Google has invested heavily into local search. Even now, more and more people are just using Google to find local businesses. This, in turn, means that these searchers are making decisions about local businesses before reaching the business website.
To prove this point, I shall ask you to try something for me;
Search for something arbitrary in your local area and look at the results. I just searched for “Hair Salon Warrington”.
The Searchers Mind
Judging from this information alone, which hair salon would you be more inclined to go to?
I would hope (and guess) you said ‘Pure Hair Design’. It’s 0.2 miles away from my location and it’s got good reviews. Choice made! I also guessed, in this instance, you gave no consideration to option 2.
Why was that? It’s obvious (and bright orange) the reviews. No reviews! Zilch! Sandwiched between two results with plenty of high rating reviews.
Let’s imagine for a second that you are the owner of “Regis” Hair Salon. It’s asking too much of the searcher to click through to the website to find out that the salon is not a ‘Sweeney Todd’ shack. However it doesn’t matter, your searchers have made up their minds already. The salon has been scratched from the list because they are already picking from the information at their fingertips. The process of elimination would have begun from the moment the result appeared.
What to do…
You may be thinking that there is nothing you can do about getting good reviews online. They are naturally motivated responses, fuelled by either the disappointment or elation of a service they have received. Well, this isn’t strictly true, if you follow this mentality you will find yourself with a myriad of disappointing reviews, from all the ‘never-can-be-pleased’ and ‘one-off bad day customers’ plus the occasional spammer. It’s a sure-fire way to find yourself in a worse position than no reviews at all… Instead, you could find yourself with lots of reviews with a poor rating.
The true fact is however that customers/ consumers / clients expect good service as they should, so what is motivating someone to do something when it is expected to happen. It is a sad reality of life that negative experiences will motivate someone to write a bad review more commonly than good experience motivating a good review.
Without diving into what is wrong within society that such a problem be true, we should really ask ourselves what can we do about this and how can we naturally build good reviews.
It’s quite simple really, you ask!
It’s best to ask at the peak of customer satisfaction. You may need to find the perfect moment in your customer process to find where this is but try to think about the moment you believe your customer is at their happiest. This can be different from business to business.
Is that okay?
A question generally asked is, “Is it okay to ask for reviews?”, the general consensus is yes. Google for instances welcome it with open arms and believes that you should always ask your customers to leave reviews whenever they can. However, they would say that because they love data!
Yelp on the other hand, are a little bit more cautious, they suggest that asking for reviews is okay, however, you shouldn’t incentivize people to write reviews and certainly shouldn’t reward people for writing fake good reviews. It’s also a sad part of society that you see a lot of. Businesses will provide incentives to people who write reviews, which on the whole is not a bad idea, however, it will sway a customer’s opinion if you are giving them something for free. What is a bad idea however, is incentivising consumers to write positive reviews. You should treat your consumers with more respect than that. They are smarter than you think and will find you out. Which is turn, will do irreparable damage to your reputation.
Stick by these rules and you should have no problem in slowly and naturally developing a good base of positive reviews for your business. If you would like to discuss the online reputation of your business in more detail then you can contact us! Or if you are looking to improve your local SEO thoroughly and professionally you can come in and have a chat with us.