Asking customers to be an online advocate for your business is never easy. But there are plenty of reasons why it’s important for your business and brand.

In today’s digital era, online reviews make a significant impact on a company’s reputation and, in turn, whether a potential customer will go with your business versus a competitor.  In short, online reviews influence bottom line.  Chances are if your business has negative or poor online reviews, whether that’s on Yelp or Google or any number of other review sites, your company is being negatively impacted, and significantly.

If the reviews you receive are not generally positive, take this as a means of getting to know and understand the needs of your customers. Sure, no one wants to hear criticism, but if you need to improve your performance, there’s no better way than hearing first-hand about areas that need polishing.

Here’s a look at a few ways to inspire your customers to write positive reviews:

Just Ask:

Sometimes the obvious is just too, well, obvious. Your customers get it, so strike while the iron is hot. Customers understand the digital world and the importance of online reviews. In fact, the next time you receive a compliment, ask the customer if he or she would mind posting a review on a website of their choice. If they don’t know of any, make a suggestion.

Train employees so that they are comfortable asking for reviews. They are likely working the frontline so they face favourable exchanges more readily.

Offer Incentives:

Bear in mind that your most avid fan is a busy person juggling home and work life and more. Offering a wee motivation may help them take the leap to writing you an online review. Regular giveaways and freebies are a good idea. Selected randomly, this type of incentive may help encourage busy customers to post their thoughts.

Talk Back:

It’s critical that you reply to reviews, both good and bad. The reason? You want to be seen as a business that is responsive, accountable and trustworthy. If the review is positive, be sure to thank the writer. Thank them for taking the time to write and, if applicable, tell them their post will be entered in a draw for a freebie or giveaway of some kind. If the review in negative, be sympathetic and make suggestions to find a solution. Customers will appreciate your candour and accountability

Matt Earle

Founder & President

Matt Earle, Founder of Reputation.ca, is a leading Canadian expert on online reputation management with over 15 years of hands on experience working in the space. Mr. Earle’s educational background includes an H.BSc from the University of Toronto and certification as a Google Professional. His expertise has been acknowledged through national television appearances on CBC, PBS and CTV, being a guest host on CBC radio, and numerous quotes in print and online media.