#WebWeds: Asking for a Review: How to Get Your Customers Involved

Note: This was featured as part of our Web Wednesday segment on Charleston’s 105.5 The Bridge with Box in the Morning. You can catch us every Wednesday morning at 8:20 am ET for your dose of social media & digital marketing news.

The food and beverage industry has no problem with getting online reviews, both good and bad. But other industries, like retail or service-based industries, are much less likely to receive reviews … unless someone has a bad experience.

Of course, we’re well aware of how important reviews are to a business. In fact, a resounding 88% of customers say that they trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations, and nearly 9 out of 10 customers have read online reviews to determine if they’d want to work with that business.

So, understanding just how valuable good reviews can be to your business, how can you get them? Here are a few tricks for you.

1. Ask in person.

If you own a business that is very hands-on with your customer or client, then you can (and SHOULD) absolutely ask them to give you an online review after you know they’ve had a great experience.

For example, if you own a boutique, it’s likely that your salesperson is going to spend a good amount of time assisting a customer and creating a one-on-one bond. At the end of the experience, while checking out, asking your customer for an online review is a surefire yes.

Keeping social media and review cards handy at checkout is a great way to remind people to give your company a review after they’ve left your business. This tactic is going to work best for brick-and-mortar businesses, as well as front-end service businesses like consulting.

2. Consider the “tip” trick.

If your business is in a service-based industry where tipping a worker is standard, create a policy that any customer review that’s left with an employee’s name in it will earn that person a $10 tip paid from the company, not the customer. This will encourage employees who spend a good deal of time with a customer to ask for reviews when the customer has had a great experience with that employee.

For example, when the customer is about to tip, the employee can politely decline and instead tell them about this incentive program. This works for industries like lawn care and landscaping, movers, exterminators, house cleaners, tour guides, etc.

3. Incentivize the customer.

If you’re not in front of your customer often (or ever), then you might need to add a little incentive to get them to write you a review. People are much more likely to do what you want them to if they know there’s something in it for them. Consider offering a discount on their next purchase, a gift card, or a drawing to win a larger prize.

This tactic will work well with strictly e-commerce businesses or other businesses that are struggling to get online reviews from customers.

There is one caveat–you always want to read the Terms of Service on review sites to ensure that you’re allowed to ask for reviews. Yelp, for instance, prefers organic reviews and doesn’t want you to ask your customers to write you a review on their site. Most other review sites are fair game, though, but you always want to be informed.

Bottom line: if you know that your customer has had a great experience with your business, you want to capture that enthusiasm. Don’t wait to ask for a review–ask while the experience is still fresh, and you’ll definitely get it.

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