There’s a joke in this title. The easiest way to get more reviews is to stink at what you do. People are always more apt to give a negative review than a positive one. Then there are the people who never review anything. You’ll often read, “I don’t usually write reviews but this experience was so amazing I had to…”
The truth of the matter is a giant problem for businesses:
People tend to write negative reviews because they feel vindicated in doing so.
People don’t write reviews for good customer service. They (only) review what knocks their socks off.
This means one bad customer interaction and there’s a post about you. Twenty good ones, and nothing. You had better hope there’s a shining moment in your interaction with a customer. Those kind of odds aren’t inspirational but there are things you can do to entice people to write reviews for you more often.
Ask for Them
This is the easiest approach out there. A local carpet cleaner made my carpets look amazing. At the end of their work, they asked me if there was anything more they could do for me, anything I wanted, needed, or was interested in knowing. They made it a point to make sure I understood the best cleaning methods to maintain the look. They certainly provided good customer service and a great product.
They handed me a business card (which even contained the copy “Love us? Please review us.”), and said they’d love to earn my business again. Then the other person handed me a few more “in case you know someone.” Next they told me how competitive their business is. How everyone relies on reviews and without them, a brand new business like theirs was not competitive. They made me fully understand how a review is essential to their ability to grow.
While they did impress me, and I would’ve certainly used them again, and referred them if any one I knew was asking for carpet cleaners, you know what would’ve likely happened had they not asked me for a review? We would’ve said our pleasantries as I walked them to the door. I would’ve looked at my watch, realized how far behind I was in my work, and promised myself to write a review that night after the kids went to bed. Sometime during the course of that 8-hour stretch, it would’ve slipped my mind.
Instead, I thought about how nice they were, what they had done for me, and what I could do for them, which they had made quite clear – write a review. So before starting back up on my work, I went to YELP and wrote a review.
If they hadn’t asked, they wouldn’t have received.
Take the Time to Educate on Their Importance
Not only did the carpet cleaners ask for reviews, they told me why they needed them. In the classic “Xerox” study published in the book Influence by Robert Cialdini, he showed that when people interrupted others in a long line to use the copier as long as the interrupter used the word “because” in explaining why they must interrupt, 93% of the people let the person cut even when the excuse was as weak as “May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make copies.” Using “because” influences behavior to the point that the words following the “because” don’t seem to matter.
In addition to giving a “because” to your request, create collaterals around why writing reviews on Yelp (and other sites) help businesses. Many people don’t take the time to think about the correlation between positive reviews and business growth.
Answer Your Reviews
If someone is deciding whether they want to do business with you or whether they want to leave you a review after doing business with you, they may skim your existing reviews. If they see a cantankerous person combatting those who leave mean reviews, arguing with them and belittling them, they may think twice about you and the kind of person you are. If however, you respond to all of your reviews – positive or negative – with helpful information, you will appear to be someone who cares. We do business with people we like.
83 million people visit YELP (alone) each month. Isn’t it time you leverage those reviews into getting more business? Don’t just sit around and wait for reviews. Use these tips to make them happen.
Christina R. Metcalf teaches small businesses, chambers and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager’s Blog.