For many businesses, it’s uncomfortable to ask customers for feedback. In the age of online media, however, reviews are essential. Search engines such as Google reward sites with a prominent place in search results if they have star ratings and guest comments. Your potential customers also scan these reviews, looking for hints about what to expect from your business.
In order to make your mark, it’s not enough to have a website; you need to ask customers to share their experiences with others. Encourage staff to make asking for online feedback part of the sales process. It lets customers know they are valued and helps sales agents make a personal connection with clientele.
Why “The Ask” Should Be Part of the Sales Process
The best time to ask for a review is when the customer knows you. Timing the request is a bit of an art: If you are still selling, the ask presumes a satisfied customer. If the transaction is long over, the client may not clearly remember what made them happy. Soon after the sales process ends, it’s entirely appropriate to ask clients to share their experiences online.
It’s important not to ask for positive reviews. Telling clients to share their experiences is more effective, as it lets them know you trust their opinion. Some review sites also bar any kind of inducement to get favorable reviews, as in the ideal scenario every review is based on an opinion free of influence.
Online Reviews Help With Social Media
Sites such as Facebook have review functions built-in. As your reputation grows, customers will leave feedback on your social media pages. The positive commentary will encourage more people to follow your business and share your unique offerings with their online friends.
Greater interaction over social media is one way to increase your business ranking on Google. Local SEO, the process of optimizing your online presence in order to appear in local search results, involves a series of techniques that help your online properties to work together. Encouraging and responding to online reviews and having an active social media presence, in addition to keeping your website up-to-date and filled with relevant content, helps to boost your rank on search engine results.
Why People Rely on Reviews
Online reviews are a form of social proof, a psychological phenomenon where people look to the actions of other people to decide what’s right. In other words, if your business has 500 reviews and a high average rating, a new customer will think it’s right to choose your company over a competitor.
In order to get started with the review solicitation process, become familiar with the different ways your customers can give you online feedback. You may be surprised to discover you’re already ranked based on your mere presence on Google. As you begin to think of reviews as an extension of your sales process, you will be better able to serve your customers and grow from the strength of their feedback.