Online reviews are the best way to grow your online business. When confronted with new products or services, users look for reviews first. Studies show that 91% of consumers read reviews before they visit a business. 84% of them believe reviews as much as they believe their friends.
And why not?
Reviews are simply everything:
- They are content of your site
- They are stories of your brand
- They portray a relationship between your brand and customers
From the day Google started showing ‘near me’ results in featured snippets, reviews have become more important than ever in SEO. Not only for local businesses but also for global businesses. For example, travellers search for the best places around the globe, and they trust Google reviews when making their final decision.
Now, the problem with Google reviews is almost all businesses are present online, and only a few with the best and/or most reviews get the chance to secure a featured spot on Google. The rest are waiting in a queue to grab a handful of customers who rarely check out the entire Google business listings, and instead settle for the first 3 choices.
Another problem with reviews is that they are not always positive. In fact, as per the New York Times research, only 1.5% of consumers bother to write online reviews, and that generally tends to be when they have a bad experience with a brand. This is one of the reasons why many brands avoid asking for reviews at all. But that is not an option anymore.
The more you avoid or fear reviews, the less chance you have to attract new customers. Also, you lose old customers who fancy checking out new businesses with the best reviews.
The only way out is to collect more and more reviews while managing negative reviews with extreme care.
Today, we will show you how to be shameless about asking for Google reviews without offending customers and how to handle negative reviews by turning them into positive ones.
Let’s first start with tips and tricks to ask for Google reviews.
How to Ask for Google Reviews Shamelessly
Here are 3 examples of some direct and indirect ways to ask for reviews.
1. Ask at the End of a Positive Interaction
During the initial days of Zomato, each time a representative delivered food, and I said thank you, they asked me to leave a review. They even instructed me on how to respond to the notification asking for reviews and ratings. I was happy to leave the review when I finished my food. I also appreciated the way they asked for reviews at the end of the transaction.
Happy customers always show it on their face or in their words. For example, a satisfied customer will say that this is ‘exactly what they were looking for’. It is the perfect time to jump on the bandwagon. Request that your customers write a Google review and share their experience with your brand. A happy customer won’t feel annoyed when asked to write a few good words about a positive experience.
2. Send an Email After a Positive Interaction
If you offer online services, and you don’t interact with customers personally, then sending them an email or notification for review is your next option.
If you want to see an example of how to ask for reviews via email, check out the last time you received an email from Amazon. Such a big brand will still ask customers to leave a review after delivering goods to them.
Here’s one that I recently received from Amazon:
You can send a thank you email along with a note asking for reviews. Also, don’t forget to add a button that takes users directly to the Google review page.
3. Passive Ways to Ask for Reviews
Maybe you are on board with collecting as many reviews as possible, but you think that asking customers or sending emails again and again will only affect your business negatively. In that case, it may be better for you to adopt some passive ways to remind users to post a Google review.
Sending a follow-up email after a few days or weeks would be a good start. If you already send emails regarding new deals or offers, then there’s no harm in also keeping a Google review link in your signature.
If you have a brick-and-mortar store, then keep a sign board asking for reviews. Do the same on your site. Put a call-to-action in the corner that takes users to the Google review page.
Now that you have 3 ways to ask for reviews, let’s see what we can do about negative reviews.
How to Turn Negative Reviews into a Positive Experience
Positive reviews are great, and you should get into the habit of thanking your customers for leaving them. But negative reviews are not as easy to handle. They are sensitive and must be handled quickly with extreme care.
Follow these steps to take care of negative reviews.
1. Respond as Soon as Possible
Studies say that consumers don’t wait more than 4 hours to receive a response to a complaint. Obviously, they are in a bad mood, which makes them impatient. Responding to them quickly is the only way to control their anger before it spreads to Google reviews—or worse, social media.
First, make it a company policy to respond to reviews within 4 hours and teach your staff to respond as positively as possible.
2. Respond Graciously
Responding to negative reviews is a longer procedure than responding to positive ones. It requires fair acknowledgement and a suitable resolution.
Follow these 5 steps to handle negative reviews and find a personalised solution:
- Acknowledge: Before you say sorry, enquire about the nature ofthe problem. Was it the product itself, customer service or late delivery?
- Apologise: Once you know what the issue is, apologise while addressing it. For example, offer a genuine apology for not delivering the product on time.
- Explain: Now, explain why the problem occurred in the first place. It may not have been your fault, or it may have been. Either way, just give your customers a glimpse of what happened behind the scenes. This will calm the customer down.
- Compensate: Find an appropriate way to compensate for the mistake. For example, offering another dish for free if they found the previous one distasteful.
- Invite them back: If they are not in the mood for compensation now, then invite them back and promise an excellent experience next time. Then be prepared to do so!
You should now be ready to take on both positive and negative reviews! Let me tell you that big brands receive all types of reviews, but managing them well is what makes those brands a user’s first choice. Follow the above steps to start collecting an impressive collection of Google reviews and secure a featured spot on Google.
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