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How To Get Great Online Reviews For Your Business: Small Business Tips

Updated on September 29, 2014

Many of us know that customer satisfaction is one of the most important keys to successful business. When customer satisfaction used to spread mainly through word of mouth, businesses didn’t need to stress over one disgruntled customer. But in today’s world, one negative review can be a huge setback for a company. This is why sites like Yelp, which allow customers to publicly review your business can be a double edged sword. If you’re not careful, one bad customer experience can mean a lot for your business. On the other hand, great online reviews can create tons of business for you. So how do you get favorable online reviews without being too pushy?

Here are five tips:

1. Look at reviews you already have
The first step to getting good reviews is being a good business. Look at your current reviews. What are customers saying about your business? Even positive reviews might mention some areas for improvement. Address negative reviews too, and maybe even reach out to customers personally to resolve them.

2. Make reviewing easier
You should make sure you’re available for reviews on more sites than one. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Yelp are just some of the places where reviews are valuable.
A customer who doesn’t want to give a review on a specific site is more likely to casually post a positive experience on their regular social network for their friends to see. If your business is already on the site they use, your customer’s friends will be able to easily see your business.

3. Ask customers for honest reviews
You’ve probably seen the businesses with tons of great online reviews. Chances are those reviews took a little bit of encouragement on the business’s side. It’s fine to do this; in fact some businesses find it is the only way to get reviews.
When asking, never ever ask for a good review. Instead, ask for an honest one. If the customer was satisfied, then the review will probably be good anyways. Demanding a positive review is going to look desperate and pushy.

Second, mention online reviews AFTER you have done business with a customer. Asking before or a sale can negatively affect the customer’s experience. But ask promptly, as customers are less likely to follow through if you wait to ask.

4. Actively respond to bad reviews
Negative reviews will always be part of doing business. When they come, don’t sweep them under the rug. Instead, respond to them with a polite comment. Whether or not a customer honestly had a bad experience is up to you - it’s best not to be offended or put-off.
If a customer’s bad review was fair, thank them for their honesty and even personally reach out to address the issue. Maybe offer them something special on their next visit.
But some customers are impossible to please. If the reviewer is one of these, address the complaint politely that will vouch for your business while not insulting the customer.

5. Don’t expect perfect online reviews
The cardinal thing to remember here is that businesses rarely have a flawless review page. As the positive reviews add up, so will complaints (hopefully less-so). The best you can shoot for is to have a strong majority of positive reviews

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