Positive reviews from customers can make a huge impact on an organization. Every business owner knows the value of positive reviews – and they are more vital now more than ever.

Did you know that more than 80% of all consumers say that they trust a product review from a stranger as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend? Not only that, people trust user reviews more than the official descriptions of products.

Customer reviews are actually something that we can influence and control. There are many ways to encourage positive reviews. Of course, positive reviews have a direct connection to excellent customer service.

Can you afford to wait for the customer to decide to review your business or not?

You don’t have to wait on clients to review your organization. We have put together six wise ways you can generate more positive reviews online from customers.

Do customers receive an email from you after purchase?

Opposed to the confirmation email that customers receive with an order number if they order online, we mean an email where you specifically ask them how they like your product. This email is a perfect spot to request that they write a review.

Many organizations have adopted this policy – and for good reason. There will always be people who leave online reviews after every business transaction. They’re known as “well-known Yelpers” and they have provided companies with thousands of reviews.

On the other hand, some people need a friendly reminder to leave a review for your business, otherwise, they will simply forget. A specific place to call for action from a client is in the “Review Us” section of your website with a review link available.

A review request should be emailed to customers 7-10 days after purchase. This time allows customers to fully experience the product or service so they will be able to provide a quality review.

Asking employees to request customers review the business at the right time can be very helpful in generating reviews. It makes sense to have employees directly request reviews from customers because it is a more personal request.

For example, some Uber drivers practice this policy. Drivers will request passengers to leave a review just before they reach their destination. This simple request reminds customers to rate their service before they are distracted with normal daily life.

The experience is fresh in a customers mind when a purchase is completed. A cashier who provides a friendly checkout and some banter is ideally placed to ask for a review because they have an opportunity to build a working relationship with the client.

This method of receiving reviews can be encouraged by printing cards asking for reviews and putting links to your review pages on your website. You don’t want customers to be confused about what to do – eliminate the guesswork and your business will benefit.

Do you offer well-known name brands in your organization? If you are, your product page might benefit from using a reviews provider like Bazaarvoice or Revoo to increase reviews.

These providers will get your organization multiple reviews at once. They can give your page instant credibility because reviews are from real people in real time.

There is a downside to these reviews – they aren’t from your customers. Although the reviews are verified, the reviews are only from people who have bought the product addressed. The unfortunate part of the reviews is that they can’t and won’t be providing reviews of your organization’s key attributes such as your business environment or customer service.

Providers that compile results of already existing products and services are a viable option for new start-ups because it can give the impression your business is well established by the number of reviews alone – not content. As you go, you can supplement the reviews you get through a service with new reviews from customers you acquire.

Google Local Guide is a Google-owned program that allows certain reviewers to have higher authority over other users called “local experts”.

It can be a complicated process to get a “local guide” but here are a few tips to help you become one:

  • Ensure an active and up to date Google My Business listing
  • Join Google Local Guides on your own – you can write reviews of local businesses and raise your visibility as long as the platform is not used to promote or favor your business
  • Attend local events with other guides
  • Invite other guides to come to your business

A nice feature of Google Local Drives is that reviews from “local guides” carry more weight than others would. Another benefit is that Google requires guides to use their real names, eliminating anonymous reviews on Yelp or the like.

Take the guesswork out of asking customers to leave reviews – automate it!

Automation allows a piece of mind knowing every customer will always be asked to leave a review no matter how stressful or busy the work day is. It turns the process into part of your customer service – a hands-off way of encouraging customer feedback and garnering the kinds of reviews that will help improve your business’s reputation.

Here are a few suggestions to help you automate your review system:

  • Set up an autoresponder to send an email requesting a review. Instead of manually sending emails, link the date of a customer’s purchase to their email and have it go out on a specific schedule. If you link customer purchases to your email marketing provider, you can be sure that every customer will get a request for a review.
  • Print up review request cards and put them in the customer’s bag at checkout. This method eliminates the need for your cashier to ask for a review and makes it simple to do even at times when you’re busy and have a line at the register. It also stays with the customer when they are home.
  • Put review links on your website’s product pages. When a customer makes a purchase they can easily read reviews regarding it – and it may help to remind them to leave a review after their purchase.

Automating your organization’s review request system eliminates the possibility of human error in the process of requesting the reviews themselves.

As system should be in place to request reviews – no matter the size of your business. The method you use to ask for reviews should be part of your company’s standard operating procedures.

Your review system should:

  • Specify whose responsibility it is to ask for reviews
  • Specify the language to be used when requesting a review
  • Specify methods to be used (email, conversation, links and printed cards, to name a few)
  • Specify the timeframe for requesting reviews
  • Layout procedures for responding to both positive and negative reviews

If the system for requesting and managing reviews in streamlined you can be sure that there isn’t any confusion and that customers always get the request.

Don’t Sweat the Negative Reviews…

Negative reviews can put a damper in and business owners spirits – but don’t take it to heart. In fact, many businesses use negative feedback to demonstrate that they care about their customers. If negative reviews are handled properly, they can actually improve your business.

The best way to take care of negative reviews is to respond quickly and graciously and to make sure to offer solutions. Do not get defensive with customers as it can show a negative aspect to prospective customers.

If your organization is getting so many reviews that you’re having trouble keeping up, you may want to consider using an online review management system to assist your business. If having too many reviews is one of your only problems – that’s a problem you want to have. Reviews for your business is valuable feedback that can be used to improve your business.