Attitudes to being asked to write a review are changing all the time - for the better: consumers now mostly understand that reviews are part-and-parcel of the modern business landscape - and that they need them as much as we do!
Low customer turnover businesses need to really work at getting reviews
If you are a high value/low customer turnover business - legal, financial services, estate agency etc. - you should read on (hotels and restaurants need read no further).
Take estate agents: it is not unusual for a single branch, especially in pure sales, to have transactions in single figures per month. For that kind of business it is essential that every opportunity is taken to maximise the chances of a review being written, both to their own website and to Google.
The rule of 50%
This 'rule' means getting:
- Half of all your customers/clients to write a review to your website, and then...
- Half of them - those who write a review to your website - to copy their review to Google
But it does mean adopting a positive attitude:
- So what if my client has never written a review in their life? I have worked/am working hard for them - it's the least they can do
- So what if they don't have a G+ account? It takes a minute to open one (and Karen at HelpHound will do it for them if necessary)
- Remember that clients are flattered to be asked to write a review
- Bear in mind that if they really don't want to/or physically or mentally cannot bring themselves to - then they simply fall into the 50% who we expect not to anyway - don't harass them!
- Warn your customer that you will be asking them to write a review, to your own website and to Google, when the transaction is complete, make it clear that just as they expect you to work hard and be professional for them, you need them to write these reviews, it's part of an unwritten contract between you
- Don't rely on the email alone, it won't work unless it is followed up with a phone call - that's how the results below were achieved - for a single branch of an estate agency...
Notes for management
We have already said that this won't work without staff engagement, and the same goes for management. Our success stories all stem from businesses where management has understood everything in this article and then provided support and guidance (and sometimes incentives*) for staff.
Also remember that HelpHound are always on hand with advice and ideas.
For more on the customer journey, from initial search to enquiry, read this.
And for those of you who like graphics: here's a really helpful infographic from ReviewInc.
This chart usefully backs up our rule of 50%. It shows that most people - certainly more than 50% - are happy to write a review is they are a) asked in the right way and b) that request is reinforced personally, face-to-face or by phone.
So: aim high and you will achieve the results you need.
*Staff incentives. There is nothing wrong with providing incentives for staff as long as you remain complaint with CMA regulations, so the incentive must not be for positive reviews alone, as those regulations specifically - and quite rightly - prohibit cherry-picking (we have seen more than one example of a business where a negative review specifically refers to incentives 'for a positive review').