Reviews are incredibly important to your business and they can influence customer decisions in several ways. This includes both positive and negative reviews. Positive reviews may be sponsored or false, whereas no company will pay for negative reviews. However, public negative reviews are a way for a business to showcase their customer service. These complaints work as a powerful counterweight to increase the validity of positive reviews. All of this depends on your business receiving any reviews at all. How do you increase Google reviews?
The number one thing you need to do to get more 5 star Google reviews is to make sure you have a Google My Business (GMB) page. It may seem obvious, but many small businesses don’t realize they aren’t obviously and immediately given a GMB page simply because they exist. They need to register the page and fill out the information completely. Once that page is created, fleshed out and verified, it can begin to collect reviews. Older businesses with a Google Places page will find that it has been transferred to a local GMB page, offering a solid starting point for a fleshed-out profile. One of the best ways to increase Google reviews at scale is to hire a professional online reputation management company such as Rize Reviews.
Most times, the easiest way to get more reviews is to ask for them. Often, your customers will purchase a product and have a satisfactory experience using it, but they will never think to go back to your page and leave a review. The same goes for services, though some industries — hospitality and restaurants in particular — find it easier to accumulate reviews. Ideally, they will have followed one of your social media accounts or signed up for your newsletter as part of the purchase process. These are avenues you can use to ask your customers for honest reviews. Even mediocre reviews are better than no reviews at all.
To gather as many reviews as possible, link as closely to the review form as you can. Instead of linking to your basic GMB page or your website itself, link directly to the review page. Ensure a user has to click as few times as possible to reach the review page. If they have to hunt through your profile or your website for your GMB Local page and then hunt through that page for where to leave a review, they’ll turn away. Consider each additional step a point of failure where you will lose some percentage of your possible reviews.
Veteran internet users know what a legitimate review looks like. More importantly, they know how to spot a fake review. Several signs are a give away when you’ve purchased positive reviews or when you’re deleting negative reviews. Writing reviews of your own business from personal accounts, buying reviews from accounts that leave purchased reviews are all signs that your business has something to hide. An additional risk of purchased reviews is that, when those false accounts are removed, your reviews may be removed as well. At the very least, they lose credibility. Fake reviews hide the truth and the truth is what you want to promote.
Bringing in reviews through GMB is one thing, but you don’t want to put all your eggs in one proverbial basket. Plenty of users prefer to find reviews through Yelp, Angie’s List or one of the many other sites offering business reviews. If you have no reviews on any of these sites, but plenty on GMB, your reviews look purchased. When asking for reviews, ask for them through any popular review site, not just Google. Allow your users to choose the site of their preference. Some users will also go the extra mile to post reviews on several sites.
You will inevitably garner a few bad reviews. One or two star reviews should be addressed as they appear, which means you need to monitor your reviews frequently. Don’t delete bad reviews; users will know you’re doing so and they don’t forget. Instead, address each negative review in the comments on that review. Ask the reviewer to get in touch with your customer service department and work with them to make things right. If they cannot be satisfied — and some won’t — don’t sweat it. If you can satisfy others, ask them to reply to their original review.
Mobile devices are ubiquitous among most shoppers today. This means nearly every consumer has the ability to scan a QR code and visit the site it links to. Printing a QR code on your promotional material, receipts or any other location that users see is a great way to link directly to a review page. This passively and effectively encourages users to leave reviews once they scan the code and see where it leads.
Nearly every business will receive an unsolicited review at some point. These comments, when negative, present an opportunity to provide customer service. What do you do, then, when they’re positive? A private communication can’t be taken and used publicly without the permission of the sender. What you can do, however, is reply and ask them to post their review on GMB and other review sites. This allows you to bring private reviews, which are doing you no good, into a public spotlight.
The footer of your newsletter is a great place to add a link to your GMB profile, with an attached call-to-action. The users on your mailing list generally like your products or services and they’re typically willing to leave reviews when they think about it and have the time. An appropriate time when they often are in the right mindset to leave a review is when they’re reading your newsletter. A link at the bottom of that newsletter is very effective.
You don’t have to get all of your reviews from customers. Many businesses have partners in the industry. One trick you can use is to leave reviews of those businesses on their pages. It won’t always work, but occasionally those businesses will reciprocate by leaving their own reviews on your page. This helps build your business relationship and boosts your reviews at the same time.
You can use all the tricks in the book to bring in reviews, but they won’t help you if you don’t provide a stellar service or product worthy of those reviews. If no one is satisfied with your service, no one will want to leave a positive review on your page. Make sure your customer service is up to snuff and your products are satisfactory. You’ll begin bringing in reviews organically and the rest of these tips will help you encourage more.