6 Things You Should Be Doing Offline To Build Business Online

6 Things You Should Be Doing Offline To Build Business Online

You might think that because we’re a digital marketing company, we’re only advocates for online marketing tactics and efforts. Not so! We actually consider everything from the way you answer your phones to the people you hire part of your marketing. Call us weird, but if it tells your story or affects how your customers see you, we say that’s marketing.

That’s why we’ll be the first to tell you that one of the best things you can do for your business is actively put forth effort both online and offline. Many times, offline efforts end up showing up online, and since the two really go hand in hand, it’s time to start thinking of them as two pieces of the same puzzle.

Before we dive into the 6 things we think you should be doing offline to build business online, we just wanted to say: These are things you can be doing even if you’re not ready to work with us. We love partnering up with local service businesses as they power on towards their dreams, but the reality is, not every business is ready to make that commitment, financially or otherwise. If you fit into that category, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to build and grow in the meantime. 

Alright, let’s get right into what you can and should be doing:

#1 Sponsor local events, activities, and sports teams.

Have you considered sponsoring local sports teams and events, like little league teams, football teams, soccer teams, golf tournaments, tennis matches, local chamber events, community fairs, or town festivals? Getting your business involved through sponsorship can provide yet another way for those in your community to discover you and the services you provide. In other words, it’s a great way to build brand awareness, earn a reputation, establish trust and authority, and stand out in your community.

Whether it’s a little league team, an annual town parade or festival, or a charity event, sponsorship is a great way to get involved in the communities you serve and let potential customers know who you are and what you’re about. People want to do business with local companies who are invested and established, and community sponsorship is a great way to communicate that you’re that type of company. 

An added perk is that, oftentimes, these sponsorships will earn you links or citations online. Think about it: it seems there’s a website or a landing page for just about every event out there. When you’re a part of an event, there’s a good chance your company will be mentioned or linked to on the event’s website or landing page. And who knows — your offline efforts could end up not just building authority and boosting your rankings with potential customers in your community, but also building authority and boosting your rankings with Google.  

#2 Invest in B2B relationships.

Networking is a great way to get your business name out there and gain referrals. It’s also beneficial for you as a business owner to connect with other business owners and build relationships with those in your community. So get involved, even if you don’t think of yourself as the networking type. When you build authority and trust with other businesses in your community, they’ll be proud to pass your name along to their customers, because they’ll know you’ll provide excellent service and an excellent customer experience.

Connecting with others and developing referral relationships can lead to more (and more satisfied) customers; a stronger, closer-knit community; and maybe even links to your website from your referral partners’ websites. Let me give you a quick example of a referral relationship here in my community.

I recently locked myself out of my house and since I hadn’t lived here long, I’d yet to make additional keys or hide a key. The only way I was going to get in was to call a locksmith. Being new to the area, I went to Google, and after several calls, I finally got through to someone. The locksmith I reached wasn’t going to be able to get out my way anytime soon, as it was a Friday at rush hour, so he gave me the name and number of a locksmith closer to me. I called the locksmith he referred, he got me in, and I paid him for his time.

Now, I’ve taken all the necessary precautions to avoid ever needing a locksmith in the future, but if I ever do need one, I’ll probably try the first guy again, because he proved to me that he cared more about me and my needs than about closing the sale. He was willing to give up business because it benefitted me. That’s the kind of company I want to work with, and he showed me that through a referral to another company in his network.

#3 Get involved in your local BNI or Chamber of Commerce.

One of the best ways to build those referral relationships is to get involved with your local BNI chapter, Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, Jaycees, Gold Star Referral Club, etc. These local groups allow you to learn more about what’s going on in your community and what other local businesses are in your area, and provide a place for you to mingle and mix with those you may not otherwise spend any time with. If you really want to see the referrals start coming in and learn from other businesses in your community, these are groups you have to get involved with.

Many local groups such as these also mention the businesses associated with them on their websites and provide links. Links and citations = higher rankings. Plus, being a part of local organizations shows your potential customers that you’re invested in your community, which makes them more likely to trust in and invest in you.

