Asking Customers for Google Reviews Doesn’t Have to Be Awkward
Most companies could use a little love in terms of online reviews. Google reviews in particular are really essential for generating leads and increasing your search engine optimization–and how you approach customers to leave these reviews is equally important.
Before reaching out to anyone and asking for reviews be sure to know the Google Review Guidelines. Google lays out their own rules in a very simple and straight-forward manner so be sure to take the time to read these first. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the laws of the land, check out these best practices for approaching customers and clients for Google reviews.
Who to ask:
A few loyal customers and eventually everyone.
When you’re first starting out, you probably want to reach out to customers that had a favorable experience with your business. This will give you a nice baseline for potential reviewers to see. Often, reviews tend to touch on similar themes because people will see older comments and find sentiments they agree with. So, you ideally want these initial comments to be positive.
Going forward, however, asking customers to consider reviewing you should become something you ask of everyone as a part of your existing followup procedure.
When to ask:
ASAP after working with the customer or having an interaction with them. You want to ask right after the “transaction” otherwise you’re unlikely to get a response.
- Ask people to review your business at your office.
- Create a landing page asking site visitors to review you.
Both of these are big no-nos because Google’s filtering algorithm will mark reviews that come from the same IP address or referrer as spam.
- Offer incentives.
You may be inclined to do this but do not offer anything to clients/customers who review you. This goes against Google’s guidelines and is generally a practice you should stay away from whether you are asking for Google, Yelp or any other kind of review.
- Tell customers what to say.
Think of this like leading the witness in a courtroom, it’s a bad practice that could cause customers to think of you in a negative light—the opposite of what you want to happen when you’re asking for a review of your business.
- Ignore bad reviews.
Bad reviews happen to the best of us. Sometimes they are legitimate and other times they could come from people confusing your business for another or from a salty ex–it happens. However it got there, you want to respond to these reviews and encourage the disgruntled reviewer to contact you. This shows you are actively monitoring reviews and care about what they say about your work.
- Ask politely.
Remember you’re asking someone to take time out of their day to do something that doesn’t help them out at all. So ask as nicely as possible.
- Provide information on how to leave reviews.
In order to leave a review, the customer needs to have a Google + account and unless they are a frequent reviewer, they are probably not familiar with the process. Help them with it as much as you can.
- Consider creating a guide with detailed instructions.
If you want to go above and beyond and get customers to actually leave reviews this is a good thing to consider doing. Local Visibility System has a great example of clear, easy-to-follow instructions here.
- Thank them in advance for their time.
Remember kindness goes a long way in the business of getting people to do things for free. Your customer could be spending their time watching cat videos on Youtube, but instead they are reviewing your business.