According to a study by Dixa in 2022, 93% of customers will read online reviews before following through with a purchase. Interestingly, only 47% of customers said they’d leave a great review when they’ve had a positive experience. When it comes to bad experiences, however, over 97% said they’d take the time to write a negative review.
Buyers trust online reviews, so it’s essential for business owners to make sure they have a steady stream of reviews coming in. Using this guide, you’ll be able to build an actionable, effective strategy for generating online customer reviews, helping you grow your business.
How to get online customer reviews
Amassing hundreds of rave online reviews takes time, and without a clear strategy in place, you’ll be spinning your wheels. To make sure you’re using your energy and resources effectively, here are a few actionable steps to help you get more online reviews.
- Ask for reviews: Asking your customers directly is one of the best ways to ensure that they will leave a review. You can do this through email, text, or even in person. Throughout your sales channels and customer service interactions, always be sure to remind your customers that you value their opinion and feedback.
- Make it easy: Square Online integrates directly with your social media platforms including Instagram and Facebook, so customers can leave reviews with a single click. Adding links directly to email newsletters and Invoices can also make it easier for customers to review your business.
- Reward customers for reviews: You can incentivise customers to leave reviews by offering them discounts or special offers for leaving a positive review about your business on popular sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.
- Respond to all reviews: Responding to customers who have both good and not so good feedback shows you care about their opinion; this encourages repeat visits and more positive reviews from the same customers in the future.
Responding to negative feedback quickly and professionally also prevents further damage from disgruntled customers.
Tip: You should never censor bad reviews, as 62% of customers won’t buy from a brand that hides negative reviews online.
- Use review plugins: To make the process of collecting reviews from customers easier and more efficient, you can use third-party review plugins. Popular review-collecting plug-ins include TrustPilot, and Yotpo.
These plugins allow customers to leave reviews directly on your website or through a link in an email. You can then collect and manage reviews in one dashboard, making it easier to keep track of customer feedback.
Where your customers are looking at online reviews
Taking advantage of the review platforms your target market is already using is a great way to get more eyes on your business. Make sure you’re listed on the platforms that make sense for your business, as well as any local or industry-specific directories.
If your customers are browsing online reviews, chances are they’re using one of the following:
Google My Business
Over half of Google My Business (GMB) interactions result in a website click, which is why it’s essential for merchants to set up their GMB listings and optimise them for maximum visibility.
You can use the Google My Business platform to interact with customers by responding directly to reviews, sharing photos, creating posts about upcoming sales or promotions, and more. 88% of customers who are exploring this platform are looking for local businesses, which is great for businesses looking to attract local clientele.
Yelp is the go-to place for diners, business owners, and traveler’s looking for honest opinions on local businesses — from restaurants to spas to service providers. It’s important that you maintain an active presence here as well since 82% of Yelp users visit the app with the intent of making a purchase.
You can use Yelp to respond to customer reviews, promote your business with special offers and discounts, and even advertise on the platform. You can also keep track of analytics such as how many people have viewed your profile, the number of messages you’ve received, and how many clicks your ads have received.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, and customers use it to search for businesses, read reviews, and engage with brands.
Square Online integrates directly with your Facebook and allows users to make purchases through your posts.
With Square Online, you can also enable notifications to track orders and customer feedback in real time. This allows you to respond quickly and build relationships with customers directly through Facebook.
Should I use other online review platforms?
These sites are just a few of the many online review platforms available. You could also consider using specialty sites that are specific to your industry or location, such as TripAdvisor for travel reviews or Angie’s List for home services.
How to gather online customer reviews across all sales channels
Now that you know the importance of collecting online customer reviews and how to ask for them, it’s time to make sure they appear across all your sales channels. You need to ensure that when customers search for your business, they’re able to find real-time reviews from other customers.
You can start by creating links on your website or product pages that direct customers to the online review platforms you’re active on. You should also link to those sites in any emails or newsletters you send out. That way, it will be easy for customers to leave reviews and share their feedback with others.
Finally, use social media to promote any positive reviews that come in and get more people talking about your business. When customers see their peers speaking highly of your product or service, they’ll be more likely to give you a try.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.