#4 Give back.

Getting your company involved with a charity is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Not only is charity work good for your spirit, but it communicates to your employees and customers that you care about more than just what you can gain from those in your community. You’ll meet new people, get involved in meaningful, big-picture work, and you may even discover new ways to raise funds and awareness through your business throughout the year.

Everyone wants to find purpose and meaning in their day job, especially on the tough days when things don’t seem to be going right. Partnering with a charity and using your business to give back can provide that purpose and meaning. And when you’re invested in your community offline, the effects are bound to show up online. 

#5 Get your culture, procedures, and customer service right.

No matter how many potential customers your website or Ad spend sends your way, if you have scheduling problems, procedural problems, or customer service problems, you’re going to lose out and fail to convert some of those leads. And the disappointment of your customers is going to find its way online (via reviews), which will have a negative impact on your online presence.

So work on getting your company culture, procedures, systems, and customer service 100%. By getting all of these things established and in peak condition, you’ll be able to confidently serve the customers that find you through your online marketing efforts and you’ll get better ROI from those efforts. 

#6 Ask for reviews.

And finally, ask for reviews! At the end of a service, let your customers know how much you value their feedback and how much you rely on referrals and online reviews for business. Whether you want to believe it or not, your satisfied customers aren’t likely to leave you a review if you don’t ask — so ask! Positive reviews (and good, respectful responses to negative reviews) build trust with potential customers and reassure Google you’re the company to show in search results.

So get out there! Perfect your online and offline marketing and you’ll see better results than you would with one or the other.

The Costly Dangers Of Offering Incentives For Reviews + 5 Tips On Getting Reviews The Right Way

The Costly Dangers Of Offering Incentives For Reviews + 5 Tips On Getting Reviews The Right Way

What’s the one thing that (most) consumers love and (many) business owners hate? Reviews.

82% of consumers read reviews for local businesses, so obviously reviews matter. That’s not even a question at this point. But what’s frustrating for many small businesses is how hard it is to get enough positive reviews to make a difference.

Most of us go through what we refer to as “The Stages of Review Hell,” and end up trying some costly things: like offering incentives for reviews. What are “The Stages of Review Hell” and how can the last stage get us into big trouble? Let’s take a look…

The Stages Of Review Hell

Denial. Maybe if I ignore them, they’ll go away. It seems like everyone starts in this stage, but you can’t afford to stay here. Remember, the majority of consumers are checking reviews before deciding who they want to do business with. Reviews matter, whether you want them to or not.

We think Mary Bowling, one of the industry’s best local search experts, said it best:

“Small business owners who aren’t actively marketing on the Internet are impacted by online reviews and ratings whether they want to be or not, because even enterprises without websites are being talked about online.”

If you’ve been hanging out in the denial stage, it’s time to move on to the next stage.

Begrudging Acceptance. This stage may not sound better, but it’s a natural part of the process. When you’re here, you’ve acknowledged that online reviews matter and are going to affect your business, whether you personally give them much validity or not. Once again, Mary Bowling forces us to face the facts:

“All businesses and those who market them must get used to the fact that reviews are not going away – not ever.”

Ok, so if they’re not going away, what do you do?

When you find yourself in this stage, maybe you start to occasionally ask satisfied customers to write reviews if they think of it and have the time. As time goes on, asking doesn’t seem so intimidating, and you start to do it with a little more ease and poise. You give it a good college try and make it part of your service process, but after awhile, you start to wonder why you’re not seeing much of a difference, and what you can do to get people to follow through.

You’re already stretched thin and now you’re feeling frustrated and victimized by Google, Yelp, and all the people “deciding” what rules your business has to play by. So, you decide to take matters into your own hands and step right into the next stage.

Desperation. You’ve tried to play by the rules, but you’re still way behind your competitors in reviews…what can you do? During the desperation stage, you try everything. You start out handing out review cards, sending post cards. And then one day it hits you: What about bribes? No one is taking the time to give you the reviews you so desperately need, but you could give them a little incentive! Or, even better, what if you just hired someone to leave fake reviews for your business or took matters into your own hands and left some reviews yourself? Is there really any harm in that?

