Some products and services seem to attract customer reviews oh-so-easily, but that’s probably a perception based on a small amount of envy.
The reality, for many businesses, is that reviews can be hard to come by. If your business provides a good service, this is a missed opportunity — reviews can be compelling in converting prospects into customers. So what’s the best way to encourage customers to review your business?
If you understand the reasons why someone would write a review, address those motivations and actively encourage customers, it’s likely that you’ll start to see people publishing reviews (and five-star ratings if you’re good at what you do) about your products and services – on a regular basis.
- Why don’t people review your business?
- What’s the best way to get reviewed on Google and other review services?
- Use a Review Hub page to get new and on-going reviews
This post is primarily aimed at businesses serving a local area or region, but it is also useful for companies working with customers nationally.
Why don’t people review your business?
Here are a few reasons:
1. They don’t love, or hate, your service
It doesn’t actually matter what the service is. It really doesn’t. I’ve written reviews for some “boring” services (including a locksmith and a small removals company), not because they they blew my mind, but because they provided a solid service.
The price was right, the job was completed professionally. I had no complaints, which is quite a neutral thing to say, so it’s even stranger that I left a review. I left a review for other reasons (see #3).
If the service was AMAZING, or I couldn’t get enough of the products, then I’d be compelled to leave a review.
If the service was TERRIBLE, or I couldn’t stand the service, I might also be compelled to leave a review (probably in-person as well as on Google).
There are some people who don’t leave reviews, and there are others who write a lot of reviews. It’s not an exclusively “I do” or “I don’t” thing though – most people can write a review if they have the right reason.
2. They have no incentive
Why would someone want to write a review?
Many of the reasons are psychological – so if you want someone to write a review of your business, it’s time to start pulling some of those psychological triggers. Here’s a look at some of these psychological incentives.
Positive Reciprocity – where someone responds to a positive experience with another positive experience, in this case publishing a good review
Negative Reciprocity – as above, but with a frown instead of a smile
Social Inclusion – people like to talk, and people see other people talking and want to do the same – this motivation applies to reviews. If there are many reviews of a business already, anyone thinking about writing a review has the chance of “joining” others who have written already (reviews beget reviews).
Empowerment – the internet has given a “voice” to the reviewer, and many want to use it. They just want to say something, and something about a product or service.
Altruism – people want to help others by telling them about their experiences. Any company with a website or social media account can write whatever they want about their company, but their marketing messages don’t always reflect the experience of the customer. This can go from “they didn’t do what they said they would” to “it’s exactly what I asked for, and more!”.
Financial/Other Incentive – There are rules against this sort of thing on some review sites. The whole point of having a review system is for customers to give their opinion about their experience of a service. If a company gives cash, discounts or freebies to customers in exchange for reviews, they’re only really going to get positive reviews. Great for the business, but potentially bad for other customers, and it could land the business in trouble.
3. They’re not asked to
This one is quite serious. The locksmith who I reviewed asked me to review his work. If he hadn’t have asked, I wouldn’t have even thought about it. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”, so the adage goes.
What’s the best way to get reviewed on Google and other review services?
Ideally, you’ll be able to:
- Provide a good service
- Give an incentive
- Ask and motivate people
Providing a good service is up to you and is a whole other topic, so let’s look at the other ideas.
Give an incentive
Providing a good service is the starting point, and without that it’s less likely you’ll see positive reviews. But you can incentivise in a number of ways:
- Empathy – you can give customers a good feeling by appealing to their sense of empathy, simply by saying “please write a review as it spreads the word about our services and allows us to help other people in a similar situation to you”.
- Financial – this may go against the terms of service for some places you can leave reviews, so you may want to check the rules first. You could offer a discount code, a “refer a friend” financial incentive or similar at the same time you ask for a review.
- Gift – instead of offering something specifically financial, you could offer a gift, or entry into a prize draw for a gift, if they leave a review – again this may be against the terms of service for some review services, so you might want to check the rules first.
Ask and motivate people
How can you ask for reviews and motivate people to write them? Use a Review Hub page.
Use a Review Hub page to get new and on-going reviews
A ‘Review Hub page’, or ‘Review landing page’ acts as a big call-to-action to get customers reviewing your business. It’s a page on your website that acts as a central hub for all things to do with reviews and testimonials.
A ‘Review Hub Page’ should both gather examples of existing reviews, and give help and encouragement for customers to publish new reviews.
Where do you want to be reviewed?
It’s important to only encourage reviews in places you want to be reviewed. Also, if you’re new to reviews it’s sensible to list one or two places first, and add others later as the number of reviews increases.
- Make a list of the places you want to get reviews, e.g. Goole My Business, Facebook, a prominent directory/resource website in your market sector. If you’re not sure which place is best, think about which is visible to your existing and prospective customers.
- Create screenshots of your business listing on each property.
- Curate existing reviews of your business to give emphasise ‘social inclusion’.
- Grab the direct link to your presence on these sites.
- Give specific instructions so people know what action to take on these sites.
The Review Hub should motivate people to write a review, but you want to do your best to make sure this happens.
Help them write by asking them to think about their experience
Star ratings are useful for people who don’t want to write much, but ideally you’d be able to encourage customers to write at least one thing that gives others insight into your services.
Help people to write, by asking them questions:
Don’t say “write a review, click here!”
When you’re writing about your experience with our service, please tell your story:
- What happened – why did you come to use our service?
- How easy was it to first contact us and make a booking?
- Were we on time and friendly when we arrived?
- How professional was our approach?
- What was the best thing about our service?
- Were our staff easy to get on with?
- Would you recommend us to other people in a similar situation to you?
- Would you use our service again?
- What do you look for?
“Very helpful, thanks” is a good review, but it’s nowhere near as good as “I’d highly recommend BRAND to others. I first got in touch after THIS HAPPENED and they were happy to help me. They explained exactly what would happen and when Ashley appeared on time I was pleased. They were nice and very professional and did the job perfectly. I would definitely use them again.”
Publish the ‘Review Hub Page’, then promote it:
- Link to it from appropriate places on your website
- Promote it via email to customers, perhaps X days after your work with them was completed
- Promote it on social media – it’s a good place for new prospects to find out about how good you are at what you do
- Promote it in offline media – mention the page in handouts to customers, brochures or catalogues, or other print media
We’ve used Review Hub Pages successfully for clients, who have benefited from gaining additional reviews on an ongoing basis.