In order for small businesses to be successful today owners have to think outside of the box and assess what is important to the thriving accomplishment of their business. Obtaining customer reviews is an area where it may be necessary to forego the normal way you operate. Evaluating and considering how these reviews are important to your industry is forward thinking that will direct traffic to your company.
Many small businesses achieve success as a direct result of customer reviews. Whether it is a family-owned restaurant thriving due to reviews on a neighborhood social media site or a local insurance agent with more than one million likes on his Facebook page, consumer reviews are essential to the success story of your company. Let’s face it, businesses come and go and we tend to patronize companies that are highly recommended by family and friends, have five star ratings and positive customer reviews. According to Bright Local, Local Consumer Review Survey 2016, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Companies invest between 1 and 10 percent of their gross sales in advertising, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Getting creative with your advertising budget is imperative. Fortunately, customer reviews are free and an effective form of advertising, which not only cut down on advertising expenses, but are also essential to growing your business in a technology-centric world.
One of the most important reasons customer reviews are vital to your business is that they allow the owner to get up close and personal with the client, even when you are not face to face. Consumer reviews hold you, the business owner, accountable from start to finish, and it is important to connect with the customer so that they desire to write a review about your business. Unfortunately, consumers do not have time to write reviews on every business they frequent, so it is up to the business owner to make patrons want to review their business. How do we do that?
- Establish a website – making it quick and easy for the customer to find your review sources.
- Set up profiles on review sites-A great place to start is Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Yelp.
- Ask the customer for the review-This step seems simple, but many business owners forget to ask; this should be done immediately while your business is still on the consumer’s mind.
- Setup a free MailChimp account -create three list, Prospect Leads, New Customers, Customer List. Prospect Leads are self explanatory and designed for sending potential customers news updates in order to attract their business. New Customers get a Thank You email with links to Google+, Facebook, Yelp, and etc so they can publish a review easily.
- Exceed the quality of your service or product and provide excellent customer service-By striving for this, you will drive reviews in a positive direction. Great Article
- Incentivize the customer-some suggestions include: offering a discount on a future service or purchase, monthly gift card give away or monthly drawing
- Follow up and thank the customer for their review-When you receive a negative review make sure to respond and offer a solution to the issue. Do not ignore negative reviews. Responding is a proactive measure that may lead to a positive result after all.