For the local small business owner, the power of positive online reviews is tremendous. Research shows that 86% of consumers look at business reviews before they buy, and what other people are saying about your business makes a big impact on whether or not customers choose you – or a competitor.
A great online reputation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. And, navigating the world of online reputation management takes time, effort, and dedication.
But, there is one simple secret you can use to boost your reputation by increasing the number of positive reviews your small business receives: ask for them.
As simple as this advice sounds, many business owners are hesitant to request reviews from customers. But as several ReachCast clients have recently found, the simple power of asking can deliver great results.
Steve O’Neill, general manager of Boston-area Audi of Brookline, was recently alerted that his dealership had two negative reviews online.
Kendall Wells, the ReachCast Web Presence Professional who helps the dealership manage their business reputation, began working with him on how to address the negative reviews, a best practice for reputation management. She also recommended that he ask happy customers to post a review with a simple conversation and easy call to action: “Leave us a review on Yelp or Google Places!”
Without hesitation, he started asking customers to post reviews, and the results have been outstanding. Within a matter of weeks, Audi of Brookline has received four 5-star reviews online! According to Steve, the process is simple and straightforward: asking satisfied customers in person or on the phone to write a review has worked like a charm.
When Web Presence Professional Ryan Towe began working with Verdi’s Catering Hall to manage their business’ online reputation, he recommended the strategy of asking customers for reviews. This ReachCast client has also seen a boost in its online reputation since employees began actively using this approach. In fact, in just two months, the number of positive reviews for the company has tripled, from six to 18
“When we talk to business owners about asking customers for reviews, they realize they can get involved in building a positive online reputation,” Kendall said. “Then, it’s simply a matter of asking.”
There are many ways to do this – Web Presence Professional Christy Rogge recommends printing a card you can hand to customers when they leave with a gentle reminder to go online and leave a review. “It’s simple enough. Thank them for being a customer, and ask them to leave a review if you’ve done a good job!”
Earning positive online reviews is a critical component of your small business reputation. They are one of the first things many consumers will see when they search for your business online. Have you tried asking satisfied customers for reviews? Feel free to share your thoughts about online reputation management in the comments section, and feel free to share this article online.