Think reviews are a nice-to-have? Think again! Online reviews are the unsung powerhouse driving customers to your business – or driving them away. Here’s what you need to know and how to get more reviews.

Reviews by the numbers

The math backs up the power of reviews. Consider:

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According to Forbes, 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. A whopping 65% see online search as their most trusted source of information about a company. This is a higher level of trust than any other online or offline source – including people.

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When customer reviews aren’t available, 8% of people don’t care. But everybody else cares a whole lot:

  • 35% are less likely to buy
  • 32% hold off on making a buying decision until they do more research
  • 23% will have trouble making a buying decision
  • 2% won’t buy the product or service

This data from Fan & Fuel really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? But there’s more.

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According to BrightLocal, 85% of people trust online reviews as a referral. What’s more, 87% of folks look for three to five stars before they’ll consider working with a company.

Reviews are powerful, and you can’t opt out. Even if you don’t have active social media accounts, customers are still leaving reviews on sites like Facebook and Yelp. They might be bad reviews and you wouldn’t even know.

If you’re trying to opt out of the review revolution, why? Do you know how many customers you’re losing by not engaging in social media and reviews? Unless you’ve done the numbers and are OK with the lost revenue, read on.

Four ways to get more positive reviews

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1. Stake your claim

Claim your profiles on Bing, Facebook, Avvo, Google, Yellow Pages, and Yelp. Your business often has a page whether you’ve claimed it or not. By taking control of the page, you can brand it with your logo and provide accurate information. You can also engage with reviewers.

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2. Ask

It’s a social norm that people are more likely to return the favor when they feel you’ve done something nice for them. So, if you’ve provided excellent service, ask for a review! The best way to ask is in person. Asking in person can get you seven to eight times more reviews than asking via email. So create a script and train your staff on how to best ask for reviews.

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3. Make it easy

If it takes more than a tiny bit of effort, people aren’t going to do it. Here are four ways to make writing reviews simple and painless for your customers:

  • Use a memorable URL. Think yourbrand.com/feedback or yourbrand.com/facebook.
  • Put buttons on your website that link directly to your social media accounts. This helps people get right to your review mechanisms.
  • Ask with a card. Have a business card that asks for a review and provides URLs to your review sites. You can use our template at titletap.com/card. Create a free Canva.com account and the design is yours.
  • Send a reminder email. If you don’t see a review from your customer, it’s worth a follow-up. Email is perfect for this.
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4. Buy five minutes

If customers have a few spare minutes immediately after you ask for a review, they’re more likely to write a review. Create this pocket of time at the closing table. Excuse yourself to go make copies. Step out of the room for a moment. Give the client the opportunity to review your services immediately.

Even if you don’t get reviews immediately after the closing, don’t fret. Touch base with the client one or two weeks later to see how things are going and if they’ve had a chance to write a review. Finally, make sure a customer can write a review at any time – some of the best reviews come in years after the transaction!

Track your reviews to see what a difference your efforts make. Engage with the folks who use reviews to point out outstanding issues or a less-than-stellar experience. Personal attention can take a negative review and turn it into a positive experience.