Customer reviews are at the heart of building up your customer base and enhancing your business reputation. But it’s not just a matter of sitting back and hoping that reviews materialize. It takes a little effort upfront to get the review flow going, but once you do, you’ll be rewarded for it later. Here’s how to start getting customer reviews as a new business.
1. Set up a Google Business Profile
If you don’t have a Google account yet, create one using your business email domain. Then follow the steps here to set up and verify your Google Business Profile.
Make sure to include your hours, contact information, website, location, and a few pictures of your actual business. Then, most importantly, verify your profile – verified businesses on Google are twice as likely to be considered reputable.
Keep in mind you only need one Business Profile for the metropolitan area your business serves. Google could suspend your account if it finds more than one profile for your business in the same area.
As you may learn, there is a lot that goes into a Google Business Profile. It isn’t something you set and forget. You should be constantly updating and managing it. To learn more about how to optimize your Google Business Profile, watch our on-demand webinar that covers how to do so in depth.
2. Ask customers for reviews
There are many ways to ask customers for reviews. Some of the most common are via:
- Email remains the most popular way to ask for reviews.
- Make sure to collect customer emails during the purchase or billing process so you can follow up with a review request.
- Send an email with a quick survey, or provide a link where customers can write a review.
- Include a prominent request for reviews on your business’s website so that any visitor can see it and follow up.
- Make it as easy as possible by linking over to your Google Business Profile page where the customer can quickly write a review and post it – here’s how to get that link.
Text message (SMS):
- The use of text messages to ask for reviews is on the rise.
- Treat it like an email request by including a quick link for the customer to click on.
- Some extra steps are required to get permission to communicate with customers via text, so it may not always make sense to reach out this way.
- Request reviews on the social media platforms where your business has a presence—such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
- Start by asking an informal question about your business, products, services, or the customer experience, and use the responses you get to tap specific customers for a review.
In-store signage and paper:
- Display signs, banners, or brochures in-store (if you have a physical location) that share information about how customers can leave a review—or at the bottom of a receipt or invoice. Use a QR code to make the process easier.
- Verbally reinforce the information when customers come in or when handing them a receipt before they leave.
Or do all of the above with a review generation tool:
- Use a digital tool like GatherUp to efficiently request and manage customer reviews in one place.
- The same tool also lets you respond to reviews and showcase the best ones—see how it works.
Who asks for the review can make a difference as well. It may make sense for review requests to come from you, your salespeople, or your customer support team. More important is you ask for a review at the right time. Some of the best occasions to ask for a review are:
- Immediately after a customer makes a purchase or a service is performed
- If an employee at your business had a particularly positive interaction with a customer
- If an employee was able to promptly solve a customer’s problem and the customer expressed gratitude
3. Provide great customer service to drive reviews
It’s all well and good to ask for reviews, but sometimes customers feel like it’s a hassle or an extra step they don’t have time for—or they may rapidly lose interest if the review process is way too cumbersome.
Making the review process as quick and straightforward as possible is job one. Beyond that, it’s also a good idea to always try and provide exceptional customer service. One of the top reasons customers leave is a review is to acknowledge and reward a business that went above and beyond. Though it may sound too simple, sometimes treating the customer exceptionally well is all the incentive they need to leave a positive review and share their experience with others.
To learn more about how to launch a successful review strategy for your new business—or for your clients, download our full New Business Guide to Google Reviews.