We all recognize the importance of positive reviews. But from a sales and marketing perspective, more credible reviews on key review websites can be your most important online platforms you use to build credibility, trust and create differentiation from competitors.
So, it is not surprising to hear practice owners ask me why more of their happy clients/patients don’t leave positive reviews on Google+ or Yelp? And, what can they do to get more of them to post reviews.
Let me start with 10 reasons why so many customers don’t leave reviews.
- In some cases, customers may be just too busy and feel they don’t have the time, or ability to go out of their way to post a review.
- Depending on the demographic, economic and lifestyle of your customer base, some practices work with clients whose age, social circles, ethnicity and other influences make it more difficult to secure more positive reviews.
- Some businesses or services are simply not as easy to review as others. Many customers may want to be more discreet when they used your services. For example, some mature women may not want to publicly proclaim they just got a facelift; or people may not share that they needed a lawyer. Some industries are just not as reviewable as consumer products, retail stores, or restaurants, where customers are all-to-eager to go out of their way to share their experience.
- Keep in mind; we are in an increasingly transactional and high-consumption society where customers feel they have already paid good money for your “higher quality” service. They may not feel indebted to you or that they owe you anything more.
- Your service or results may be satisfactory or even good, but it just didn’t “WOW” them. In some instances, clients may be satisfied enough to come back and even privately refer your practice, but not overwhelmed enough to publicly stake their reputation on your behalf.
- Many consumers operate in a herd mentality. If your practice does not have a number of existing reviews already, some customers may feel uncomfortable stepping into the limelight to express their opinion, or risk being proved wrong later. In some cases, it may be harder to start getting reviews, but the process gets easier and more effective as you gather more reviews.
- In some cases, like Yelp, your customer may have posted a review, but because it may be their first time or they review infrequently, their post may be suppressed or filtered.
- Amazingly, many practices still feel they are “above” asking customers to share their experience in the form of reviews, or do not have established processes, systems or protocols to consistently get the request out in a timely fashion.
- Some practices still rely exclusively on handing out printed cards to customers with instructions on how to post a review. In many cases these cards never make it to customer’s computer or are too inconvenient for them to initiate the process.
- However, the most common and important reason customers don’t post a positive review is that you, the practice, and/or your team have a weak personal connection with your clients. People only go out of their way to help people that they truly like and want them to succeed. An email alone probably won’t be enough to induce customers who have little or no personal rapport with you or your people into sharing an online review.
6 Tips To Get More Positive Reviews
Now that you know a number of reasons why happy customers may not post positive reviews for your practice, don’t simply accept it and give up. What can you do to reduce or eliminate these barriers?
Here are 6 tips that can make a major difference growing your online reputation and reviews.
Tip #1 - The most important outgrowth of reviews is that it forces businesses to get better at not only meeting, but exceeding customers’ expectations. Your practice needs to find ways to continually step it up and find ways to WOW and awe customers. Creativity, sincerity, consistency and results go a long way in stimulating more positive reviews.
Tip #2 – Develop communication and rapport-building strategies where your practice builds a more personal relationship with your clients. How you greet and communicate with them, personalize your information, present collateral materials, send greeting cards and thank you notes can all enhance your personal connection with your customers and get them to take an ownership interest in your success.
Tip #3 – The biggest missed opportunity I see is when a practice gets a positive review and lets it go publicly unnoticed. Rather than simply read them and feel good about yourself, engage with them; don’t ignore them! By publicly acknowledging that you noticed and appreciate their efforts and thoughtfulness, it let’s other potential reviewers know you will see their review if they post one. Missing out on the impact of engaging with positive reviews certainly outweighs the value of struggling with the rare or occasional negative review.
Tip #4 – Develop protocols in your practice regarding: 1) when to ask every customer with a personal request, 2) how to ask and 3) when to follow up with an email or a SMS to enhance your social bond and make it convenient for them. In this later stage, it may make sense to leverage a review marketing platform to ensure consistency.
Tip #5 – Don’t overlook other people beyond happy clients that are in your corner who would be happy to post positive reviews. This could include friends of the practice, vendors, and other professional referral sources who have had positive engagement with your business. All of them would like to help you; simply ask them.
Tip #6 - Be patiently persistent. Sometimes you need to ask more than once in order to get them to take action. Don’t be afraid to ask as they may just have forgotten or got busy. And don’t get drug down by the one, two or three that don’t leave a review. As we shared earlier, there are a number of reasons they may not do it.
Again, take the time to find ways to improve your relationship with your customers, vendors and referral sources and be sure to consistently conduct outreach to invite them. In most cases, they want to contribute to the success of your business. Let them; acknowledge them when they do; and your will see your relationships and online business grow.