
You can also include a link to your website’s feedback form. Alternatively, you can add a link to a customer satisfaction survey- which you can create using Google Surveys or Survey Monkey. Both are free for you to use!
Don’t make the mistake of waiting months or even weeks before asking for a review. Make sure you ask while the memory of their experience is still fresh in their minds. If you have an office, make sure comment cards are available for people to fill out.
In fact, make this solicitation for reviews a part of your overall customer service process, and make sure that all of your employees are on board too!
The fact is, many people don’t want to take time out of their busy schedule to give a review. If you’re having trouble convincing your customers, try giving them an incentive. Offer them a discount or coupon whenever they leave a review!
Don’t Let Good Reviews Go To Waste
No matter where your clients leave reviews, be it on Yelp, Facebook, or another website, be sure to ask their permission for you to cut-and-paste that same positive review on your site.
Proudly display these positive reviews on your homepage. If you haven’t already done so, create a testimonials section of your website, where all of these positive reviews can find a permanent home. When in the process of gaining a new client or customer, always make sure that you refer to your testimonials as evidence that you can and will get the job done exactly as expected.
There’s no reason why you can’t expand your customer or client reach through the power of having a positive reputation online. Make it a reality by asking satisfied customers for their valued feedback, as part of good customer service practice and online business strategy!
Here’s a sample email to get you started:
I just wanted to take a moment and THANK YOU for choosing ___Business Name___.
If it’s not too much to ask, would you et us know what you thought of our product/service? Here are some links to our (Yelp/Facebook/Amazon profile; feedback form). We thrive on positive reviews from satisfied customers- and we’re also constantly striving for perfection, so any feedback would be so helpful!
Thank you so much! We look forward to working with you again in the future!
Do you need help creating a customer service process, one that also includes gathering positive testimonials? Reach out to me at Denise@DCAVirtual.com to discuss how you can better your small business!