By Jim Moul
Most of your potential customers will turn to their smartphones or computers to look up your business well before they choose to call directly or visit in person. They’re not going to look much further if the first thing they come across is a scathingly negative review. Fortunately, there are ways that you can make your online reviews largely positive, allowing them to work toward the ultimate betterment of your business.
Boost Positive Reviews
Try using an email contact system to encourage positive reviews of your business. Here’s how it works: An automated system sends out an email to a client who has recently done business with you. The email itself thanks the customer for visiting your establishment, then asks them to rate your services. If they have positive things to say, they’re directed automatically toward sites such as Google and Yelp, review platforms where the client’s feedback will be posted for the public to see. This means that real-time reviews are getting posted online where other potential customers can see them.
If a customer writes a poor review, your business gets notified. This gives you the opportunity to reach out to the client directly to see if their issues can be addressed. Play your cards right, and you may be able to turn that negative experience into a positive one for the customer, maybe even encouraging a glowing review in the future.
Implement a Rewards Program
A rewards program is another great way to encourage positive reviews. It can even be included in the automated email system discussed above—when a client leaves a positive review, the system can notify them that there will be a small surprise waiting for them at your business as a way of thanking them for their feedback. The surprise can be something as simple as a $25 gift card.
Practice Great Customer Service
Always keep this in mind: Positive online reviews are most likely to happen when your clients receive great customer service. Nothing beats a great interaction between your staff and the customer. Practice top-notch client care at all times, and you’ll receive great online reviews in return.
Online reviews aren’t going away at any time in the near future, so don’t get left behind. By making sure your online reviews are working at their peak, you’re turning potential customers into paying ones.
Jim Moul is a freelance writer based on the East Coast.