How can you improve the quality of your online reviews?
Think back to the last time you found a restaurant online to visit for the night.
You may have searched “Italian restaurant near me”, tapped the first option on your screen, and glanced at the menu. It looks decent, but there’s only one way to know for sure (without visiting yourself): reading the online reviews.
You see there are 16 reviews and the average rating is 4.7. That’s not bad, although it’s hard to tell with just 16 reviews. So, you decide to see what they say.
As you read, you notice 12 of them have less than five words, “great service!” or “very good meal.” You shake your head; those are hardly enough to base an educated decision on!
The quality of your online reviews affects your online reputation just as much as the quantity of them.
As an example, let’s compare the following reviews:
Star Rating: 5 Stars
Review: Great business! I love the service.
Star Rating: 5 Stars
Review: This Italian restaurant was everything we hoped for and more. It was my boyfriend’s birthday and we were on the lookout for a place to eat that was centrally located, had great food, and a good atmosphere. We both love Italian food but didn’t want to have to spend $50 per plate to satisfy our craving. When I found Restaurante Italiano, I knew this was the right place. Not only was the service impeccable – our waiter was right at our side every time we needed something – but the food was also delicious. Most Italian food portions are either too much or too little – but this was the right amount! At the end of the meal, we treated ourselves to a tiramisu that practically melted in our mouths. The restaurant had a great fun, authentic atmosphere. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a great Italian place that won’t break the bank but will still have you leaving full and happy.
Stories speak louder than numbers. In fact, when you want your audience to take action (i.e. walk through your door), having a great story with a face and a name will beat out the number of 3-word reviews any day.
But when asking your customers for feedback can be awkward enough as it is, how can also improve the quality of your online reviews?
This one is kind of obvious, but we’re going to say it anyway: the first step to getting high-quality reviews is providing high-quality service.
These days, customers expect great service everywhere they go. In the digital age – where even one slip-up can turn into a PR nightmare – consumers are used to having their needs taken care of – no questions asked.
So, if you’re working to boost the quality of your online reviews, you need to start with the service you’re giving your customer.
Think about ways you can go above-and-beyond to delight them beyond their expectations. Give them a good story to tell. When they have a story worth sharing, they’re going to be much more likely to do so – and what better place than on your profiles?
We knew someone once who worked at a shoe store in the greater Phoenix area. She was a retail associate whose job was to make sure her customers were enjoying their experience and finding everything they were looking for.
One day, she came upon a woman sitting on a bench trying on a pair of slip-on shoes.
“Are you finding everything alright, miss?” She asked the woman, expecting to get the usual, “yes, thank you,” response.
Instead, she surprised her. “Yes,” she hesitated. “Actually, I’m looking for a pair of shoes for my daughter’s wedding, but I can’t seem to find anything that fits quite right. Could you help me?”
Delighted to have the opportunity to help her out, our friend agreed and searched up and down the aisle, bringing a few pairs of shoes she thought would work.
In the meantime, her manager was in her ear, pressuring her to move on to the next customer. After all, they weren’t supposed to spend too much time with one person, in case they miss someone else.
She turned down the volume on her radio and continued helping the customer until, 20 minutes later, they had settled on just the right pair of shoes. The customer was relieved and overjoyed. The wedding was in just a couple of weeks and the shoes were the last thing she needed.
At the end of the exchange, the associate ended up with a satisfied customer. What if she had the opportunity to share that story with future potential customers?
After your customer has had a great experience with you, they’re going to be excited to share what happened.
Start a conversation with your customer as they’re checking out. Ask them how their experience was and, after they tell you the story, don’t be afraid to say:
“That’s an amazing story. Actually, I think our customers would love to hear it. Would you mind sharing it on our website?”
The key here is not to make it all about getting the review. It’s about caring about your customer’s needs and meeting – if not exceeding – them. But if there’s a story worth sharing, then it’s okay to ask the question. After all, once you’ve helped them, they’re going to be a lot more likely to want to help you.
Humans love the idea of having five minutes of fame. We tweet, we post videos, we write content, we tell stories, all hoping something will go viral one day.
While being a small business doesn’t guarantee a large and engaged audience, it does give you the benefit of having a public name and a public following. To customers, your reach is much larger than theirs, and many would love to have a piece of that, even if only for a minute.
Leaving a review on your website, Google page, or Facebook page won’t do a whole lot to get them seen by their friends, family, and people they haven’t heard of before. But what happens when you begin sharing their feedback on your social media and within your store?
As you’re asking your customers for reviews, make a game out of it. Tell them that the top five reviews will be featured on your social media channels and posted behind the register. Give them an opportunity to make their voice heard.
Once they have a chance to be seen by others, they will take more time to put in a high-quality review and tell a story about their experience with you, rather than simply mark a number and go about the rest of their day. Before you can improve the quality of your reviews, you have to get them in the first place.
With our app, it’s easy to send a link to the review right on the spot, even if you operate in multiple locations. Once your employees have downloaded it, they can send a custom link to your customers’ phones within seconds of completing their transaction.
Not only does this give you a better chance of getting that Google review even before they leave, but you will also be able to capitalize on the personal connection that your employees have established with the customer.