If your business isn’t growing to meet objectives, maybe it’s because you’ve overlooked a simple new currency — your online reputation.
More than 90 percent of all consumers (including consumers of business services and business-to-business clients) read online reviews at places like Yelp, Google and Facebook before deciding to buy something or make an appointment.
Consider Campbell Jones Cohen CPAs, a Las Vegas accounting firm. Until October 2016, Campbell Jones Cohen had no online reviews, which effectively hid this respected firm’s great reputation from the public. Today, after generating just 50 online reviews from existing clients, the firm receives daily calls from qualified prospective new clients.
Want to capitalize on online reviews to boost your business, medical practice, law firm, heating ventilation and air-conditioning repair company or your personal brand as an independent real estate agent? There are three simple ways to spark a steady flow of fresh, positive online reviews from clientele.
Send the Invite
Invite all of your customers to leave feedback on a private website or webpage you create on your existing website.
This invitation will accomplish three vital things. It will tell you who likes your service. These are the customers you should invite to leave online reviews. It also makes it simple for your customers to leave feedback without using a review site. Finally, it will tell you who’s unhappy with your service and allow you to correct mistakes and calm emotions before the discontent goes public.
Timing is Everything
Request reviews when your clients are most satisfied. The best time to ask for an online review is right after you deliver your product or service. The challenge, as you may have experienced, is customers rarely follow through on promises to leave reviews. They, like you, are super busy and distracted.
So, unless you have a mechanism to remind them, you’ll likely never get those reviews.
Try this: send your customer a text message 30 minutes after your product or service has been delivered and ask “How did I do today?”
Within that text message, provide a link to your private feedback web page (described above). You may have to send a couple of text message reminders and an email for two to remind your customers that their feedback matters to you.
Send a feedback request email campaign to your existing and past customers. One of the best ways to boost your online review count is to ask customers for feedback through a simple series of emails.
You’d be surprised at how many of your customers are willing to leave you feedback when you humbly ask them by using words like, “It would mean so much to me if you would take a few minutes to leave us some feedback.”
Sometimes it takes a few email requests to get a response. But if you keep your request short and sweet, you’ll probably get a nice response.
Plus, customers who leave feedback are likely your best repeat customers and referral sources. Imagine what you can do with this highly valuable information.
Brian Williams is president of Five Star Economy, which specializes in online reputation and marketing.