Customer Reviews Are Invaluable
When a customer gives you a glowing review of the work and service you provided, you’ll want to spread the word as much as possible. In doing so, you’ll let prospective customers know that one of their peers has already vouched for the quality of your company. This kind of exposure is invaluable to any business.
Reviews Lead to Better Rankings, Too
Now, more than ever, is a good time to start utilizing social media outlets and business directories for customer reviews. Since the major search engines’ algorithms are starting to weigh social content more and more heavily, they’ve actually begun crowd-sourcing data from customer reviews in their regular search results. For instance, if one of the query’s keywords appears in a customer review from a business’s Google+ Local listing, then that listing is likely to rank higher on the results page.
Think Before You DIY
Not surprisingly, there are quite a few online platforms that make it easy to advertise businesses and showcase reviews. Some of them include:
- Google+ Local
- Yahoo! Local
- HomeAdvisor (formerly ServiceMagic)
- Bing Places
At this point, you might be thinking that you could do all of this work yourself. After all, how hard could it be to gather your customer reviews and dump them into an account? Well, it’s a lot more complicated than it looks.
First of all, it’s important to remember that you should never use one of these platforms exclusively. It’s not a good idea to put all of your eggs in one basket, anyway, but it’s also true that these platforms each have their downsides. For example:
- Yelp uses very inconsistent review-filtering software to weed out “questionable” customer reviews. This often backfires on businesses with only a handful of reviews.
- HomeAdvisor pools customer reviews from every business and highlights them on their site without attribution. This means your review could show up on another business’s listing, which would give all the credit for your stellar services directly to a competitor.
- Google+ is notorious for “accidentally” deleting reviews from business accounts, and they frequently flip-flop on their review policies. You could be penalized for actively collecting reviews despite the fact that this practice was actually encouraged by Google+ not long ago.
- Facebook often has apps and other features that work one day and malfunction the next. With Facebook, your account and reviews simply aren’t stable.
Plus, if you store all of your reviews on only one directory or social media outlet, then you could lose them for good if something ever goes wrong with your listing. Relying on several platforms instead of just one is an effective way to avoid these pitfalls.
- Store your reviews in a variety of places.
- Start off with Facebook, as its partnership with Bing means that customer reviews and “Likes” will push your listing closer to the top of Bing’s results.
- For the same reason, encourage customers to “Like” your Facebook page.
- Once you have about 10 reviews on Facebook, move on to Google+ Local and store the next 10 there.
- Then, use Bing Places, Yelp, Yahoo! Local, and so on.
Add a Feedback Feature Into the Mix
Asking customers to take a chunk out of their day to write a review of your business isn’t easy. They lead busy lives, and any free time is precious. If you’re going to request reviews from satisfied customers, the least you can do is make it as easy as possible for them. That’s where an on-page feedback feature comes in. Let’s use ours as an example. When a customer goes to one of our clients’ LeadTrax™ sites and leaves a review, they won’t have to create an account or go through any of the rigmarole that usually comes with using an online business directory. They can simply rate their experience with our client, write a brief description of the services provided, and hit “Submit.” Done. And if that customer was so happy with our client’s services that they’d like to spread the word even further, we provide convenient links to our client’s Facebook and Google+ accounts, where their customer can copy and paste their review. Here’s how our feedback feature looks: Our favorite part of the feedback feature is that it only prompts customers to share their review on other sites when they give a positive rating: If they claim a negative experience, they will just see a page that thanks them for their feedback: Positive reviews will appear automatically on our clients’ sites as soon as they’re submitted, while negative reviews remain hidden. And with only satisfied customers being encouraged to share their reviews on other sites, our clients don’t have to worry quite as much about unhappy customers going to every corner of the Internet and sullying their good name. If our feedback feature is something you’re interested in learning more about, please don’t hesitate to contact us.