Deceit AKA Danger Zone. If you’re guilty of (or even considering) hiring cheap labor to fake reviews, writing reviews yourself, or incentivizing reviews and giving rewards and gifts to those that take the time to leave you a review online, you’ve passed from the desperation stage to the deceit stage, AKA “the danger zone”.

Slow. Your. Roll.

Yes, you need reviews, but are you willing to pay $300,000 for them? $300,000? Yes, you read that right!

Businesses that produce fraudulent or incentivized reviews are being penalized with more than just a slap on the wrist. The powers that be are hitting companies with massive fines, stripping them of all their reviews, and even sabotaging their page rankings. Is it really worth it?

Back in 2015, AmeriFreight was fined $300,000 by the FTC for failing to disclose that they’d given cash discounts to customers in exchange for reviews.

The FTC stated the following:

“Companies must make it clear when they have paid their customers to write online reviews…If they fail to do that – as AmeriFreight did– then they’re deceiving consumers, plain and simple.”

See, we didn’t just pull that number out of thin air. Talk about a costly mistake!

In this same statement, the FTC decided to lay down the law for those taking the “money talks” route, in order to keep consumers in the loop. If you have incentivized reviews, you are required to label them according to the following guidelines:

  • A. In textual communications (e.g., printed publications or words displayed on the screen of a computer), the required disclosures are of a type, size, and location sufficiently noticeable for an ordinary consumer to read and comprehend them, in print that contrasts with the background on which they appear;
  • B. In communications disseminated orally or through audible means (e.g., radio or streaming divaudio), the required disclosures are delivered in a volume and cadence sufficient for an ordinary consumer to hear and comprehend them;
  • C. In communications disseminated through video means (e.g., television or streaming video), the required disclosures are in writing in a form consistent with subparagraph (A) of this definition and shall appear on the screen for a duration sufficient for an ordinary consumer to read and comprehend them;
  • D. In communications made through interactive media, such as the Internet, online services, and software, the required disclosures are unavoidable and presented in a form consistent with subparagraph (A) of this definition, in addition to any audio or video presentation of them; and
  • E. In all instances, the required disclosures are presented in an understandable language and syntax, and in the same language as the predominant age 4 of 7 language that is used in the communication, and with nothing contrary to, inconsistent with, or in mitigation of the disclosures used in any communication of them.

You know how bad your Yelp page looks to potential customers with zero reviews? Imagine how it will look with language like, “This reviewer was paid handsomely to provide this 5 star review.” Or, imagine what it would look like with this message that Yelp puts on pages it suspects of incentivizing reviews:

“We caught someone red-handed trying to buy reviews for this business. We weren’t fooled, but wanted you to know because buying reviews not only hurts consumers, but also honest businesses who play by the rules. Check out the evidence here.”

Is that announcement going to make your company look good to potential customers? No, siree bob.

How Can You Get More Reviews, Without Breaking The Rules?

Maybe you’re thinking, “Not everyone is getting fined. Some people are getting away with it and all those fake and incentivized reviews are helping their businesses in search.”

You’re right. There’s Sunday Riley, and the boatloads of businesses racking up fake and incentivized reviews on Google and Amazon without punishment, but the point is: it’s not worth the risk.

What should we do instead? Here are some tips to help you rake in the positive reviews without being penalized:

