10 Reasons Your Business Isn’t Getting Online Reviews
online reviews

10 Reasons Your Business Isn’t Getting Online Reviews

Online reviews pack a powerful punch! Did you know that 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? Or that 72 percent will take action after reading a positive review? With the statistics piling up in favor of online reviews, businesses are practically tripping over each other to jump on the bandwagon.

Unfortunately, the road to online referrals is peppered with potential potholes that can easily cause your referral wagon to throw a wheel. But don’t be discouraged. If you’re having trouble getting online referrals, use this list to identify the problem, and take advantage of our troubleshooting tips to get your referral show back on the road!

Bonus Content: Not sure how to get people to write reviews for your business? We can show you in 10 easy steps. Download your checklist here!

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Problem #1: Maybe It’s You

If you’re not receiving online reviews or, worse still, you’ve been hit with an avalanche of negative reviews, the first thing you should do is look in the mirror. Are your products and services where they need to be to keep your customers happy?

According to PeopleClaim, 95 percent of unhappy customers will return to your business if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently. So take negative feedback seriously and use it to improve your program. Once you’ve made your customers happy, drop a few hints about the importance of online reviews. Eighty-seven percent of customers who have had a good experience told someone about it, so the odds are in your favor!

Problem #2: You’re Not Asking

Be honest with yourself; are you proactively initiating the referral process? If you answer no to that question, you’re not alone. While 91 percent of consumers are willing to give referrals, only 11 percent of salespeople ask for them. Make yourself a promise to start initiating the conversation and to stop leaving money on the table.

Problem #3: You’re Not Asking at the Right Time

First things first — lay the groundwork. You can’t ask for referrals before your customer has a chance to fully experience your services. While dropping hints about the importance of referrals is a great way to set expectations, you don’t want to jump the gun and come across as pushy. Customers need time to settle into the transaction, so give them room to breathe.

But don’t wait too long to follow up. A recent Credit Donkey survey reported that over 50 percent of respondents feel guilty about purchases at least occasionally. If you’re leaving customers unattended after a transaction, you’re leaving the door open for buyer’s remorse, which could directly affect your online reviews, and not in a good way.

According to Dimensional Research, 95 percent of customers who have had a bad experience told someone about it. If you want positive online reviews, you need happy customers, and that requires a proactive effort. Making yourself available in a disgruntled customer’s time of need can make all the difference in the world.

So follow up, show off your industry expertise and flex your customer service muscle. In other words, play the hero and save the customer from the throes of buyer’s remorse! They’ll thank you for it later, and when they ask how they can ever repay you, you can ask them to submit an online review!

Bonus Content: Not sure how to get people to write reviews for your business? We can show you in 10 easy steps. Download your checklist here!

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Problem #4: You Don’t Understand What You’re Asking

It’s important to recognize that online reviews aren’t just about you. By asking your customers to endorse your products and services, you’re effectively asking them to put their reputations on the line, and that’s no small favor.

That’s why referral requests need to be tactful and well-timed. Be proactive, let your customers know how much their referrals mean to your business, and let them know that you’ll do everything in your power to earn their endorsements. Better yet, show them!

Problem #5: You’re Only Asking Once

It’s easy to get discouraged when someone promises an online review but doesn’t follow through. But think of it this way: How many well-intentioned promises have you made over the years that you never followed up on? Everyone forgets. Sometimes a gentle email reminder or a mention in passing conversation is all that’s needed to get the ball rolling again. It never hurts to revisit the ask.

Problem #6: There’s No Incentive

Good service and a polite ask are usually incentive enough to get online reviews, but we also know that everyone loves a reward, right? If your industry allows it, make online reviews worth your customer’s while! To be clear, we’re not suggesting you offer to pay for positive online reviews. What we’re saying is to have fun with the process.

Reward reviewers, both positive and negative, with $5 gift cards from Starbucks or iTunes, or hold a monthly drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card. Whatever you choose to do, it should be easy, fun and tailor-made to your specific audience.

Problem #7: Your Internet Presence Is Lacking

If you’ve set up a website and blog, you’re off to a great start! But if you haven’t taken control of your brand on local listings, external review sites and social media, you’re leaving too much to chance.

These listings will appear with or without your help but by taking control of the process, you can establish an online presence within the appropriate space, monitor the conversation, engage customers and influence potential leads. After all, who knows your business better than you do? You need to be part of the conversation.

Problem #8: Your Online Review Process Is Unclear

Once you’ve established your business on Facebook, Google+, Yelp, and a few industry-specific review sites, it’s time to implement a convenient and specific referral system for your customers. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Send people specific links to your review sites. Take the guesswork out of the review process and make sure when you ask for a review, you make it easy for your customer to find the right place.
  • Create a form for website testimonials. At 89 percent, customer testimonials are considered the most effective content marketing tactic.
  • Make external review sites like Yelp easily accessible from your website and blog, particularly since 85 percent of consumers read online reviews.
  • Add review links and buttons to your email campaigns. You can even embed review links in your email signature.
  • Add referral information to in-store signage, business cards, and all printed promotional material.

Remember, this is the one time it’s perfectly acceptable and even helpful to tell your customers where to go! Don’t leave anything to chance; make the review process simple and convenient, and you’ll receive more online reviews.

Problem #9: You’re Not Being Responsive

If someone leaves you an online review, take the time to thank them. They’ve done you a tremendous favor. Even if the review is negative, you can still thank the reviewer for bringing the problem to your attention and take the opportunity to discuss their concerns, especially those that would worry potential leads.

Fifty-three percent of people say that a direct reply from a company to a customer makes them like the company more. By responding to online reviews and resolving issues in a public forum, you not only nurture existing relationships, but you also build your reputation with potential customers.

Problem #10: Your Process Isn’t Evolving

What works today might not work tomorrow. Track the data, identify trends and tweak the process to maintain optimal success. And don’t be afraid to experiment once in a while. Online reviews affect your business, and the more you learn about what works for your customers, the better your results will be over time.

As you can see, online reviews require a proactive effort on many levels. Neglect just one aspect of the process and you can cost yourself business for years to come. Are you doing everything you can do to encourage online reviews?

Bonus Content: Keep these best practices top of mind. Download a copy of our 10-point checklist on how to get online reviews for your business!

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travis.balinas
Travis Balinas
travis@outboundengine.com