Build Your Business Reputation With Customer Reviews

Cartoon picture of online reviewsReviews and testimonials are everywhere! Because they work!!

They are especially prevalent online. Do you ever see a product on Amazon that doesn't include reviews? Have you relied on reviews when choosing a hotel? A restaurant? A home repair person?

Soon after you make a purchase or use a service, do you start getting emails asking you to provide a review or give feedback?

Why Reviews Are Important for Your Business

Reviews and testimonials are vitally important to your business. Customer feedback helps prospects know and trust you, and can have a real impact on your reputation -- especially with people you haven't met. Reviews help prospects decide if they should move ahead doing business with you -- or keep shopping!

Different Types of Reviews

There are many kinds of reviews and ways to be reviewed. Some of the options are:

Reviews Your Business Personally Collects

Asking for a review after you have performed a service or delivered a product is very common. Many times, these are added to websites and other marketing materials. There are several ways to format these:

  • A short sentence or paragraph
  • A video review
  • A longer case study
  • Logos of customers
  • Showcase of work

The last two items aren't as strong. They do show who has put their trust in your business, but without any concrete feedback. However, an impressive client could sway a prospect.

Reviews Posted to Public Sites

These reviews, which you may or may not have prompted, can carry more weight than those that you actually collect and curate. Reviews found on public sites provide your prospects social proof of your abilities, responsiveness and competency. These can potentially be viewed as more genuine. While they may be prompted, these reviews are written in the customer's voice and own words.

Reviews on a number of public sites can help your search results. When your site comes up in search, your ratings in Google, Facebook, Yelp, and other public sites can be very visible -- especially Google ratings! These could prompt a prospect to look into your business further. Testimonials found only on your website generally aren't seen until someone visits.

There are many public sites that collect reviews. Depending on your service area, some may be more important than others. Google should be a priority for everyone!

Here are just some of the review sites you might use. You might even find reviews of your business or services on these without being aware!

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Amazon
  • Yelp
  • Airbnb
  • Etsy
  • OpenTable
  • ebay

How to Encourage Reviews

Like so many things in life, people are quick to complain, but not necessarily so quick to give praise. So, the first rule of getting reviews is -- you have to ask! When a good review comes unsolicited, it's a nice surprise and a real bonus -- but those don't happen often!

You should consider what kind of review would be most beneficial to you. (And, nothing says you can't get several from the same person.)

Targeted Review

If you've just finished a significant project that is a good showcase of your work, or it was with a well-known customer, you may want a review that covers certain aspects of the work. It can be hard for people to start a review from a blank sheet of paper -- and the time it takes can be enough to keep them from doing it.

You are more likely to get the review, and get the information you are looking for, if you ask if they would be willing to answer some questions about their experience to help you improve your business.

Come up with a short list of questions to address the issues your prospective clients might want to know:

  • Why did you chose my business?
  • Did you receive the results you expected?
  • What specific benefits have you received?
  • Would you recommend us to others?
  • Is there anything else that is important for us to know?

If you get answers you don't expect, you now have information to work with to improve your business, and maybe even improve or repair a relationship with a client.

Getting positive answers gives you an opportunity to ask the client if you could write it up into a testimonial for their approval for your use on your website, shared on social media, or used in printed materials. You could also consider asking the person to provide a video review.

Taking the approach of asking questions provides better material than the usual "They do a great job" or "he's a great guy"!  It also takes the pressure off the client to write a polished piece.

Social Media Reviews

Social media reviews are probably the easiest reviews to acquire, and there are more ways of collecting these and promoting them. Depending on your business, some clients may initiate a review on these sites themselves. The unfortunate thing is that too many people do this when they are NOT happy.  It seems that most people need to be ecstatic to take the initiative to give a positive reveiw without prompting.

So, how do you get the reviews?  Here are a few things you can do:

  • Just ask! Especially, if you feel you will get a good review, just say, "If you feel I did a good job, I'd really appreciate if you could write a review on Google."
  • Make it easy for them. Give them a link to the social platform review location for your business.
  • Include a link on your website to leave a review.
  • Consider if it would be beneficial to include the link in your email signature.
  • After you complete a service, send an email with a link, asking for a review.
  • You may be using a software package that provides the capability to follow-up with your customers for a review once completed.

What to Do About a Bad Review on Social Media

As mentioned a few times, people who are unhappy are likely to give a bad review -- and sometimes they can be scathing! It can be hard not to start World War III right there on the site! It's important to respond, but walk away and cool down before responding.

First, if there is truth to the criticism, go ahead and own up to it. That shows something of your character. But, a good approach is to apologize that they aren't satisfied and publicly ask them to call your business or indicate you will be calling them to make it right. You want to acknowledge their view, but also take it offline.

I've been asked how to have these bad reviews removed. It is extremely rare that the platform will remove them. If you can prove they are fake, it is possible. But real reviews, even mean-spirited reviews, will stay. (I tried to have a review written in Arabic taken off a client's Google review site. It was 1-star and the only review the person ever left. Google refused, but kindly translated it!)

The best way to combat the negative perception of bad reviews is to leave a good, helpful response, and have many positive reviews to offset the negative. Don't be dismayed by bad reviews -- who can make everyone happy? If you only have a few, it might not be unusual for them to all be good. But as the volume grows, there will be some bad ones -- as would be expected.

Bad reviews, if handled well, can actually provide trust in your business. I was recently looking for a specific type of watchband on Amazon. There seemed to be only one vendor selling what I was looking for. I always read through many of the 5-star and 1-star reviews. For this particular watchband, there were a fair number of 1-star reviews - many indicating that the band broke. However, I still purchased the watchband (and had a good experience), because every single 1-star review had a response from the company apologizing and telling them they would send a replacement. And, many of the customers further commented that they received the replacement and were happy. The way they handled the 1-star reviews actually built my trust and reduced the risk to me. Now, that is how to turn a lemon into lemonade!

You really should try to respond to all reviews -- both positive and negative -- and as quickly as possible. Responding to positive reviews honors the people who took the time and effort to leave you a review. Your engagement can even encourage others to leave a review. And, if you are B2B, you can give their business a boost, too.

Make it a habit to respond to all reviews! Keep in mind, this is about your reputation, credibility, trustworthiness -- and encouraging prospects to place their trust in you.

Should You Offer an Incentive for a Review

Bottom line - NO! All the platforms have policies against this. If they discover reviews that have been paid for or incentivized, they will remove them (ALL of them). It's not hard to understand why. Only reviews given with "no strings attached" can be viewed as legitimate. And, reviews are about building trust and confidence -- so you want to do them ethically! It is also not acceptable for you to review your own business, or encourage your employees or family to review the business.

How Can eKamria Help You Get and Publicize Reviews

There are a number of ways we can help you:


Reviews are an important way for businesses to demonstrate social proof and build trust and confidence to help prospects in their buying decisions. There are many ways to approach this, depending on the type of business you have. It's important is that you determine which approach(es) will work best for your business and that you start ASKING!

Have you had positive experiences with reviews? Share them in the comments to help others out!

Do you have a question or suggestion for a future post? Leave it in the comments!


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