One of the best ways for you to enhance the online reputation of your business is to promote reviews and testimonials about your services from past customers. Maintaining a positive online reputation is key to the future growth of your business. However, motivating clients to provide you with quality reviews is not quite as easy as it sounds. At Prospect Genius, we’ve developed a few strategies in our own attempts to gather more customer reviews, and we’re happy to share them here because they may be helpful for persuading your customers to provide reviews. The first step could be making a direct appeal to your clients. Call or send a postcard with a casual request, such as: “Hey, I’m really trying to build my online reputation, and I was wondering if you could take a few minutes to review how you felt about the work I did for you. I strive to do the best job possible for all of my clients, and I need to know if I’m doing well and where there are areas for improvement. I am going to e-mail you a link to my Google Maps page, and if you could provide me some feedback, I’d greatly appreciate it.” If that simple measure doesn’t result in any response, you might consider offering a one-time discount to clients who write you a review. Conversely, if your past customers say that they are too busy to leave a review but loved your service, ask them if you can write the review for them. Type out what they say on the phone and ask if you can use a written version of that statement on your website. Then you can contact us, and we’ll put those reviews up on your microsite. Respond to Every Negative Review If you do get an unflattering review, take the time to respond when you see that a customer is less than satisfied with your performance. This action will show initiative and genuine interest in how well your business is serving your customers. A sincere, thoughtful response will go a long way in assuring this particular client, as well as future customers, that you’re dedicated to their honest satisfaction. A good example of both accumulating good reviews and responding to bad reviews can be seen in R.J. Hidson Photography’s map listing. Below, take note of how the owner responds to “Joy,” an unhappy customer. The photographer responds by addressing the customer’s feelings, and then he explains why he may appear stern or rushed when completing a photography shoot. His is able to defend his creative instincts and show both sides of the situation not only to “Joy,” but to prospective clients as well. There are several ways to react to a less-than-great review online. The method above is probably the best when your Google or Yahoo maps page also has several positive reviews to balance it out. On the other hand, if your Google or Yahoo maps page only contains bad reviews, you can contact Prospect Genius for help. We will work with you to create a customized reputation management plan that will gradually counteract these poor reviews and put your business back in a positive light.