A little love can go a long way—especially for businesses.
The importance of customer reviews cannot be stressed enough. Really. When you’re browsing Yelp for a good restaurant in an unfamiliar part of town, what stands out the most? What has the biggest impact on your decision to eat there or not? What anchors down the entire web page and holds court?
Customer reviews, that’s what!
Let’s face it: a company can have an incredible-looking website, they can be reached easily on the phone, and they can have lots of ad space all over town. But the real treasure for a company is to have glowing customer reviews.
Simply put, it’s pretty much the best advertising you can get.
Some of the benefits of great customer reviews are obvious, and some aren’t. One of the obvious benefits is, well, having good reviews! A total stranger to your business will want to hear good things from another relatable human being who has also used your services. When that stranger reads raving reviews, they’ll most likely try that service out. If there are enough of them.
One of the less obvious benefits of customer reviews is how it helps you rank in the search engines. Customer reviews are like gold for organic SEO. Not only do Google, Yelp, and Bing reward websites with strong customer reviews by pushing their rank up, but if you choose to feature customer reviews on your website, those reviews usually contain SEO-rich keywords and phrases that will help you in all sorts of ways.
And let’s not forget the time-honored classic idea of having great customer reviews posted within the literal walls of your building or office. Being physically surrounded by (or, at least, dotted with) the pleased words of customers will capture the attention of potential clients, will boost morale of every employee who reads them, and will add plenty of credit to your company’s reputation.
So How Do I Get Reviews?
It’s much easier than you think, depending on how far you’d like to go with them.
The first step is to do a good job with your business or services. Once you have that down, it’s a simple matter of letting people know that you would appreciate their thoughts on those services.
Yelp! I Need Somebody!
When it comes to Yelp, lots of companies will post signs around their office or on their website, something like “Let us know what you think on Yelp!” While this is a good step in the right direction and will never hurt to have, the most effective thing to do is to request in person that a customer leave a review—preferably right after the business is completed. Make them feel useful and “part” of something. Explain to them that, by posting a review on Yelp, they are helping your business gain exposure and grow. If you’ve done a great job for your customer, they will probably be happy to oblige.
A great bonus to having good Yelp reviews is that you can use them on your website for added SEO purposes (as long as you follow Yelp’s guidelines). It’s like getting free testimonials.
Bottom line: good Yelp reviews are a company’s best friend. It helps all around when you have plenty of them, both for gaining new customers and for search engine rankings. So start with family and friends who use your business’s services, and then ask customers to leave reviews!
A case study may be a little harder to get than a review or testimonial, but they’re still possible to get if you have the right resource.
First of all, the case study should never be conducted by the person who directly provided the service to the customer. A third party is actually best, but if you don’t want to pay someone to “interview” the customer, someone from your company who did not provide the service should do. This will help the customer be more honest about their experience.
See if you can get a customer to agree to do a case study by scheduling a brief phone interview or having them do an in-person interview.
During the interview, be sure to ask questions such as “What was your experience with the company like? How did you hear about the company? What issues did you have with the service the company provided? How can the company improve? What were the specifics of your situation?”
Case studies are particularly useful for feedback and understanding customers’ complaints. If you get permission from the customer, you can also extract positive comments from their case study to use as a good testimonial quote on your company’s website.
Video testimonials may be the most difficult to get, but they’re dynamite for your website and business if you can get them.
The reason they can be difficult to get is because so many people are not comfortable being recorded on camera. For this reason, there are a couple things that you can do to get the video testimonial ball rolling.
One, begin with people who know you well that use your business’s services. Whether it’s family, friends, or both, start with people who will be comfortable recording a video testimonial for you. Try to get at least five for your website in this way, and then when it comes time to ask a new customer for one, you can show them the videos for reference so that they understand exactly what you’re requesting of them.
The other way to get video testimonials is to have a recorder set up in your office and have a “Video Testimonial Day” that you invite all your customers to. Utilize Facebook, Twitter, and your website to invite people to come by for five minutes and give their video review for you. Explain that this is going to help the company out a lot, and that they will be doing you a big favor. You can use these video testimonials on your website and on your social media, and you will see that they are very helpful. Just make sure you get signed releases from anyone that you record.
The bottom line when it comes to customer reviews is: it’s an incredibly effective marketing tool that is completely free.
Check out your company’s Yelp page. Are there reviews there?
If no: Do something about it! Again, start with your own family and friends who use your services. Send out ten emails to them, asking for good Yelp reviews. By tomorrow, that will be ten good Yelp reviews you didn’t have today. Next, begin encouraging your non-family and friend customers to leave reviews, and grow from there. It also won’t hurt to post a request on your Facebook or Twitter page, asking customers for Yelp reviews.
If yes: Great! Begin copy and pasting the best ones onto a page on your website, or better yet, use the good quotes as a splash page. Print them onto poster-sized paper and post them around your office. Copy and paste them onto your Facebook page. Use them! Just be sure to credit the person who stated it. It’s a good idea to also follow the steps above and get some extra reviews.
If yes, but the reviews are bad: If you have bad Yelp reviews, the first thing you need to focus on is why. Don’t worry about the reviews right now; try to figure out why there are dissatisfied customers, and what you can do about it. Once that is taken care of, respond to those Yelp users in a professional way, then work on getting positive reviews to “overtake” the bad ones.
So, in closing, good customer reviews are your company’s GOLD if utilized the right way! Good luck!
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