5 Reasons Why Businesses Should be Asking Customers for Online Reviews
By now, most businesses know how important getting online reviews is to their success. Unfortunately, most customers aren’t leaving reviews. The good news is that businesses can (and should) take steps to improve this situation. How? By asking customers for online reviews.
Consumers today search online for businesses that have the products and services they want to buy. And, if they see that a business has few or no reviews, they are likely to buy from someone else. This is one of many reasons why local businesses need to be asking customers for online reviews.
Some people might view asking for online reviews as unethical, and that’s understandable. But it depends on what you are asking. What would make this action wrong is if you asked the customer for a 5-star review or gave the customer an incentive for leaving a 5-star review. Simply asking for a review is not.
Taking a proactive role in generating more online reviews is a great strategy to include in your local marketing plan. The purpose of this post is to talk about some of the more important reasons why this makes sense.
In no particular order, below are 5 reasons why businesses should be asking customers for online reviews.
1. Customers want to read “fresh” reviews.
Old online reviews are, well, old. But how old is too old? Studies show that 85% of consumers say online reviews older than 3 months are considered not relevant. It’s not unusual to see a business with reviews that are months or even years old. A lot can happen to a business in a few months let alone a couple of years. Consumers want to know the experiences of customers within the last few days before deciding to purchase from a particular business.
2. Boosts local search rankings.
A great by-product to asking for reviews is that the more reviews you get the more it can help your SEO. Online reviews are user-generated content and the search engines favor this type of content. Research by Moz shows that Google views “Review Signals” as an important local search ranking factor. In addition, the more reviews you have, the more opportunity to share these reviews on your website and social media to further maximize SEO value.
3. Drowns-out negative reviews.
In general, a business that strives to deliver a great customer experience and fixes problems when they don’t will get more positive than negative reviews. However, many local businesses don’t get many reviews at all. So, a poor review can have a much greater impact on their overall online reputation. Asking customers for online reviews on a consistent basis can be the cure for this situation.
4. Promotes a healthy review volume.
Research shows that consumers read at least 10 reviews for a company before making a purchase decision. Online reviews are “social proof” and the more customers you have vouching for you the better your online reputation and the more likely others will buy from you. Because of this, businesses should make a commitment to grow the number of reviews over time. And asking for reviews will help you do that.
5. Improves your average star rating.
When searching for products and services online, it is common for the results to include an average star rating graphic displayed next to the name of each business listed. This colorful graphic attracts the attention of the prospective customer and the rating factors significantly in their purchase decision. Asking customers for reviews can lead to more positive reviews and an improvement in your businesses’ average star rating. A study by Harvard Business School showed that a 1 star increase in your average star rating can lead to a 5 to 9% increase in sales.
*Bonus reason.* Grow sales.
Of course, increasing sales is the number one reason to ask customers for online reviews. As the old saying goes, reviews equal revenue. If your business has no reviews or a few negative reviews, you have to take action or your business may not just lose customers, it may fail altogether.
Having social proof in the form of online feedback from your customers is a key driver of revenue for local businesses. This is why getting online reviews is so important. However, businesses should not wait for this feedback to happen. It’s a must for businesses to take a proactive approach and ask customers for online reviews after the sale.
Before you make a commitment to asking customers for online reviews, be sure you and your employees are delivering a 5-star customer experience. If not, asking for reviews may not improve your online reputation (and could make things worse).
When asking customers for online reviews, the key is to make it easy for them to leave the review. One of the most effective ways to do this is by sending an invite via email or SMS. While you can do this yourself, businesses should consider outsourcing this task to an online reputation management company. There are many good, inexpensive firms out there that can help you conduct a successful review generation program.
Please let us know if your brand has starting asking customers for online reviews. Share your experiences in the comments below.
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