There’s a right way and a wrong way to ask consumers for online reviews.
It’s unwise to try to game the system by flooding review sites with fake, effusive reviews in order to boost your online reputation. And, even though positive online reviews can boost your business’ online profile, be aware that when you solicit reviews from loyal consumers, you have little control of the outcome.
If you try to influence the opinion, you could damage your credibility with your consumers.
So, when soliciting consumers for reviews, be sure you don’t make these common mistakes that could cost you your reputation.
Mistake 1: Asking All Consumers at Once
When too many reviews appear over a short period of time, readers sometimes get suspicious. Remember, part of gathering reviews is building trust. Instead, make it a part of your business practice to ask for reviews periodically so that you will receive a constant trickle of feedback.
Mistake 2: Asking for a Good Review
Consumers don’t want to feel as if they’ve been manipulated. In fact, you'll foster trust if you ask them to give their honest opinion. This makes them more likely to put effort into the review and to write something positive.
Mistake 3: Spamming Consumers
It’s best to ask for reviews by email or send occasional short, polite messages and leave it at that. Badgering consumers is a sure-fire way to generate negative reviews.
Mistake 4: Giving Consumers Canned Reviews
If all of your reviews have the same or similar wording, readers will treat them as spam and ignore your business. Reviews should be written so that they truly reflect the person’s genuine opinion of your business.
Mistake 5: Paying Off Consumers for Reviews
Paying consumers for reviews will get your business banned from review sites.
Yelp will put a “Consumer Alert” on your profile for 90 days. Google may choose to de-list you. Building a stellar excellent online reputation takes a bit of time but if you do good work, you will see results.
The best way to capture more positive online reviews is to approach your most loyal and happy consumers directly.
Make it easy for consumers by including direct links to each review site on your website, emails, or other forms of communication. If you handle requests in the same manner you would customer service, there’s a good chance you’ll reap the rewards.
Read our guide, "Managing & Improving Online Reviews," to get more helpful tips on managing your online reputation.