More local business owners are catching on to the importance of customer reviews. Put simply: Reviews are the most sought-after resource for anyone shopping online, and increasingly consumers are turning to the Internet to research local businesses before calling or walking through the door. Therefore, leveraging this channel is an obvious necessity, and that means inviting customers to review you. Yet, many small businesses owners are unsure how to proceed.
Businesses that invite their customers to review them on third-party sites are holding themselves publicly accountable. One hang-up some business owners have about asking for reviews is that they feel like they are asking for a testimonial, but reviews are not strictly testimonials. Inevitably, good businesses are going to get mostly 5-star reviews, but you should encourage your customers to provide candid feedback. Your customers will respect you for your transparency.
Your prospects want to see the balance of opinion on your business and they will seek it out. When you refuse to invite your customers to review you, only the most inspired customers write reviews, and often times that means the most unsatisfied customers. The vast majority of your clients may be perfectly satisfied but not otherwise compelled to write a review. Make the process easy for them with a friendly reminder and some direction, and soon a more accurate sampling of your customer sentiment will be presented for your prospects. And, to be sure, your prospects are looking.
When you invite your customers to write reviews, you are inviting them to participate in making your service better suited to their needs. That is partly why studies demonstrate an increase in retention from customers who get invited to write reviews. Essentially, your customers feel empowered because they recognize the impact their ratings and reviews have on your business.
Consumers now expect to be invited to write a review, but there is a clear etiquette: Invite them to submit an honest review on their own time to a third-party. This should yield a more accurate sample of your customer sentiment as well as a more loyal customer base.