August 24, 2018
Well, if we factor in inflation, that saying today should be about $5 for your thoughts...but I digress (smile). My point...it is okay to ask your customers for feedback and to leave reviews.
Reviews are critical to business...esp. small business. One of the best tools small businesses have to compete with their larger counterparts is customer service. When your customer service is great and your customers are happy, it is important to spread that positive message. We all know unhappy customers are more likely to leave a negative review than happy customers are to leave a good one, so while you may make 99% of your customers happy, they may need some encouragement to share that message.
According to Reputation Builder:
Customers who have a bad experience are twice to three times more likely to write an angry review than customers who had a great experience are to post a happy review
88 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust their best friends’ recommendations
80 percent of people choose to go elsewhere if they read bad reviews of your business online
One negative review online (when not countered by positive reviews) can cost up to 30 new customers
It takes 12 positive reviews to cancel out the nasty side effects of just one negative review
There are a variety of ways to encourage customers to leave reviews:
Ask for them...one-one-one. Appeal to customers you have a relationship with...you'll find they are more than happy to do so. Also make sure your employees are doing the same
Subtle reminders...store signage, links on your website, badges on your business cards, requests on receipts, etc.
Send email requests after transactions when thanking customers for their purchase and support
Promote the reviews you have...they make great testimonials on your website & other marketing materials
Make it simple...tell them where & provide the site addresses and links
Respond to all reviews, but esp. negative ones! Apologize and offer a resolution if possible...if not, ask to connect through email or private message. Other customers will still see that you took ownership and tried to make it right. This goes a LONG way!
While encouraging customers is a necessary component in building your reviews online, offering incentives is a bit different and somewhat of a fine line. Small incentives and contests are okay, but offering free goods and large discounts is not. Not only is this prevented on some of the big websites like Yelp, but it is frowned upon with many customers as well and may wound up having the opposite effect.
Always encourage customers to leave HONEST reviews. It is not wise to "bribe" them or necessary to pay for them. "A penny for your thoughts" is a saying...no one ever really gave you a penny (smile). If you are providing great customer service...your reviews (overall) will reflect that!