Getting Google reviews is one of the leading marketing strategies businesses should be focusing on today. With more customers looking up to online reviews before purchasing, you should equip your business with practical methods and tools to leverage this powerful social proof.
The Value of Online Reviews
What would you first do when you’re going to have dinner in a restaurant that you’ve never visited?
Typically, you’re going to pull up your mobile phone and look at their customer reviews. If you see the restaurant has many positive reviews with a 4 to 5-Star rating, your confidence grows. You become more assured with the thoughtful responses of the reviews. And, you’d immediately take further actions such as clicking the call button to make a reservation or requesting directions to visit the restaurant.
It has become a habit to read online reviews before buying products or using services in our daily lives. 95% of customers say that online reviews influence their buying decisions. And, 92% of customers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family. Therefore, as small business owners, you need to adapt to these changing customer behaviors. It would be best to evolve and leverage online reviews in your marketing strategy to win customers’ trust in local searches.
“95% of customers say that online reviews influence their buying decisions.”
Manage Your Online Reputation
Reviews are “consumer-generated content.” People prefer to hear the opinions of other customers over what the company has to say about themselves before dealing with a business. Online reviews are the most authentic representation of a business today. They, therefore, are the backbone of the sales you generate online.
There are a dozen online review sites you can claim or add your business. It ranges from general review sites such as Google My Business, Facebook, YellowPages, Better Business Bureau, and Yelp to industry-specific sites like HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List.
We all know that every marketing goal is to get higher visibility and be found by as many consumers as possible. However, it’s essential to put your marketing endeavors on the review sites that matter most to your business.
Let’s say that 20 happy customers write reviews about your business in a given month. Would you rather have those reviews scattered on each of a dozen sites? Or, would you rather have 9 or 10 reviews posted on the most popular sites where most people would see them? You surely want them to be concentrated on the popular sites.
Why Google Reviews Matter
When deciding which review site is the most important to your business, start with consumers’ most familiar one. It’s because 66% of consumers wouldn’t trust review sites they’re unfamiliar with. That’s why your review capture efforts would be less effective if the reviews were placed and seen on less popular or unknown sites.
So what is the most popular review site today? It’s undoubtedly Google. The search engine accounts for about 5.6 billion searches a day, and it holds 92% of the total search engine market share. As a result, most consumers are most likely to look at Google My Business for local business reviews. People read those reviews and form an opinion of your business. That’s one of the reasons you need to take Google reviews seriously.
Google’s Local 3-Pack Reviews
The Google Local 3-Pack is where most people are searching for the best local business. Therefore, you want your business to rank higher in the local pack along with your overall star rating. Here’s an example of the local 3-pack on Google Search results:
Besides your star rating, other review factors help your business’s local search ranking. Factors such as how many reviews you have (quantity), and when your most recent review was (recency) play a significant role in local SEO. They’re also determinant factors whether or not a customer will choose your business.
A lack of reviews can be as damaging as below-average reviews. It all comes down to trustworthiness. Many positive reviews build trust with consumers before they’ve ever used your services. Lots of reviews will also help your business do better from an SEO standpoint as well.
Google Guaranteed Reviews
Besides Google’s Local Pack, you want your reviews to be in the Google Guaranteed spot. However, it’s not free like a Google My Business (GMB) page. Getting in is free, but you have to pay $25 per qualified call – which isn’t terrible in a world of lead generation but can add up. You’ll also need a business background check and will have to submit some paperwork to ensure you are a real business.
Once you’re in, the only thing left to do is get consistent reviews. Getting frequent reviews helps you in your Google Guaranteed rankings. It is the only real differentiator when it comes down to you and your competitors.
This guide will go over everything a business owner should know about Google reviews to be successful. Then, we’ll discuss the best practices for any business to get reviews from happy customers.
Asking for Google Reviews
Did you know that 80% of customers say they’re willing to leave reviews when asked?
There are several reasons behind their willingness to leave businesses feedback. For instance, they want to help other customers make an informed buying decision, share an experience in their buying journey, and reward a business for good service.
When you’re asking for the review, let your customers know how much you’d appreciate it and how it would support your business. Customers understand why you’re asking for the reviews considering most of them also read reviews before doing business with you.
We have clients who say their customers often respond to their review request saying, “Of course that makes sense! I chose you specifically because of your reviews!”. How you ask the customer to leave a review will go a long way, and sticking to a method and script will make it more natural. Here are 5 ways to ask for Google Reviews:
Qualify Your Customers
As business owners, some of you might think you can’t control your online reputation. Indeed, you can’t control people leaving you with negative reviews. But, you can qualify your happy customers and influence them to leave reviews where you want them to be.
