4 Steps for Improving your Website Reviews Online

Oct 02 2018

You’re upset.  Your website traffic is dissipating and your star rating is dropping.  You are anxious to make some positive changes, but you’re not sure where to start.  Those negative reviews are hanging over your head like a dark cloud.

Here’s a little sunshine for you: you can fix this!  Your online reviews may feel completely out of your control–you can’t force customers to say nice things and you’re not going to stoop to buying Yelp reviews–but there is a lot that you can fix if you are willing to take matters into your own hands.  

Let’s talk about 4 ways you can improve your website reviews, by taking the little steps that make a big difference.


1. Respond to Negative Website Reviews (and the Positive ones too!)

Probably the scariest obstacle you’re facing is negative website reviews online.  It’s hard not to take it personally and it seems like there’s no getting rid of it.  

Start by turning a negative into a positive. The best practice is to respond to the angry customer in a public setting, on the review website if possible.  You may think it would be more personal or effective to respond in a private email or to call the customer directly. However, 78% of online reviewers said that they actually trusted a business more when they saw them respond to online reviews.  

So make sure you are taking the time to politely respond to negative feedback.  Don’t get defensive.  Never blame the customer.  Be as generous as possible.  It’s important to be prompt in your responses, though you don’t want to come off as defensive or self-righteous.  If you need to take some time to cool off before drafting your response, err on the side of caution.

When you do reply, be understanding and offer a refund or reparation when possible.  Try to resolve the issue before you post your response. You will find that some customers are even willing to change their website review if they feel that their complaint has been addressed.

And while you’re at it, take a minute to respond to your positive reviewers!  A quick “Thank You” or “Hope to see you again soon!” will show potential customers that you’re not only focused on putting out fires, but you’re attentive to loyal customers as well.


 2. Ask the Right People

There are many options for collecting website reviews (automated emails, a tablet in-store, social media campaigns, etc.), but if you are looking to get more positive website reviews, it’s important to ask the right people.

If you are a brick-and-mortar company, it’s great to ask your customers for a review in person.  When they make a comment that they enjoyed their meal or loved the ambiance, encourage them to leave an online review.  You can send them with a business card or receipt that lists your review profiles or you can direct them to your in-store review station.

If you are reaching out virtually, there are still great ways to ask the right person and to ask at the right time.  If a customer has made a purchase and hasn’t returned the item, it’s safe to assume they were satisfied. Send an email encouraging them to give honest feedback by using a neutral approach, asking “How was your experience?”

3. Make it Easy

If you can make the review process as quick and painless as possible, you are more likely to get good reviews.

One good tip is to leverage social media to its fullest.  This is where a lot of organic website reviews happen online.  Track your brand and hashtags so you can respond to feedback and share testimonials.  Encourage loyal customers to share their reviews on Yelp or Google. You can also reach out to influencers to increase awareness of your product or offer an exclusive discount to followers.  Happy customers become happy reviewers.

Another easy way to collect reviews is to add a button to your email signature or website. Next, to your social media icons and contact information consider adding a link to “Find us on Google” or “Leave a Review.”  You don’t have to specifically solicit reviews this way, but your customer still has the opportunity to leave a website review every time they receive an email from you.  

This should be a one-click method, so make sure your redirects are functioning properly and don’t overcomplicate the review process.  

4. Be the Best

Finally, improve your reviews by improving your product.  Remember you’re not perfect and take feedback to heart. If you notice that multiple people share the same complaint, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.  Take the time to identify the problem and then go to work. Being willing to learn from your mistakes and trust your customer will save you the stress of more negative reviews in the future and will also help your business be more effective.

The gold standard is to seek out reviews that are authentic and helpful and respond graciously.  You will get the occasional negative review, but keep working hard and instilling passion into what you do. The reviews will improve themselves.
Jaren Nichols

Guest post by:
Jaren Nichols @ ZipBooks
Author profile
Jaren Nichols is Chief Operating Officer at ZipBooks, online accounting software for small businesses. Jaren was previously a Product Manager at Google and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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