How To Get More Online Reviews – Part One

The number one question we field at GatherUp is “How can I get more online reviews?”.  A business might have 0 reviews, 10 reviews or even 100 reviews and they all are after gaining more positive reviews on Google, Facebook and many other review sites.

5 star reviews

It’s a fair question to ask and it’s some of the reason GetFiveStars was created, but I wanted to address this question in two parts.  As with many aspects of digital marketing, we often look to optimize the very last steps of a funnel to affect the outcome and often leave the biggest and main starting points alone.

So part one of this answer is focused on the biggest and best thing you can do to get more reviews … deliver a GREAT customer experience.

Optimize Your Customer Experience To Get More Online Reviews

Providing a great customer experience to earn more positive online reviews seems like a no-brainer, but I find it to be incredibly overlooked.  Why? Because it can be hard work to improve the fundamentals and mind-set of a business and staff.

Without a great customer experience, there is less a platform, system or process can do to produce customers that want to rave about your business to others online.

Let’s look at 5 things you can do to optimize your customer experience and drastically increase your chances of getting customers to write you 4-star and 5-star reviews.

1-  It Takes A Team To Provide Great Customer Service

Having your entire staff on board, wether it’s a team of 1 or 100, with delighting your customers is a must.  Find ways to educate and set expectations of your team to deliver a customer experience that will want to make customers write a great review as a thank you for the service they received.

Making staff aware of the impact of online reviews, sharing the ones you get, especially ones that mention a staff member by name.  Create pride in the customer service experience and keep it on the forefront of your company communication.

customer service staff

2-  Make Customers Happy With ALL Of Your Touch Points

While the human interaction is the biggest factor of a customers experience, don’t forget about all of your customer touch points.  Do your emails help, guide, inform and make working with you easier?  Does your website offer the answers and functions/features to make buying or working with you easy?  Do you offer all of the payment options your customers wants to use?

All of these things contribute to the customer experience with your brand. Do NOT underestimate the value of all of these being in-sync and exceeding your customers expectations.

3-  Show Your Customers That Their Feedback Matters

All along the process, make sure you are communicating the value of feedback to your business.  If you let your customers know their voice and opinion matter from start to finish, you are creating a culture with your customers to share their thoughts. Here are three ideas to show your business is “feedback focused”:

A.  Display signage in store and on your website that asks for feedback at any time.  Window clings, stickers, posters and more all work.  My local Wells Fargo Bank location does a great job with this lobby sign and business card.

feedback signs

B.  Ask for feedback in the pre-sale process.  Find out if you are doing a good job answering questions, providing quick turns on requests and make sure your website has helpful content.  You can ASK for feedback on many more actions than just a post-sale.

C.  In your support or FAQ section on your website, allow users to rate the content or select if it was helpful or not.  This will help the credibility of the content and also clue you into if it’s truly effective content and answers.

Rate FAQ articles

Utilizing these elements early and often will start conditioning your customers to interact with you on your customer experience and to give you feedback because you ask for it and show it’s what your business values.  You can learn more on being feedback and complaint friendly by checking out our 7 article series on Customer Complaints.

4-  Capture and Evaluate Customer Feedback

Getting honest feedback from your customers is the most valuable exchange you can have with them.  While online reviews are great and help you win new business, customer feedback is essential to retaining customers and knowing where to improve.

Far more customers will give you private feedback than write you online reviews, we typically see 10 to 20 times the amount of customer feedback than online reviews.  Put all of that information to work, see where you can improve and make it happen.

5-  Respond To ALL Reviews And Feedback

While most businesses are conditioned to respond to a negative review, you should be responding to all reviews and feedback your business receives.  A simple “thank you” again establishes you are listening and that you care.

In addition to the online review sites, we encourage GetFiveStars customers to respond to customer feedback in our Testimonial Widget.  This displays your response in the widget and also emails your customer the response.  That’s a great touch point!

Barbara Oliver Jewelry does a fantastic job of this on her Testimonial Page.

respond to reviews

A Great Customer Experience

Do you execute on these or have other ideas for our readers and customers?  We’d love to hear how you have optimized your customer experience to produce more customer feedback and online reviews. Please share them in the comments.