That’s why when you’re about to ask for reviews, the first thing to keep in mind is to qualify your customers. In other words, you only ask your happy customers to leave reviews. As we said, you can’t control unhappy customers leaving you negative reviews online. We know that your business can’t make everybody happy in every situation. But, you do know who will leave you positive reviews and showcase those reviews in public.
“80% of customers say they’re willing to leave reviews when asked.”
There are a few methods to ask for reviews, such as email blasts, social media, website review pages, texting, or receipts/ invoices. However, there’s no better way than to do it in person. That’s why the most suitable employees to ask for reviews in your company are the ones that are on the frontlines who build the deepest relationship with the customers. Your business could get a 25-50% success rate in getting reviews with this personal approach.
Let’s say you have a pest control company. Your technician might spend an hour or two helping a customer preventing and exterminating pests in their home. Your technician and the customer get to know each other and make a connection during that time. So there’s no person within your company better suited to ask for a review than this technician.
Moreover, you employees can mention their name when asking for reviews and tell the customers that the recognition is essential for them to get a bonus from the company. We’ve found that this strategy could raise the number of reviews coming in. The customers care more about the person who did the service than the company. So they want to appreciate your employees by leaving them reviews, especially if they’re happy with the service.
Review Request via Texting
By now, you understand that Google reviews matter and the best method to ask for Google reviews is in person. But what is the best medium to capture reviews and directly be displayed on Google? Yes, it is through texting/SMS from your mobile phone.
Did you know that 56% of all online reviews are posted from mobile devices? The open rate of text messages (98%) is also much higher than email, which typically has a 20% open rate. People are more convenient writing reviews straight from their phones, and most have access to Google.
Timing is everything when asking for a review. You want to ask after the customer is 100% satisfied with your work. A good practice is to open up your review request by announcing that you’re finished and asking if there is anything else you can do.
If the customer says no and thank you, you could ask for a review. If they’re still uncertain about something, address their problem before asking for a review. The best time to ask is when they’re out of the concern and completely satisfied with your product or service.
Here’s a script that almost any industry can use to get more Google reviews:
Employee: “All right, we’re all done here. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
Customer: “No, that is all, thank you so much.”
Employee: “Great! Hey, if you wouldn’t mind taking a minute to leave me a review on Google? I’d appreciate it. It’ll help the business out a lot, and if you mention my name, it will look great for me to my boss.”
The typical response to this from a happy customer is something on the lines of: “Absolutely! How and where should I do it?”
What Not to Do When Asking for A Review
While building a review culture among your employees is important, you want to ensure that they know what to do and how to ask for reviews appropriately.
First, let’s quickly illustrate a poor example of a review request to avoid. It’s kind of hard to mess this up, because you already should know that most people are likely to want to leave you a review if you did a good job. If you don’t know that, however, it may come out wrong.
A Bad Example of How to Ask for A Review
Employee: “Hi Mrs. Turner, I’m all done. Can you please leave me a review online?”
Mrs. Turner: “Um, yeah, ok. Everything is all set. I don’t need to do anything?”
Employee: “Thank You! Yeah, I did everything. Just call the company if you see any problems and need me to come back.”
For starters, this is a poor way to end any service. But let’s go over why this approach is terrible in the case that the employee wants a review:
- Didn’t ask if she was happy with the service
- Didn’t suggest where to leave the review
- Didn’t give her a path to get to the review page
- Didn’t go over why he actually wanted a review.
Now, this type of review request is clearly poor, so let’s look into the components of the best ways to ask for a review.
Things to Remember When Asking Customers to Write A Review
Explain how much time it will take them
For 2 Step Reviews, we always emphasize saying, “Would you mind taking 30 seconds of your time to leave us a review?” Most genuine people will agree to have 30 seconds to spare, and that’s really how long it takes.
Make sure they are satisfied and they have no concerns
Saying something like “I’m glad I was able to help, I hope you’re happy with everything, do you have any other questions or concerns?” and following their “No, thank you so much!” You can say: “You’re welcome! If you wouldn’t mind taking 30 quick seconds, I can text you a link to leave me a review. It would be great for the business.”
Give assurance that this is only for a review and nothing else
People sometimes don’t want to give out their information because they don’t want to be on your “email list” or something like that. So you can add to your invitation, “You’re welcome! If you wouldn’t mind taking 30 quick seconds, I can text you a link where you can leave me a review. It would be great for the business. You won’t be added to any subscription list, this is just to send the review link.”
If they say they will do it, the most obvious thing is to be thankful. “Thank you so much, it means a lot! Have a wonderful rest of your day.” It will go a long way and is the right thing to do if they leave you a review.
Credit for reviews
If you’re rewarding employees for reviews and are tracking them manually, you’ll need the customer to mention their name. This throws a bit of a curveball into asking a customer to leave a review and is one of the obstacles 2 Step Reviews solves with our tracking and leaderboard.