Whereas hotels and restaurants have numbers in their favour when looking for customers to write reviews (a hundred bed hotel is likely to host upwards of 15,000 guests a year) the professions have an asset that more than makes up for their lack: the customer (client) bond is profoundly greater, and this can be employed to great effect.
Your aim will be to get as many great reviews to your website as you can, and get as many of those posted on to whichever external website matters the most (for the purposes of this article let's call that Google).
To do this effectively you must make the most of this bond. You must optimise the ratio of clients who respond to your invitation to a) write their review to your website and b) go on to copy that review to Google.
In an ideal world every client would respond (to both the invitation to your site and to Google). But we all operate in the real business world, where time is at a premium and emails, despite best intentions, go unanswered.
So our advice to our new clients (born of over eight years' experience) is as follows:
- Build the fact that you will be asking every client to write a review into every aspect of client contact. Mention it when you first meet ('We invite all our clients to write a review...') and clients will be actively expecting your email when the transaction is completed.
- Make sure all client-facing staff reinforce the message. For instance, clients will often thank staff over the phone or by email, if staff are trained to say 'Oh, please do remember that when you are asked to write your review' the message hits home.
- Don't just email (the invitation to write the review) and hope. Most important of all, follow up with a brief phone call.
It takes less than a minute, and it should go something like this...
“Just calling to say that the review you’ve been asked to write is really important to us. Once you have posted your review you will be asked to copy it to Google, this helps us create local awareness, so I’d be really grateful."
Everyone has their own words to communicate the same message: 'please don't ignore the emails'.
What we do know...
Is that if you do this, you will get reviews, great reviews to your website and great reviews to Google.
And before you know it, the phone call will become second nature, part and parcel of your customer service regime.
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