Yelp, Trip Advisor, Glassdoor, Amazon and hundreds of other sites invite customer reviews on products, businesses and services. Less than stellar reviews can have a real financial impact on your business. According to Web Republic, products with positive reviews sell 200% more than those with no reviews. So how do you influence your customers to provide feedback when we’re more inclined to complain than praise?

1. Provide a great product or service. Rule #1 is to be good at what you do – give customers great service and value and they’ll happily reward you for it.

2. Ask! How many times have you had a great experience in a hotel and then simply…never mentioned that to anyone. It’s the business’ – business – to engage customers and encourage brand support. Case in point – I recently had a lovely stay at The Venetian in Las Vegas. Would I have run home and written a review if I didn’t get a personalized email from hotel customer service staff reminding me? Probably not. If you’re confident in your service, ask happy customers to tell others about it.

3. Say please and thank you. It’s true that our Mothers knew a thing or two about persuasion…if you ask customers nicely (please) to write a review and then thank them (publicly – in the case of a site like Trip Advisor or Yelp where businesses can comment on reviews) – that’s memorable, and supports your brand attributes.

4. Pick your poison. Every business has those two or three really important review/sales points. Consumer packaged goods? Amazon rules. Local restaurant? Yelp and Trip Advisor. Home improvements? Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau. Engage with those customers and keep the conversation going.

5. Take your lumps. Not every review is going to be good because we’re human – and can’t be perfect. But acknowledge the poor review and try to set it right. Thank customers for sharing their opinions – good and bad – and encourage them to give you another try.

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5 thoughts on “Customer Reviews Can Make or Break You – How to Support Those Elusive 5 Stars

  1. Thanks for the great tips Brianne. I definitely look at Amazon reviews for lots of my purchases. Another important place to try and get reviews is on Google Maps, so your business is pinned on the map.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to write a blog post about this, Brianne.

    When I worked at Lululemon there was a pair of men’s pants that received negative reviews on the Lululemon website. Men would come into the store, try the pants on, mention the negative reviews, and oftentimes leave without purchasing them. If the men did buy the pants, it was because we were able to reassure the customer that the store would take the pants back if there were any abnormalities after wearing them- something that is usually against policy.

    The few negative reviews on the website had enough influence on the customers to keep the pants from selling out, and when we were able to sell them, it was because of our stellar customer service.

    It’s my belief that many businesses struggle due to poor reviews on Yelp, especially smaller restaurants where customer reviews can make or break the business.

  3. I would add that if it is a pervasive service issue – fix it! There will always be one-offs with unhappy customers, but if you see an issue more than once, that needs to be addressed.

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