So, you’ve had a brilliant Sunday lunch at a popular pub. Do you jump online at the nearest opportunity to gush words of gratitude in a Google review? Reverse the situation – the Sunday lunch was cold and the service appalling – now how eager are you let loose your thoughts? Unfortunately, negative experiences can be more powerful motivators for us ‘seek justice’. And it just so happens that Google Reviews provides a quick, convenient, and very public channel to do so!

We truly do live in a ‘Review World’, where everyone seems to have a strong opinion about everything and wants to share those thoughts with the planet too. We all love reading reviews, be they good or bad. Other people’s reviews have now become an integral part of our decision-making process in various aspects of our lives. We mostly perceive them as authentic and genuine because they come from people just like us and not some marketing spiel. Reviews allow us to make informed decision, whilst avoiding disappointments.

In summary, reviews are not going away anytime soon. So, how can you as a business owner take control of this often-unpredictable onslaught of feedback? Here are some 8 great tips that may help you do just that…

Acknowledge good reviews

There are many businesses out there sitting on their laurels that for some reason do not reply to the great customer reviews they’ve been given. This lack of acknowledgement can have a damaging impact not only for the customers who took the time to leave reviews, but others reading them. A loyal customer base takes time to foster and is one of your main assets. Always take time out to appreciate and respond graciously to your positive reviews.

Address poor reviews promptly:

If people have taken the time to leave your business an indifferent or critical review, do not ignore it. Dealing swiftly with poor reviews really is disaster management; respond quickly, professionally, and politely to address any concerns, and always try to offer a solution. Most people will warm to and accept a solution! Avoid going up the emotional ladder at all costs – remember the world will be able to read what you write and judge you for it.

Encourage Feedback During Billing:

If you are looking to increase your number of reviews, why not ask customers during the billing process if it would be OK to contact them for a review in a follow-up email? Even with the best intentions to leave a review, many customers quickly forget. This initiative-taking approach increases the likelihood of obtaining reviews through a friendly reminder.

Offer an Incentive:

Everyone likes some kind of offer or a freebie. Customers will be more likely to take time to leave you a review if you offer some kind of incentive. For example, 10% of your next order, free delivery or a free gift. This not only prompts reviews but also incentivizes customers to return and do business with you.

Use social media:

Social Media channels offer the perfect place to build a customer base and proactively engage with customers. Your customers like to be nurtured, be acknowledged, and feel appreciated. When they see positive feedback from you and other customers, they will become inspired and will more likely want to share their good experiences too.

Strategic Call-To-Actions (CTAs):

Why not try to incorporate personalised CTAs throughout your website to encourage customers to leave reviews. Subtlety, personalisation, and appreciation is key here to any messages that you display. Try to be genuinely interested in what customers think of your business, how things are going, or could be improved.

Make it easy to leave reviews:

If you are asking customers to go out of their way to leave a review, make sure you make it easy for them to do so. Any review forms need to be quick and straightforward to complete. Simplifying the process will most definitely increase the likelihood of customers providing feedback.

Do the best you can:

Ultimately, the most effective way to achieving positive reviews is by delivering exceptional customer experiences. A user-friendly website, timely processing of orders, clear communication and great customer service are all worth their weight in gold. Don’t forget that customer appreciation is key too, so occasional rewards for loyal customers will certainly contribute to a positive brand image.