All month long, we’ve been talking about the importance of online reviews. Hopefully it’s helped you be more strategic about how you establish trust with people online, and ultimately ends up growing your business.
But here’s the problem.
Even as I’ve been sharing these insights with you, and I KNOW this is exactly what we all need to do… there’s a part of me that resists implementing it myself.
Because I hate asking for reviews!
It almost feels like telling everyone to wish me a happy birthday on my birthday. hahaha! Doesn’t it kind of seem unnatural to ask people how awesome they think you are??
For anyone out there who can relate to that, good news: there is a solution.
We’ve partnered with a company called Fireworx Reputation. The owner is actually a good friend of mine, and their whole business is helping manage all the aspects of online reviews that people like us are so reluctant to do.
Fireworx does it all – for example:
- Automated Review Requests. After a purchase or appointment, automatically send an email/text message for a review request and/or reminder.
- Promote Positive Reviews. When you receive a positive review, it will automatically be shared to your social media and custom reviews page.
- Negative Review Notifications. Receive an email when a negative review is posted, so you can respond and work through a solution before it creates a bigger problem.
- Custom Email Campaigns. Thank customers for positive reviews, survey customers with negative reviews and much more!
- Dedicated Reviews Page. Our platform’s widget automatically updates your website’s custom reviews page. This gives an incredible boost to your SEO!
- Multi-Location Management. See statistics of how your business is performing as a whole & how each location is performing on its own.
- Employee Specific Recognition. Allow reviewers to give feedback on specific employees they interacted with (don’t worry, only you can see this). You’ll know where your team is excelling, and where extra training might be in order.
I believe in this so much that I personally just became a Fireworx client myself! I really think this can work for you as well.
Click on the Learn More button below that explains everything – be sure to scroll down to the bottom and schedule a free demo of what they can do for you!
The Fireworx team is ready to walk you through this and work on your behalf. As it says on their site, “You know you’re good at what you do. Now make sure others know it too!”
Please email me if you have any questions. Our heart at BOS Media is doing everything we can to make your business look good – I hope this helps you shine!
Have you ever read an online review that was so vague and generic that you wondered if it was even real? It almost sounds like the reviewer was their cousin’s friend, and in return for watching their dog over the weekend while they were on vacation, they put something nice on the dog-sitter’s Google business page. Not knowing anything about what they do, they could only speak in generalities. Something like, ”Johnny was awesome! He was super friendly and got everything done on time” – words that could literally apply to any business.
They offered no details, no stories, no specifics…just vague words. It might sound positive, but this actually has very little effect on a potential customer.
A good, quality review should provide useful, constructive feedback, with specific details that cover a full range of the customer’s experience.
Why is it important to get these types of reviews?
Because good, quality reviews make you feel something. It gives others a sense of what it’s really like to do business with you, and the factors that have contributed to someone’s positive, negative, or just an “eh” kind of experience. And for the readers who haven’t yet decided whether or not to do business with you, those details build TRUST.
So, how do we get good, quality reviews? Here are three pieces of advice from the experts:
1. Actively ask for reviews. We talked about this last week and how much impact it can make. The reality is, most people don’t bother leaving you reviews unless they have a complaint. You don’t want to leave your online reputation in the hands of angry customers – give happy people a chance to tell your story too.
2. Make it easy. Which leads to the second point – once the satisfied customers are willing to do you the service of leaving a review, make it easy! Tell them exactly where to go, and make reviews available on as many platforms as possible.
3. Ask good questions. If you do this right, you’re actually helping the customer write the review and say nice things about you. Be clear about what you’re looking for in the specific questions that you ask – for example:
- What did you enjoy most about using our service/product?
- What’s the biggest benefit/result you got from going with us?
- Would you be willing to recommend us to your friends?
Bottom line: it doesn’t matter how good you think you are. What matters is how good your customers think you are. Give them a voice and be ready to listen. Best case scenario, they’ll brag about you to the world; worst case scenario, you’ll have some valuable feedback that will help you get better.
