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September 4, 2018

3 Steps for Improving Your Online Reviews

With the ability to search any company within seconds, online reviews can make or break your business. Your website can have fantastic SEO, an engaging and exciting blog, and a great social media presence behind it, but just a few bad online reviews have the potential to make your sales dwindle. 

Getting a series of bad reviews can feel like a hole that’s impossible to climb out of – but there’s no need to panic. All it takes is a few key steps.

Ask your customers to review you

Customers who have had a terrible experience are often desperate to leave a negative review. They want others to know about their bad experience and to stop other customers from making the same mistake. 

Customers who have a good experience, on the other hand, are far less likely to give positive reviews. This is because the general view is that good customer service and a good product should be expected – and a brand will have to really excel to get a good review. 

So, the best option is to ask your customers to give you a review, especially if you know they have had a good experience. A lot of them just need a gentle nudge in the right direction, and asking for their feedback will help you to connect with them on a greater level, as well as boosting your online reviews. 

Respond to complaints quickly and politely

When it comes to business, things go wrong. Whether it’s a disgruntled customer, a faulty product or a staff member having a bad day, somedays disaster seems to strike – and you may end up with a few complaints. 

Take solace in the fact that this happens to every brand, even the multi-million dollar ones! And complaints can be a good thing! They will help you see where you are going wrong and encourage you to take positive steps to improve your business. 

How you handle these complaints is what matters the most. Whether they are online or in person, responding to complaints quickly and politely is essential – and making steps to right whatever has gone wrong for the customer may even turn a negative review into a positive one.

Provide an Incentive

Everyone loves a freebie, and while we’re not suggesting this should be your first port of call – providing an incentive to your loyal customers if they leave you a review is a good way to ensure they get something positive from the experience too. 

You don’t need to give out thousands of free products, but sending an email suggesting that if they leave a review online to receive a 10% discount code or something along these lines, is a great way to get those reviews coming in – more so than if you ask them. 

The jury is out on whether providing an incentive is a good method. Some websites don’t allow it at all (for instance, you should never, ever buy Yelp reviews). However, follow the guidelines and be transparent with your efforts, and you may find providing an incentive gives you that little boost. 

Follow these tips and you should be on your way to a stellar online profile, which will mean more customers — and more opportunities for reviews (which will in turn lead to more customers)!  This virtuous cycle is what the best businesses do, and it’s not hard to get on the right track.


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Jaren Nichols is Chief Operating Officer at ZipBooks, online accounting software for small businesses. Jaren was previously a Product Manager at Google and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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