  1. Ask at the right time. Did your customer just finish telling you how over the moon they are with your service? Now’s the time to ask for a review! Don’t wait until the thrill is gone or too much time has passed. Word of warning: Yelp is so serious(ly weird) about this that they don’t want you even asking for reviews. We won’t try to understand their logic – we’ll just say, leave Yelp out of the conversation when asking for reviews, and stick with Google, Facebook, or another platform.
  2. Make it easy. If your customer gets frustrated during the review process, they’re likely to bail. So make it easy. Whether that means including links to multiple review sites in your email signature, leaving behind a card with instructions on how to leave a review, or using some other method. Don’t corner them, just let them know that you’d appreciate a review on whatever platform they’re most familiar and comfortable with. It’s better to have reviews on multiple platforms anyway, and if it’s easy for the customer, they’re much more likely to follow through.
  3. Make your customer feel important. Everyone likes to feel important, so make your customers feel important during your “ask.” Let them know just how much you value their feedback and how important it is to you as a company. Not only that, but let them know that their feedback/review helps other people in their community decide who to do business with. The more you emphasize their role, the more inclined they’ll be to “make a difference” by leaving a review.
  4. Provide an amazing experience. In the struggle to get more reviews, many business owners forget what’s really important: your service! If you’re providing a customer experience that goes above and beyond, your customers will want to share, be it in social settings, on Facebook, or on a review platform like Yelp or Google. Anytime you can “wow” your customer, you should – more reviews will naturally come from excellent service.
  5. Get some help. There are great tools out there like GatherUp that make it easier to get reviews and keep the valuable feedback for your company coming. If you’re struggling to get reviews and want a little help, check it out.

If you do have a review method in place, be sure that you’re playing by the rules and keep at it! It may take some time, but play fair, stay focused on providing the best customer experience, and remember: Ask, and you shall receive.

Is Your Company Forgetting The Important Stuff?

Is Your Company Forgetting The Important Stuff?

So you’re waiting for that big business boom to send profits through the roof so you can start living the good life. Well, no matter what you’re doing marketing wise and SEO wise, if you’ve forgotten about customer service, you can kiss the good life goodbye, because that big boom is never going to come.

Think about it: you could have the best industry experts at your disposal, the best logo, the best website, and the best coupons and offers, but if you treat your customers poorly, what do they care about any of the rest of that stuff? The truth is: they don’t.

Here’s the one thing that can’t be ignored or denied: good customer service is key to customer loyalty and satisfaction. Whatever your industry or location, you client has more choices when it comes to deciding who to do business with than ever before. Why would they choose you if you offer a train-wreck experience?

Wait, it’s the 21st Century and We Have the Internet. Is Customer Service Still Important?

We’d argue that it’s more important than ever for that very reason.

As many as 90% of people claim to use the Internet to research local businesses and determine who to hire or purchase from. And they aren’t just reading your website – they’re reading what others are saying about you. Depending on your level of customer service and the overall experience you offer, this can be a good thing or a bad thing.

When your customers have a great or horrid experience with you, guess what they’re going to do because it’s the 21st Century and we have the Internet? They’re going to Tweet about it, Yelp about it, update their Facebook status about it, or leave you a Google review. And you can bet that they’ll have a greater reach than you do.

If you really want to see your business thrive and boost profits, it’s time to take a good hard look at the customer experience you’re providing.

According to Bain & Company, the way that you treat your customers is even more important than the product or service you are providing them with:

A customer is 4 times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related than price- or product-related. [Source: www.beyondphilosophy.com]

That’s right: customer service is even more important than the price and the product. Your customers are valuable, but when they receive bad customer service, they certainly don’t feel that way. And if they feel under-appreciated and like you don’t care about their satisfaction, they WILL take their business to someone who does care. But not before letting everyone else know about their experience.

What’s Good Customer Service Look Like?

People try to complicate things, but good customer service is as simple as following the golden rule – treat others the way you’d like to be treated. Make sure that each and every one of your customers knows just how much you value them, because without them, you have no business. In other words, Mom was right – it does pay to be nice. Here are some more tips to help you meet client expectations and gain more and more happy, loyal customers:

#1 Provide quick and helpful service

Even the most patient among us wants access to help when we need it. Now obviously you may not have the funds or the staff to provide 24 hour support, but the quicker you can respond to customer inquiries, the less likely that customer is to go to another company that offers the same product or services.

We’ve seen customers rant on Yelp and other review sites and give businesses a 1-star rating, without ever actually doing business with them. Why? Because they contacted customer service, fell through the cracks, and felt like they were ignored. Whether it was intentional or not, that’s business lost, and others will read that review or at least see the effect of it on the overall business rating.

