“They didn’t pick up their phone. 2 stars.”
“The customer service wasn’t very good. 3 stars.”
“No one followed up with me after I complained. 1 star.”
It’s important for the success of any business to closely monitor their online presence, especially reviews. As a matter of fact, this survey found that 45% of consumers are likely to check Yelp reviews before going to a new business and a whopping 64% check Google reviews!
While it may seem hard to get 5 star reviews, it doesn’t always have to be! After working closely with small businesses owners for years and building our software around enhancing customer service, we’ve gathered some quick and easy tips to earn stars in your sleep!
Whether Yelp, Google, or Facebook, online reviews are a must-have for any consumer facing business. Online reviews help people quickly and efficiently find what they need without taking hours asking around or trying various options. People love instant gratification!
The occasional negative review may be unavoidable, but one way to discount them is to drive even more positive reviews. Getting reviews can often be a lot of work including calling customers, putting signs up near the payment machine, offering incentives or prizes, etc.
A major key to driving positive reviews is amazing customer service. (We know, easier said than done, right??)
At Numa, our customers are all small to medium businesses who have leveraged our tool as part of an overall effort to constantly improve their service levels, delight and surprise customers, driving more revenue and positive feedback.
Here are five ways these customers are driving positive reviews online with amazing customer communication and service:
The telephone will always be a major part of your customer service. While yes, many people do prefer to text, plenty of consumers are still calling. Actually, 60% of consumers prefer to call a small business over other methods.
This does not mean you have to grow four more arms and ears and hire six people. You can actually get to the phone 24/7 without hiring anyone! Simply get a traditional answering service or technology like Numa. Answering services will hire people to pick up the phone, take messages, and return those messages to you. This way, customers feel more secure that their question or request will get to the right person.
Something else to consider is eliminating voicemail. Whether you’re an owner, customer, or just a friend, no one likes to get voicemail. Voicemail is a dying tool. We have yet to find the person who says, “I love leaving voicemails and I love returning voicemails.”
Some companies simply just remove voicemail altogether. This is not a bad option because then you don’t have the opportunity to not return it, which can drive bad reviews. However, it puts the onus on the customer to call multiple times until they reach someone, which can also drive negative reviews from subpar customer service.
Other companies choose an affordable solution like Numa, which answers each missed call before voicemail would pick up and offers the caller an opportunity to start a text chain. While texting, Numa can answer common questions and give the caller immediate responses around the clock, which are customized by the business. This is not something that the customer would be expecting so they are thrilled to be able to get answers instead of getting voicemail, waiting on hold, or just have the phone ring forever!
Sending text messages is now a mainstream form of communication and is certainly not going anywhere! Text messages became a popular way to communicate among friends because they allow you to pass along information even if you can’t speak on the phone or when it is not convenient to be on the phone—whether you’re in a movie, out to dinner, or often, at work!
Over the past several years, it’s become more and more common for businesses to start texting with their customers. Many PoS and CRM solutions like MindBody now come with built-in texting to remind customers about appointments, confirm orders, and more.
The only problem? Many of these solutions don’t come with the ability for customers to respond. They are focused on outgoing messages instead of incoming. Customers can get frustrated when they can’t text back, which could lead to negative reviews.
It’s a good idea to get an easy, affordable way for customers to text your business via your phone provider or as a separate service that ensures your customers can actually get through to you via text. You also don’t have to give out your cell phone number, which many people regrettably end up doing!
Some of these services require you use a separate number but others, like Numa, give the option to try to text-enable your existing phone number. When customers find out they can text you instead of call, they are always thrilled! Offering the ability for customers to text your business is a huge upgrade to customer service and is likely to encourage more 5 star reviews.
This is a super fun, easy, affordable way to delight and surprise your customers. You just need to deliver something totally unexpected, ideally after the service so that they can walk away with a positive recent impression. Customer delight is what pushes customers over the edge to want to share your businesses with others, whether it be with friends or by writing online reviews. It’s a great way to turn customers into promoters! Here are some examples of an after-service delight that you can use:
For a restaurant
Bring them fresh mints and gum after their meal - maybe even a lollipop!
Treat them to a free dessert
Sing them a song goodbye (yes, this is weird, but they’ll remember it and appreciate the positivity!)
For a salon or spa
A five minute scalp or neck massage leaves any customer both relaxed and more than pleasantly surprised!
Chocolate or fresh fruit is a great way to leave the customer both happy and satisfied
For a retail store
Make a donation! Choose a different cause every month, and let them know when they check out (or when you deliver curbside) so it feels like a nice surprise
Water bottles - It sounds simple, but offering branded water bottles is ALWAYS a hit. Everyone is on the go and never remembers to bring water.
For services & online businesses
Donations work well here, too! In the confirmation email, let them know that their purchase has brightened a day or gone to a local, worthy cause
Put something extra in the package! It could be a branded giveaway or a sample, or even just a $5 gift card towards their next purchase; there is no better surprise than receiving a little gift in the mail that you weren’t expecting!
What’s that old saying? If you don’t ask, you won’t get?
That’s often the truth about positive reviews. While negative experiences are more likely to drive negative reviews (by 21%!), positive experiences are less likely to drive spontaneous positive reviews, which means you should ask! And you should ask twice.
The first time you ask a customer for a review, don’t send them the link to the review website. One of Numa’s business owners told us she makes sure they enjoyed their service first by asking personally, as the owner.
If you have text messaging, it makes it super easy to ask a customer after they complete their service or purchase. And then, it makes it even easier to get the review!
Clearly, if the person did not have a good experience, a phone call or outreach is necessary. This prevents a negative online review. Sending them the review form before finding out if they enjoyed their service is definitely something to avoid: hence, asking twice!
Whether you ask via phone, text, email, or in person, it’s extremely important to consider the timing of your ask. Often customers are asked as they checkout, but they are normally in a hurry or eager to get home and stopping to write a thoughtful review is the last priority.
Email can work well because they can open it at a time convenient to them, perhaps after work or during work as a break. Just make sure you have a strong subject line so that the email is opened and doesn’t feel like a promotional email such as “Susie - Was the large sweater a good fit?”
We also recommend sending it from you as the owner or manager and not from “Business ABC” so it stands out. Even better, mention something about their service or purchase in the email so they know you are purposefully requesting and will feel more inclined to follow through.
If you’re using text, you want to keep it personal as well, but try sending it in the evening. This is usually when someone is resting or relaxing, and if they don’t have to open a computer and can just click through the link on their phone, they are much more likely to opt into a review.
Overall, online reviews are essential to acquiring new customers, whether your business is small or large! Making small changes to upgrade customer service and asking for reviews is a winning combination to get to more 5 star feedback!
At Numa, we’ve built a tool that can do both those things. Our top priority is making your customers feel delighted by the ease of which they can communicate with you via phone or text; and all the while you are relieved of the duty of chasing phone calls and listening to voicemail! We think of Numa as the next generation of how businesses handle the phone.
Numa also has a dedicated feature built in that makes sending review requests as easy as pressing one button. And we don’t allow mass sending of review requests--you’re in full control and can ensure the right customers are being asked. It’s never worth getting negative reviews by sending a request to a customer who didn’t have a good experience! Our own customers are very thoughtful about who they send reviews to and it only takes seconds to do so with Numa’s easy and affordable software tool.
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