Read the 2nd part of this post on review tactics:  How To Get More Online Reviews – Part Two

6 Replies to “How To Get More Online Reviews – Part One”

  1. MiriamEllis says:

    Hey Aaron,
    I really like your tips, and will share them. I’d like to see some coverage on an issue it almost seems like marketers hesitate to mention – one that underlies the difficulty of motivating employees to create a delightful customer experience. And that’s the state of the economy. When employees are not paid a living wage, their cheerfulness on the job is definitely something they have to put on, rather than positive feelings and behaviors naturally arising from their needs being met and their future looking bright.

    Most of the stores in the cities nearest me are staffed by youngsters who are often working multiple part-time jobs, trying to knit together survival money. So, they are not only anxious about their private lives, their value is often not being validated by the employer who is either cutting corners for the sake of increased profits or is, himself, in the hole financially, sometimes avoiding having to pay for things like health insurance benefits by employing multiple part-time staff.

    If the American consumer has noticed a major drop off in superior customer service over the past few decades, they can likely connect it directly to the economy. I can no longer keep track of the number of times I’ve had to wander around stores, looking for someone to help me, only to FINALLY locate a 21 year old kid who is trying to hurry away from me and has never heard of a dish pan, or a bread basket, or a knife sharpener. He hasn’t been trained in the products, he hasn’t been taught to become accountable or act quickly when a customer has an unmet need. And he’s barely getting by financially.

    No wonder the Internet is literally drowning in negative reviews. It makes the exceptions of good companies with cared-for employees stand out like very bright stars. I’d love to see you or Mike dig deeper into the underlying causes of terrible customer service. I may be your #1 fan of this complaint series and would value seeing further excavation. Keep up the great work!

  2. Aaron Weiche says:

    Miriam, thank you for the comment … that is A LOT to chew on!

    I don’t know if I have the investigative chops to even explore a topic like that. There is no doubt that financial unrest can completely smother any employees desire to be exceptional at their job. Lack of money, a future and pride truly hurts the employee, business and customer.

    One thing I can cite is a local pizza chain of about 10 locations that decided to raise their hiring wage a few years back. Their move increased applications and retention and even drew the interest of the President of the United States.

    One thing in the article above that stood out to me with the Career Path graphic they have. Not only can an employee or applicant see the possible path, but the financial compensation it offers too. I don’t know many small businesses that do that, that well.

    One contributing area I do hope to write more about though is the specific training and trust employees receive from their employer. I have found a huge void in companies providing adequate training on problem solving, process and true customer service. Since they do little to no education on this, they have no trust in the employees to handle these situations. This makes for a big vulnerability in the customer experience, because who you are dealing with has little training, knowledge and virtually no authority to help you when it’s needed. Sad.

    Those that educate, train and instill these skills and trust seem to thrive … and impress their customers.

  3. MiriamEllis says:

    Hi Aaron!
    I so appreciate you taking the time to reply, and the MinnPost article is an inspiration bonanza. I completely missed that when it was published and it’s amazing.

    I couldn’t agree with you more about training and am excited about your continuing coverage of this topic. Something I have learned from recent GetFiveStars articles is just how large a role customer service/employee behavior plays in consumer complaints (something like 57%, right?) and that the cost of replacing a customer may be 25 times as high as the cost of retaining him. Given that employees are the linchpins around which all of this revolves, they really deserve the best training, support and transparent incentive program the business owner can provide.

    Look forward to more from your team, and thanks again for the thoughtful reply!

  4. Matt Maglodi says:

    Some business do not understand the importance of customer reviews. We (online advantages) have experienced it first hand. Its frustrating watching great business avoid online marketing.

  5. Aaron, this was a great article and very informative on actionable steps a company can take to bring in more reviews. I know Google Business is a big piece of the piece for reviews, Yelp and other directories. The biggest piece is the confusion of all the different directory listings out there and which ones to focus on for the best Local SEO performance. What would you say would be the best approach to a new business starting out and where to focus. I don’t see that listed in the article so figured I would ask.

    1. Aaron Weiche says:

      Mike- Thanks for the comment. For me, the first place to start is doing two Google searches. The first is just a brand or company search and see what review sites appear on page 1 or even page 2 results. This shows you what review sites/directories have some authority and visibility with your potential customers. The 2nd is searching “brand/company + reviews”. These results show you exactly what sites you want reviews on.

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