Consumers are now the voice of a brand. They can raise or lower any company’s profile or reputation in a matter of minutes by posting a clever YouTube video or social media review. Studies show that 78% of customers trust peer recommendations while only 14% trust advertisements. If you own a retail store, small hotel or local restaurant, having positive testimonials can be your most effective form of advertising as well as your best insurance against any negative comments you may receive. But how can you generate positive reviews and testimonials?
I have three simple suggestions that definitely work:
- When a customer thanks an associate for especially good service, ask them if they ever write reviews. If yes, ask them if they would be willing to place a comment on the site they use most often. If you have built a strong customer bond and really wowed them with your service, they will most likely be happy to support your efforts.
- Assign each of your associates a different site to monitor; Yelp, Zagats, Open Table, etc. Whenever a positive and meaningful review appears, post it on your establishment’s wall behind the register where everyone can see it. It’s not necessary to include the reviewer’s name, but it may be beneficial to put the date of the review and make sure that you keep what’s posted on your testimonial wall current.
- Solicit customer feedback. Ask a random number of customers what brought them into your establishment initially, what they like best and what’s the one thing they would change to make service more customer friendly or enjoyable if they owned your restaurant. Then close with “if one of your neighbors asked you to describe our business from a customer’s point of view, what would you say?” If the response is something you would like others to hear or see, ask the customer if you can post their comment to your testimonial wall. Explain that you will not disclose their name.
People like to be helpful. Customers are people too. Your business should always do its best to treat customers with respect, provide them with a good product or service and demonstrate appreciation. When the service your staff delivers makes your customers happy, they will be happy to help you too.
We live in a world of reviews. Those companies that provide excellent service and accumulate brand or store advocates along the way should never be embarrassed to ask for testimonials. When you do something well, why shouldn’t everyone benefit?
What other suggestions do you have to generate well-deserved positive postings?