Contributed by Alyssa Peiser
When I am looking to purchase a product, find a new hairdresser or dentist, one of the first things I do is check the reviews – what are other consumers saying their experience has been. I tend to read them all – the highs and the lows to get a really good sense for the product/service. I tend to take people’s reviews pretty honestly – there is little they gain from fudging a review (whether negatively or positively). And if a business has no reviews, I am less likely overall to purchase.
How many people look to online reviews to guide their decisions? A 2017 BrightLocal study shows that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations – and positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more. Having positive reviews, particularly on Google, is one way to set yourself apart from the competition. It takes very little effort and is a no cost marketing strategy. Win-win!
Here are a few tips we recommend when it comes to Google reviews. (These apply to ANY review site – Yelp, Facebook, etc. but focusing on Google as it is one of the more prominent).
- Ask for reviews! The majority of people that are asked for review will leave one. One caveat: do not “bribe” for reviews – this is against Google policy.
- As in-house: if a patient had a good visit or a customer was satisfied with the product you provided, ask them as soon as you can. Being proactive is always better than having to be reactive.
- When you do have to be reactive (it happens to the best of us), address the issue and seek to understand and fix it. Do not engage negatively – respond graciously, offer to address or make the issue right, but don’t start a Twitter fight.
- In the event of a poor review/issue, this is a perfect time to restate your brand values and your core mission. In fact, if I see a negative review has been addressed by someone from the company, I’m more apt to give the benefit of the doubt.
- Be active in responding- not just to negative reviews, but thanking clients for positive reviews as well.
- Consider sending a follow up email or implementing a review management system (or utilizing your marketing team to monitor). Google will flag an IP address so you can’t ask for a review on site. You can easily make a short link (like Bitly) and stick it in a branded email – some software management systems have these kinds of emails built into their programs.
If you aren’t already implementing a review campaign, we strongly recommend this! These can be some of your best referrals – your current client base sharing their positive experiences. Lots of people have positive experiences and would happily be your ambassador – all you have to do is ask!