5 Ways to Get Clients to Post Glowing Online Reviews

How does your business look online? You’re taking a big risk with your reputation if you haven’t been keeping track. With the growing popularity of sites like Yelp and Angie’s List, consumers are going online to get the personal recommendations that sell them on contracting services.

Unfortunately, for the 88 percent of people that consider these reviews more trustworthy than their friends and neighbors, very few report back once they’re satisfied. Therefore, your chances of getting a bad review are much higher; meaning the smallest misunderstanding with a client could make a real difference to your business.

Change your luck by following these five (5) tips for soliciting reviews that will boost your business:

1. Follow up with reviews posted about your business.

Even if customers say something negative, be sure to thank them for the feedback. Invite them to contact you directly so you can look into the problem and find a solution as quickly as possible. This shows you’re trustworthy but also helps fight the impact of negative reviews. There are many fake complaints posted online, and your willingness to address their concerns will make you seem more professional.

Respond to positive reviews with a thank you and a request to contact you with any future needs clients may have. This helps solidify your relationship with a current customer. It also shows other people that you value your clients enough to keep in contact.

2. Request reviews without asking outright.

Some of the most popular review sites don’t allow businesses to solicit feedback. If you’re suspected of buying reviews, your listing could be removed entirely. You want to be at the top of the list for contractors in your area, so it’s important to follow their terms — but how do you get good reviews if you can’t request them? Make your customers think it was their own idea.

Send a final invoice with a testimonial from Yelp printed on the bottom. Better yet, send it by email and insert the link. Invite them to say what other people in your community are saying about your business. It will help inspire them to share their own opinions. For sites like Google+ and Facebook, it’s acceptable to ask satisfied customers to leave you feedback.

3. Use your experience to time your requests.

When do your clients seem most satisfied with your work? Is it after the completion of the job or right after construction begins? Encourage people to post their opinions at these times when they’re most excited about your work. Likewise, this is an excellent time to request testimonials to use on your website or on promotional materials. You can make these requests or encouragements in person, or you can send them by text, email or mail. Keep things casual or send a feedback form, but in every case, be sure to ask your clients permission to use their words.

4. Focus on open-ended questions to get the best results.

Yes or no questions often receive one-word responses, but you want testimonials to be as rich and detailed as possible. Encourage those types of answers by seeking someone’s detailed opinion. “Why” is a wonderful way to start these questions, because it opens up the conversation with your clients. “Would you share,” is also effective, because it asks for some explanation.

Good questions to ask when seeking feedback might be, “Would you share your house building experience with our readers on Google+?” Follow that with a link to your profile page, and you’ll likely receive a meaty review filled with the details that matter to potential clients.

5. Maximize review impact with help from social sites.

When you receive a positive review online, be sure to share it on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Tag your client if possible, and thank them again. Use one or two hashtags that are relevant to your services and another to your area to make them as search-friendly as possible.

Today’s consumers rely on word-of-mouth advertising even more than they did in the past, but the way it’s delivered has changed significantly. They’re no longer asking their neighbors for advice — they’re now perusing online reviews and searching their social networks for referrals.

Make sure you’re building the right reputation for your business. Follow these tips for improving your online reviews, and create a trustworthy and talented brand.