3 Mistakes to Avoid When Seeking More Business Reviews

Reviews are by far one of the most important forms of feedback you can get because they double as marketing material made all the more valuable because it's provided by your customers. Modern consumers trust reviews more than what companies will say about themselves and their own business meaning the more positive reviews you have, the more trustworthy you will be to your customers. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to get reviews, even if you have a relatively popular local or online business. There are many great ways to get more reviews that we've talked about and will talk about in the future but today we want to spread a little Public Service Announcement about how to avoid a few common pitfalls. Not every strategy to get more reviews is a good one and some actively tick off your customers. Take a quick peek at these next three big "Don'ts" for seeking more business reviews.

1) Too Many Reminders

When you're on a quest to encourage more customers to review, it is absolutely vital to ask and send out friendly reminders. The best time to do this is right after a service, purchase, or delivery so that the customer's pleasure in a successful interaction is fresh in their mind. You can also as for reviews later if your products or services may take some time to appreciate their value.

Reviews can be asked for publicly on a regular basis if you make it friendly, fun, and no more than 10% of your public posts but whatever you do, don't badger customers for reviews. If a customer has failed to review after two requests or reminders, don't ask a third time. This can annoy customers and turn them away from feeling good about your company. It's better to have no review than an irritated negative review.

2) Forgetting the Easy Review Link

Whether a customer reviews is their personal choice. While you can ask, who reviews and what they say will be based on their own preferences and thoughts. That said, you can't assume that all of your customers automatically know where and how to review your business, services, or products. Many happy customers who would like to give you a good review may not do so if you don't provide a convenient link leading them to the correct page and form.

For customers who already understand the reviewing platform and process, this is a courteous convenience that makes leaving you a review all that much easier. For those that are less savvy with the process, the link makes sure they can complete a review without getting confused or discouraged.

3) The Automatic 5-Star

There is a particular web hack that has become incredibly popular lately which allows business owners to create a URL link that not only takes customers to their Google Business review form, but it also automatically fills in 5 stars. We know this is tempting and it seems like a good idea to 'encourage' reviewers to leave you a high rating. Unfortunately, there are two very good reasons not to use this hack. 

The first is that customers either don't care or hate it. This is one step away from "giving yourself" five stars and it often comes across as more arrogant than helpful. Humility and grace is always the better attitude to take when dealing with customers, especially when asking for reviews. Customers who came in to give you a middling review might even take offense and drop more stars for assuming what their rating will be.

The second reason is that Google notoriously punishes people and companies that abuse loopholes. Just look what's happened to SEO hacks over the last two decades. Every time a new shady tactic is used, the algorithm is updated the users and lower their page rank. The modern business needs Google and you do not want to wind up on their 'naughty' list.

Reviews are something that every business should not only encourage but actively seek out. However, this mission requires tact, aplomb, and benefits from a self-deprecating sense of humor. If you want to successfully ask for and receive buckets of positive reviews, remember not to cross the lines. Don't badger, make sure you link and conveniently, and don't use questionable fad hacks. With these policies under your belt, you're sure to see happy customer reviews for miles.

Bryan Caplan