What’s the Best Way to Ask for an Online Review?
One of the biggest roadblocks that businesses encounter when trying to improve their online reputation is getting the reviews themselves! For many, the task of actively recruiting reviews seems complicated, time consuming, and potentially awkward.
For this reason, some businesses attempt to offer incentives in return for online reviews, such as giving clients a $20 gift card or future discount with proof of review. Though enticing, this method of gaining online reviews is highly discouraged and if often against the terms of services for many review websites. (heck, Yelp has even taken people to court over it!)
It’s for this reason that we’ve put together this guide, which will help you learn the proper methods of asking for reviews.
Why is getting reviews important?
In order to truly dedicate yourself to a online reputation management strategy, and be successful at it, it’s important to understand why getting reviews is something you should be doing in the first place.
Though we’ve written previous guides outlining the importance of getting online reviews, we’ll summarize quickly here: these reviews will help potential clients in their decision making process, ultimately giving you the upper hand against competitors who have a poor rating or no rating at all.
This happens for a reasons: business with no ratings are often kept from appearing in search results, especially Google’s Local 3 Pack. Because review websites, and search engine-hybrids like Google, wish to provide their users (the researchers) with the best experience possible, their algorithms are built to display profiles that have the highest rating and the most reviews. In fact, both the rating itself and the number of reviews that contribute to that score are considered to offset businesses who have a single five-star review versus 20 reviews that total to a 5-star rating.
Similarly, getting more reviews on your profiles creates a “buffer” against the potential damage that a single negative (or fake negative) review may cause.
And, in the long-term, it may be tempting to stop gathering reviews after you reach a certain number or rating. In the reputation management world, this is a big question that businesses grapple with as they seek to decrease the time spent on what they deem “non-essential” projects. Though savings are important, it’s integral to keep a steady and current stream of reviews coming to your profile as reviews over 6 months old aren’t given the same weight as a new review in the eyes of prospective clients.
It’s for these reasons, and a few more, that we always recommend businesses in any industry to make gathering reviews and active and on-going project.
The Ask: How to Ask for an Online Review
The easiest thing to do in order to get new reviews is to just ask! However, for many businesses, this task is actually more difficult than it may seem.
For many, asking a client or patient to leave a review can seem awkward. Without catching someone off guard, how is it possible to smoothly ask for a review to be left?
At RepCheckup, we understand that business owners pride themselves on providing a high-quality customer experience, and this almost always includes having staff that’s friendly and invested in each client. A natural result of this is conversation itself.
While checking in or browsing, staff may strike up a friendly conversation with a client. In later interactions, such as the check out, your staff can again follow up with the client to see how their shopping, purchasing, or medical experience played out for them.
With the power of friendly conversation, staff should feel comfortable gently asking a client to leave a review online to let people know about their experience. It goes without saying that asking an angry or upset client to leave a review may not be the best idea, but a simple “Hey, when you get the chance, can you leave a review on (website of your choice) to let people know about your experience today?” works wonders.
Let Technology do the Work for You: Ensure Every Customer is Asked
In some cases, business owners don’t find the asking part of getting reviews awkward or cumbersome. But it comes down to time. If a business is simply too busy to personally ask for reviews regularly, it may be easier to let technology do the work for you.
Online reputation management is an industry developed to aid business owners and medical professionals manage their profiles without requiring them to log in and out of each account individually, which is what the process typically looks like if done organically by an individual staff member.
These tools, like RepCheckup, allow a user to aggregate all of their review profiles into one space and manage them in the least time-consuming manner possible. RepCheckup has developed a tool that allows users to have their own phone number that sends out text messages to clients after their visit in order to route them to a review site of your choosing. By texting clients rather than emailing them, we’ve seen an incredible click-through rate of 60%, which contrasts to the average click-through rate of 2% that emails garner.
So, take a few minutes to think about what strategy fits best into the schedule of your business to gain the best results. For many, a combination of a personal ask and the use of an online tool is a preferred route to make sure that customers or patients don’t get lost in the shuffle of a busy work day.