If you are buying a shirt perhaps the fact that the particular shirt you are looking at has thousands of five-star ratings will give you some comfort, but, by-and-large, if the shirt looks great you are going to buy it.
But where high-value services are concerned? The fundamentals here are altogether different: any business hoping to thrive in this sector, be they legal, financial or medical professionals, estate agents or any other service business that is asking people to part with significant amounts of their hard-earned cash their reviews score - their Google review score - needs to be at 4.5 or above before their reviews even begin to stand a chance of being read. Then the quality of those reviews needs to be high...
- the written English needs to be as near flawless as possible
- the content of the review needs to address the issues that most concern a prospective customer
And let's take those two points in more detail:Written English
You cannot dictate what your customer writes, nor how it is written, but you can influence both in converation with your customer before they write their review by tactfully explaining just how important their review is for your business.
In the same way: customers will often ask you "Are there any aspects of your service that you would like me to highlight in my review?"
Both the above serve to stress just how important personal contact is if you are to succeed in getting great reviews. It's an extension of your personal service to your customer and should be presented as such to them: "We rely very heavily on our reviews to communicate that value we add to future customers".
And we cannot stress the word personal - in italics above - strongly enough: there is a completely understandable tendency for some businesses to attempt to absorb review management into the central marketing or admin function but this does not work. Writing a review is seen, by almost every review-writer, as a personal favour to the individual who has provided the service: their lawyer, their financial adviser, their estate agent. We see this time-and-again in the individual reviews: 'Thank you to Laura' not 'Thank you to ABC Plc'. The invitation must be sent by the individual, not the business, and followed up by the individual (for more on this see 'Procedure' below).
There are three main review-gathering mechanisms in common usage these days:
- The first mention of the fact that you will be asking them for a review should be introduced during your initial pitch 'I'm sure you will have read some of our reviews, I will be asking you to post one if you appoint us'. This not only warns them that they will be expected to post a review it also reassures them that your reviews are a genuine reflection of your business and not cherry-picked, as so many people assume
- Reinforce that mention every time the customer pays you or your business a compliment during the process: 'Thank you, it would be great if you could mention that when the time comes to write your review.'
- Every other touch point pays dividends: before you send the email inviting the review and definitely as soon as it lands in your customer's inbox. The latter takes response rates from low single digits to as high as fifty percent.
- Customers will often ask for prompts: "What would you like me to focus on in my review?" Don't be shy!
- Always follow up if the customer has not posted their review within seven days.