And that’s worth a lot more than empty flattery from your cousin’s friend (Side note: I’m starting to think he’s just using me for free doggy day care…I may need to talk to my cousin about this).
As you may have heard, the BOS Media podcast is called “Make it Matter.” So when the subject line asks, “does something matter?” it’s kind of a big deal in our world. Mattering matters to us. (not to mention, what’s the entire physical universe made of? That’s right, MATTER.)
The more we talk about reviews, the more I’m struck by the subconscious effect they have on me. If I’m comparing two options – whether it’s a restaurant, or a product on Amazon – if one has like 7 reviews, and the other has 1,400, I’m almost always going to go with the one that has more… but why?
I heard an awesome quote from a business owner on Reddit about this:
How do reviews change the way you look at a movie, product, or place?
“I kind of have some deeper understanding of reviews from the restaurant and hospitality business. Once you get past the BS filter, then you can see the real reviews. What you are looking for are the true positives and the true negatives. Consistency gives you the answer.”
The key word here is consistency, and how it helps lead us to “true” positives and “true” negatives. The more reviews you have, the more truth you can derive from it. That’s a strong statement but I really believe: Consistency gives you the truth.
No offense to the 7-review company, but how much truth can we really derive from that? (especially when everyone’s first couple reviews are usually from family members haha). The more consistency we see, the more credibility we give.
Consistency = Credibility
With all that said, let’s talk about what really matters to the entrepreneurs we work with: growing your business. I just heard an amazing case study about the transformative power of reviews.
Eagle Beaver Moving is a small business who started a campaign of asking every single customer they got for reviews – the results blew me away:
Before: 4 reviews, 4.2 rating, 20 leads/month
After: 528 reviews, 4.9 rating, 350 leads/month
I know some of us might feel reluctant to ask customers for reviews – you may not want to bother them, or maybe you’re afraid of getting negative feedback we discussed last week. But I think we can all agree: if you care about consistency, credibility and growth, this does matter.
Next time, we’ll talk about how you can get more quality reviews. Our hope is that it helps you establish trust with people searching online, and ultimately ends up growing your business. Why is this so important?
Because YOU MATTER to us.
Let’s talk about 100% 5-star reviews… Do they feel suspicious to you? If I see a business with all 5-star reviews, part of me gets super excited for them. How cool is it that they are that awesome? And I usually don’t doubt that they are… but, I also want to know more.
Someone told me that in order to really know how great a company is, you need to see what happens when something goes wrong. Because inevitably, something will. How will they address it? How will they remedy it? Will they offer empathy? Will they understand the other side? Will they defend? Will they be kind?
Whatever we believe about this gets put to the test when someone posts a negative review about our business. How will we respond?
Here are a few tips for how to prepare yourself for when that moment comes, starting with…
What NOT to do:
- Don’t ignore it. Kind of like when your car makes a funny noise – you can’t just turn the radio on, or put a piece of black tape over the “check engine” light. Negative reviews aren’t fun, but pretending that they’re not there is not a solution, and may cause people to assume that the criticism is accurate.
- Don’t get defensive. The customer may not always be right, but you gain nothing by proving them wrong. Getting defensive often triggers a similar response in the other person. Online they call this a “flame war” (and if you’ve ever seen one in the comment section, you know that no one wins). Try to avoid that and look for ways to be more solution-oriented, responding calmly no matter how out of line you think the customer is.
- Don’t dismiss legitimate criticism. Before responding, take a minute to do a little self-examination – maybe the customer actually has a valid point. If you’re open to it, their feedback could help you address an area that needs improvement, in which case it’s better to just admit that you were wrong rather than to argue.
What to do:
- Own your responsibility. Success in business is not about avoiding mistakes – it’s more about what happens next. If you did something wrong, do your best to make it right – let the customer know you’re sorry they had a bad experience and that you hope they’ll give you another chance. Ideally your kind response (plus the offer of a refund or exchange if needed) will be what they remember most.
