Why Your Local Business CAN Get Reviews
It is no secret that online customer reviews matter. There are many local business review sites where people find out about you before visiting. A recent consumer review study found as many as 93% of consumers said they would read local reviews to determine if a business is good or not.
When readying reviews, consumers are looking at more than your average star rating. They also consider the number of reviews and how recent they are.
How can you get more reviews for your business? You may have heard that the best way is to ask. But does that work. The same consumer review quoted earlier found that:
68% of consumers said they left a review after a local business asked them
Notice that statistic is specific to local businesses. As a local business you have an advantage that big box stores or online merchants lack. That is a personal connection with your customer.
Personal Connections Still Matter
Think about your own experience. Shortly after visiting a store, you may have received an email asking for feedback. How likely are you to respond? This happened to me the other day when I made a purchase at Target. Later that day I received an email asking about my experience at the store. Although I try to leave feedback often, I didn’t end up responding to that email. In contrast though, when my landscaper asked for feedback, I made sure to respond. The difference, in my mind, is that I have a one-on-one connection with my landscaper. It was more important to take time and honor his request.
As feedback requests increase, I believe discerning consumers will limit the responses they give. But, as a local business with personal connections to your clients, you will have an advantage.
We conducted a feedback campaign for a local tax preparation business earlier this year. It seemed to prove this theory.
Local Case Study
The campaign ran over 3-month during the busy tax season. It involved an email being sent to clients after they had their taxes prepared. The email asked how likely they were to recommend this business to family or colleagues. The client was given an opportunity to elaborate, and encouraged to leave a review on a 3rd-party site (such as Google or Facebook).
You can read the customer review case study here, but the most impressive statistics are these:
- The requests for feedback generated a 76% response rate
- Of the respondents, 74% left additional text feedback
- 17% of the respondents went on to leave reviews on 3rd-party sites
How does this compare to averages? Across all business types, our review service finds on average only 9.5% of customers leave feedback. About 1% leave reviews on 3rd-party sites. Wow. Now the above stats look even more impressive!
We cannot promise response rates like that for every local business. But, it underscores the two points I hope you take away from this article:
- In some form, you must ASK for customer reviews.
- They WILL be more likely to respond if they have a personal connections with your business.
If you chose to reach out to your clients by email or text after the sale, you can help this process along by giving them a verbal heads up. For example, let them know they will be receiving a request for feedback and encourage them to respond to it.
A Caution About Asking
If your goal is to get reviews from review site like Yelp or Google, a word of caution is in order. These review giants have guidelines in place for soliciting reviews. (and they aren’t the only ones – other business review sites have their own guidelines) For example, Yelp prohibits asking for reviews on their site. On the other hand, Google encourages you to ask for reviews. But, they recently updated their policy to prohibit selectively soliciting positive reviews.
The feedback process we use to send out personalize emails or texts eliminates any fear of breaking the rules. Our service stays up-to-date on industry rules and adjusts the process if necessary. And I do mean REALLY up-to-date. The Google policy update mentioned above happened on April 12th of this year. Our service tweaked the review flow within a day to ensure total compliance.
The last thing a small business needs is to get blacklisted by the likes of Google or Yelp. So, whatever can be done to stay within the guidelines is warranted.
Would you like to get more customer reviews for your business? Are you a local business that makes connections with your clients? Chances are with a little attention you could increase your customer feedback. If you’d like to try a customer feedback campaign like the one mentioned above, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the email request a free review consultation. Let’s see what kind of results we can generate for your business.
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