Now, speed shouldn’t be a trade-off for usefulness. If you can’t provide effective and helpful support right away, wait until you can! You can always send an email letting the customer know that you’re working to quickly get the information needed to support them and that you will be contacting them shortly with a solution.

#2 Be where your customers are 

We all have different lives, different schedules, and different preferences for receiving help. Why only offer your customers one way?

Do you know how your customers prefer to be helped? By offering several methods for a limited time, you should be able to gather some data showing what your typical customer prefers, by documenting how many choose one method over another.

You may not need to invest in a TikTok or start a company forum; studies show that the majority of customers still prefer a phone number to call, an email address to contact customer service, or a live chat. So do some experimenting and see what resonates with your customers.

#3 Listen to you customers

We know it’s not an innovative or original idea, but have you tried listening to your customers? Not all ideas or suggestions that come from customers will be beneficial or even practical, but you can learn a lot about what your company or brand is missing or could improve upon by listening to your customers.

Sometimes you can be too close to the brand, or too stuck in the business-running side of things to see what may be obvious to customers and potential customers. Listen and observe your customers and you could learn a lot about what people want and how to best deliver it to them.

Don’t Forget To Ask Your Customers for Reviews & Referrals

Now that you’re ready to knock customer service out of the park, how can you make sure you’re getting great reviews and referrals that reflect the amazing customer service experience you provide?


People everywhere want to feel like they are contributing to something bigger and like they are part of a group. Asking for referrals helps meet that need and helps boost your business simultaneously. But don’t assume that satisfied customers will go out and refer on their own. Unsatisfied customers are much more likely to share their experience on their own initiative. The customers that had a great experience with you might need a little push.

Word of mouth is still the best way to build business, and if you ask a happy customer to refer your business, you make them feel important and valuable to the business. It’s a win-win. Not only will this help build loyalty with that specific customer, but you’ll also end up with more loyal customers as a result of the referral. It’s contagious.

Studies also show that referred customers are 18% more loyal than customers gained through another method, and they tend to purchase more over time. So make “the ask” for referrals a normal part of your customer service experience.

Of course, we can’t forget about the ultimate referrals: online reviews. Reviews hold a lot of weight, both in terms of search rankings and customer decisions. In fact, 89% of 35-54-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal referrals.

So what’s that mean for you? It means you should definitely work on getting more reviews for your business.

The secret to more reviews is the same as the secret to more referrals: You’ve got to ask. 76% of people who are asked will leave a review.

Of course, if you’re struggling with getting reviews, there are things that can help. For example, you could reduce the amount of time between the service and the call to action, and consider a way to make it easy for your customer.

Some business owners find success through platforms like GatherUp, or by leaving behind cards and including links to their GBP listing and other review sites in their email signatures. See what works best with your customers.

And while you’re at it, why not ask your satisfied customers for testimonials that you can put on your website and social media pages? When you put testimonials and reviews directly on your website, you don’t have to worry about platforms like Google or Yelp deciding which reviews to filter and which ones to show. Your customers will see them all.

What Should You Do if You Get a Negative Review?

According to the latest BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey, 91% of customers say positive reviews make them more likely to use a business, while 82% say negative reviews make them less likely to use a business. So if your customers are saying good things about you, then you’re golden; if they’re leaving negative reviews, you need to make it right.

But it’s not necessarily the negative review that could hurt business – it’s how you respond to it. The worst thing you can do is ignore a negative review or simply move on.

In the words of Scott Stratten, best-selling author and president of UnMarketing,

“It’s not usually one thing that makes you leave a company; it’s a combination of issues and no resolution, or no satisfactory resolution to those issues.” [Source: “Unselling” Brainfluence Podcast With Roger Dooley]

Remember, you want every customer to feel like they matter, because they do! Ignoring a negative review and leaving your customer with their frustration is not how you show someone they matter.

The best thing to do when one of your customers feels they have received bad customer service is to address it quickly and calmly, and try to make it up to them. The good news is that 70% of customers will do business with you again if you make it up to them.