- Address complicated issues privately. While you do want to respond, the entire interaction doesn’t have to be on the review site (especially as you keep the customer’s privacy in mind). If you don’t have the customer’s contact information, invite them to reach you by phone or email.
- Beware of fake reviews. The review site might be willing to take it down (especially if it’s clearly a troll), but if not, let the reviewer know that you value all feedback and are committed to customer service, then politely inquire about the claim, and invite them to contact you directly to resolve the issue.
This whole conversation takes me back to a BOS Media podcast we did about “making negatives into a positive“. One of the quotes we highlighted was from Danny Meyer: “The road to success is paved with mistakes well-handled.” Just remember when negative reviews come, it doesn’t have to be the end of the story – show your company’s true colors in a gracious response, and be ready for lots more to discuss about reviews in the coming weeks!
My daughter wanted a bunny. Christmas was coming up and she just couldn’t stop talking about it. She was doing some intense research on what type of bunny she wanted and where to get it. We were very hesitant. We didn’t know anything about bunnies and we knew eventually, we’d be taking care of it. So, we acted as though we weren’t interested in getting her a bunny for Christmas. We were so believable that she eventually stopped talking about it and moved on. She was sad.
Well, Christmas came and the last present left under the tree was a large gift bag. My daughter slowly walked over to it in her PJ’s and looked in. She screamed and immediately cried. Tears of joy flowed down her cheeks, she picked up and showed us the most adorable, furry bunny you’ve ever seen. It was a lop-eared bunny that she wanted and she named her…wait for it…Bunny.
I wanted to share that story before I got to what happened next. The Bunny loved our carpet. It had no flavor but she just loved chewing it up. Not sure why – is this what Bunnies do? Well, to make the long story somewhat short, we went online to look for a carpet repair company.
I don’t know about you but I know nothing about carpet repair. I don’t know what it takes, how much it costs and how they even do it. Where do they get the matching carpet to patch? How in the world do they repair what a cute little lop-eared bunny called Bunny has destroyed? So I immediately clicked on different carpet repair companies and started reading the reviews.
Do you do that too or is it just me? I clicked on companies with the most reviews and somehow felt that they seem to have social proof that they actually know what they are doing and are doing it well. They must be better than others since they have more reviews! Do you think like that too? I know having a lot of reviews doesn’t tell the whole story but they kinda do for me. Also, reading the reviews reveals so much about the company. How they work, their customer service, their culture, punctuality, friendliness, even what types of mistakes they make and what to look out for. Personal, legit reviews that people took time to write gave me enough confidence to make a call for carpet repair.
The company I chose was very responsive to my inquiry and answered all my questions quickly. When the repair was complete, he did something that I’ve never had anyone do. He sent me a before and after photo that he took of the repair. And then, he kindly asked me to write him a review if I was satisfied with his work. I told him Yes, since I am an entrepreneur myself and I know how important Marketing is. Of course, I would!
But then, I forgot. Life got busy and I quickly forgot my assignment. Something I actually would have loved to have done since I know the value of the reviews and that he did a great job…and I wanted to help him grow his business.
I got a text from him a week later gently reminding me of the review request. It wasn’t annoying, it was actually perfect timing and prompted me to write him an awesome review with the before and after a photo he sent me.
So, what did I learn? Two very important things about Marketing:
- Reviews matter. It matters a lot. Social proof is king. In fact, last year, 93% of customer read online reviews before hiring a service or buying a product. I know this is true because I do it myself. And I know you do too.
- Reviews don’t just happen by chance. There needs to be an internal process and flow that prompts your customers to write and makes it easy for them. If they are like me, they’ll also need to be reminded.
So, back to the Bunny. Was she the cutest bunny ever? Yes. Was my daughter the luckiest and the happiest little girl? Yes. Were we the best parents ever? Yes. Did we end up taking care of the bunny? Yes.
The real moral of my bunny story is, I honestly think this online review thing has got some bite to it. I think if we do it right, it can truly affect the way we engage with customers and exponentially grow our business at the same time. Journey with me with this online review series, I have so much more to share.