A recent survey stated that 3 out of 5 customers will turn to online reviews for information about a product or service before they make a decision. At the same time, Google’s search algorithm gives greater visibility to social media reviews like those found on Yelp!, so that makes asking for online reviews a part of your customer engagement process more important than ever.

If your business is confident enough in its product that you believe the vast majority of your customers would express satisfaction with your business you should always ask for online reviews. Yet, many business owners feel that asking for online reviews outright is too self-serving.
There is a right way to ask. Done correctly, you’ll not only help build more frequent reviews but the added content will actually enhance the customer experience.

Here’s how:
1. Use a eminder email or other collateral – Even when prompted in person, customers often forget that they were asked to leave an online review. A useful tactic is to remind customers with a follow-up piece, perhaps a postcard or email sent out to the customer after their visit.
2. Explain the “why?” – Customers are more likely to complete an online review if they believe their feedback is going to improve the business overall. Explain why you’re asking for honest feedback. Encourage customers to leave comments that will help both improve the business as well as inform the decisions of potential customers.
3. Use an appropriate incentive – When you do ask for an online review, offer an incentive. This can be in the form of emailing a link to the review in exchange for a discount or an entry to win a free related service.

Together, these three steps can help make the “ask” for online reviews easier and more natural. More importantly, with potential customers turning more frequently to social media for purchase decisions, upping the volume of your online customer reviews can be a very cost-effective way to help grow your business.

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