How do you do that?

If your customer complained online by leaving a negative review or comment on your Yelp, Google, or Facebook page, it’s important that you address it online so that other customers or potential customers can see that you care enough to try and make it right. Do NOT ignore the negative review and simply hope it will go away. Instead, express your apologies for the negative experience, emphasize that it is not a standard experience for your customer, and ask them to contact you directly so that you can make it right.

In other words, let them (and everyone reading the review going forward) know that their satisfaction matters and that your goal is to provide excellent customer service each and every time.

One thing you’ll certainly want to avoid is a back-and-forth online. Never argue or get defensive. This will not only upset the customer further, but it will make you look childish and unprofessional to anyone considering doing business with you.

Taylor Hill, one of the founders here at Spark Marketer regularly reminds business owners, “Do you want to be right or do you want to win?” If you’d rather be right, be prepared to lose customers.

Don’t Ignore the Things That Matter Most: Get Customer Service Right

So, how does your business stack up in terms of customer service? Whether you’re feeling pretty proud or pretty defensive right now, it’s a good idea to periodically stop and give this area of your business a good look.

Quality customer service is something that requires daily effort and practice, but just like you condition your body, you can condition your business to intrinsically provide top-notch customer care. So take the time to motivate and train your employees, and always be looking for ways to make the customer experience a good one.


Why and How Reviews Impact Your Business & What You Can Do About It

Why and How Reviews Impact Your Business & What You Can Do About It

While many companies continue to shout rank and position from the rooftops, statistics are proving that you have to have more than this to garner sales and success from your online marketing efforts. In fact, it takes a concert of activities to really get things moving and keep them rocking along when marketing online. No matter where you show up on the page, one of the main action items that keeps you in the mix is getting good reviews.

Why Do Reviews Matter?

We have been preaching for several years to not rely on things you cannot control, and your rank and position is one of those things. Even if you have been #1 for the last several years, no one knows if or when Google or Bing will make a change that will impact where you currently are. Just ask around and you will easily find someone that has lost potential customers from living at the whim of a search engine algorithm.

Would it not be better to make such a good name for yourself in your area that people start searching for you by name? To provide such excellent service that even if a searcher has never heard of your company, the reviews that pop up next to your name quickly convince them you’re the company they should go with?

82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in order to make a decision about a product or service. The average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business. And only 53% of people would consider using a business with less than 4 stars. So if you don’t have any reviews, you don’t have many reviews, or you don’t have very good reviews, you’re missing out on a lot of potential business.

As business owners, we must recognize that consumers are growing smarter as they search for information that makes them feel good about making a decision. They know that website rank and position can be manipulated or bought with ads, and they understand that many good and bad companies have good-looking websites. It’s the reviews that separate these companies.

One business owner we work with has so many great reviews on Google and Angie’s List, as well as in a lot of other places, that when he got knocked back to the third page of Google search results, it did not impact his business. People still found him because he has great reviews in all the right places.

Side note: Yes, Google, Amazon, and others have a ‘fake review’ problem, but 76% of people still trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends, so don’t give up on reviews and their importance.

Do People Really Trust Reviews?

Consumers are looking for quality businesses to hire and to make purchases from, and they are looking for those companies online. 88.47% are searching in Google, and Google surfaces a variety of results. Customers may or may not make it your website, but if they’re considering your business, they’re definitely looking at your Google Business Profile (GBP), which has reviews on it. What are your reviews saying about you?

If you have been in business for long, you understand the power of a friend and family referral. With the majority of people (89% of 35-54-year-olds) trusting reviews as much as a personal referral, you must get into the practice of getting good reviews for your business day in and day out.

When Can You Stop Focusing On Reviews?

We have clients who have well over a hundred great reviews, and we encourage them to continue asking for the reviews during their workdays. Getting current reviews is always important for both the consumer (who wants to make sure you are still doing good work), as well as the search engines (because they love to put out current information). On the customer front, 48% of customers say an online review needs to be written within the last 2 weeks to impact their decision. 30% say within the last month.

