Posted March 8, 2013 by Steve Young

Customer Reviews

Did you know that Yelp has over 36 million reviews on their site? And that Google is making a HUGE push to incorporate reviews into their local rankings through their acquisition of Zagat.

Reviews of your business are a HUGE part of social proof. From recognizable logos to the number of customers, social proof is an excellent way to build trust with potential customers.

Visit any website and you’re bound to see a page highlighting their customers with fantastic testimonials and reviews.

However, how do you generate amazing customer reviews that turn potential customers into lifelong, raving fans?

Let’s explore 5 ways to get AMAZING reviews of your business.

Provide AMAZING Customer Service

Tony Hseih, CEO of Zappos, built a billion dollar company based on AMAZING customer service. Zappos doesn’t have just happy customers they have raving fans. Early on, Zappos understood the power of word-of-mouth marketing and made it a company focus to provide excellent customer service.

Here are just a few things that Zappos is known for:

  • There’s no limit on the amount of time a support person can spend on the phone with a customer
  • They recommend other sites to you if they can’t fulfill your order
  • They surprise some of their customers by automatically upgrading their shipping to overnight
  • They have a 365 day return policy – no questions asked
  • Everyone at the company spends time as a support representative

This approach to customer service has lead to a tremendous amount of press for Zappos. However, Zappos is not the only company with fanatic approach to customer service.

Grasshopper, providers of telephone service to business owners, received great coverage from a customer who wrote about her experience with the company after receiving a hand written thank you note.

“We go the extra mile and send hand-written thank you notes to customers when they give us a good recommendation online. It’s a quick way to say thank you because we care a lot about their input” says Taylor Aldredge, Ambassador of Buzz for Grasshopper.

By providing AMAZING customer service you’re making it easy for the customer to reciprocate with positive reviews.

Create a “Review Us” Page

By providing AMAZING service, your customers should now be begging to leave a review for you now all you have to do is make it easy for them to do so.

Create a “Review Us” page on your site with instructions and links to the popular review directories such as Yelp, Google+, etc. But don’t stop there, go through your customer list and pick out a few of the happy ones and ask for a review from them while providing a link to your “Review Us” page.

Using this strategy, Bryan Phelps of Big Leap Web helped a local CPA significantly increase his reviews to the point where the CPA had twice as many reviews as the big firms while only a 1/4 of the clients.

Offer Something in Return

What if you’re just starting out and don’t have any clients? Get creative and offer something in return.

When Neil Patel started his SEO agency he reached out to major publications such as Techcrunch and Gizmodo and offered them free SEO services. In return, he received a badge that linked back to his website. He then built case studies on how he was able to increase traffic to Techcrunch by 60%.

Neil states that although his target market would never reach the level of the big brands he helped for free just seeing that he’s worked with well known brands helped him close more deals.

Bryan Phelps and the team at Big Leap Web helped a local photography studio organize a campaign to target popular bloggers in the area by offering them a free 1 hour shoot. In exchange, the bloggers wrote a review of the new studio on their blog. This strategy helped the studio’s SEO efforts with link building, helped spread their business to the mommy blog community and ultimately generated new appointments for family photo shoots.

Develop a Partnership

From the very beginning of the relationship, develop a partnership with your customers that holds you and them accountable. Then reinforce the idea that their feedback is important to you and potential customers.

By developing a deeper relationship with your customer and incorporating them into the process, you create a team environment rather than a functional service/client relationship.

“I think establishing that you’re a team with your clients and then doing a superior job is the best way to make them eager to tell their friends about you. It works for me.” says Celia Milton.

Survey Intelligently

Ramit Sethi, author of the New York Times bestselling book I Will Teach You To Be Rich, achieves conversion rates as high as 68.7% on his blog. How does he do it?

For one, he does an incredible amount of research to fully understand his customers’ desires and fears. Ramit says that “when you can truly deeply understand people, even in fact better than they understand themselves, then your sales skyrocket.”

Rather than asking for a general review of your business, you should survey your skeptical customers and ask for their results. Not only will you be able to show that your business provides results, but you’ll also be able to overcome any objections that future customers may have.

As your customers are using your product, send a simple email that states, “Hope things are going well. If you were able to accomplish results, but you were skeptical at first reply to this email.” You can then ask for the results they achieved along with detailed objections that they had before choosing your business.

About Steve Young

Steve Young is the Director of Product Marketing at SmartShoot. He enjoys writing about marketing, design and product development. Although he shares the same name as a famous quarterback he unfortunately does not share the same bank account, so please throw him a bone and share or comment on his posts. Connect with him on Twitter and Google+.

Keep in touch: @stevepyoung

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