So the answer is: you can pretty much never stop focusing on reviews.

The one caveat I will say when it comes to reviews is this: if you don’t do good business and you consistently get negative reviews, then you will kill your business over time, no matter where you are on the first page of Google or how many reviews you have. This is why having your business in order, with good systems and practices, are paramount before actively seeking online reviews. Let’s talk more about that…

Customer Service Matters

I am amazed how many businesses believe the review process starts once the service or product has been delivered. The fact is, the review process starts with the first contact a business has with the client or customer. Overwhelmingly, the number one area upon which all businesses will be reviewed is customer service. In today’s business climate, no matter what you sell or the service you provide, customer service matters.

You only have ONE chance to make a first impression. Whether you like it or not, the very first impression you make stays with people throughout the service or product experience. That means choosing who to have as your front line sales is a very important decision. They need to be able to understand, communicate, empathize, and work well with people! They start the relationship and the review cycle starts as well.

We’re not talking about providing Instagrammable selfie-walls and experiences, we’re talking about just treating your customers right. Being helpful, courteous, respectful, punctual…all those things you were taught to be as a kid. The best businesses take great care of their customers by providing exceptional customer service. But with a lot of companies treating their customers like United passengers these days, it doesn’t take much to wow a customer. Just be decent and good reviews should never be a problem for you.

How Do You Get Reviews?

Aside from knocking it out of the park in the service department, how can you make sure reviews keep coming in for your business? For service companies, one relatively effective way to consistently get reviews is to leave behind a card with all the information the client needs to review the service. The technician needs to be coached to hand that card out once the service has been completed and say, “Please review our service. It’s the best way for us to make sure our quality was what you expected.”

Of course there are also other great options for getting reviews:

  • Including the ask and a link in your email signature when sending invoices or other correspondence to customers
  • Investing in a review management tool like GatherUp
  • Asking customers for reviews during follow-up customer satisfaction phone calls

No matter what, you have to ask. 51% of people who are asked to leave a review for a business will.

Pro tip: It can also be helpful to have your front line person set the expectation that you will be asking for a review. Even something as simple as, “We will ask you for a review at the end of our service,” gets the customer thinking about reviews and the details they might want to include.

How Should You Respond To A Negative Review?

Okay, but what do you do when the inevitable happens: you get a negative review?

One of the things I see most often publicized is negative/fake review responses from business owners that are knee jerk and not well thought out. Jimmy Fallon and Aziz Ansari even did multiple dramatic readings of some serious shockers. You definitely don’t want your business highlighted for a heat-of-the-moment, totally inappropriate review response. This is why we coach business owners to wait 24 hours before they respond to anything negative. You have to get over the pure human response of being hurt, found out (yes, sometimes you screw up) or exposed. This gives you time to gain some perspective.

Then, let them have it on paper. That’s right. Write down exactly what you would like to say to this person. This is like free therapy, so get it all out. Then take a minute to read it, take it in, and tear it up or erase it (if you do it on the computer).

Note: Do not do this on Facebook or any other place where you can “accidentally” send it or someone else could read it. Nothing good can come from this being available to the public.

Now, sit down and again, on paper, write out a well-crafted response, taking responsibility if needed for the situation, and outlining what you propose to do about it. If you have a business coach or someone in your marketing department, run your response through them as another filter. (Psst. We help our clients with review responses all the time). Put something together that answers the complaint and lets the unsatisfied customer know you care about what has happened.

While you want to make good with the customer, what you really want to do is show your potential customers who are viewing this bad review that you care enough to get back with your customers. You can only help people who give you the chance to make it right, and some customers simply won’t give you the chance. But demonstrating that you care and want to turn around an unsatisfied customer speaks loudly about what kind of company you are. People will notice this as much as the bad review itself.

Here are 5 tips on what not to say when responding to a negative review.

Now keep those killer reviews coming by delivering the best possible service, each and every time! And remember, if you ever need help with review monitoring or acquisition, just give us a holler.