By Vedran Tomic –
Online reviews have become important — and positive reviews are crucial for businesses. Two customer review trends are important to know. First, prospective customers are increasingly relying on online reviews to make purchasing decisions. Second, there’s been an explosion in fake reviews online. It’s gotten so bad, that sites like Yelp and the New York Attorney General have been cracking down on fake reviews.
Where does this leave small businesses?
Businesses have an increasing need to get positive customer reviews. At the same time, small businesses also have to keep things ethical, even in the face of competitors who may be playing dirty. A product called “Get Five Stars” can help satisfy both of these needs.
What is Get Five Stars?
Get Five Stars is an online app or tool that guides you through the process of how to get positive customer reviews. It helps you:
- request testimonials and reviews from legitimate customers;
- identify which customers are less than happy or giving negative reviews, so you can attempt to turn them back to positive;
- encourage customers to share their positive reviews online at major review sites;
- place reviews and testimonials on your own website in a Google-friendly way, leading to greater visibility in search; and
- monitor new reviews on public review sites as an ongoing reputation management process, so you can stay informed and be proactive.
After all, if a customer is willing to recommend your business, don’t you want to show that review off? And don’t you want as many other prospective customers to see it as possible?
Plus, the proactive nature of Get Five Stars helps you catch negative reviews. That way, you can attempt to resolve any issues before they cause lasting harm.
In essence, Get Five Stars gives you a process and shows you how to get positive customer reviews. It helps you organize and streamline the process of requesting and displaying customer reviews, and increasing their visibility online. That way you can make the most of them for online visibility and to convince new shoppers to buy from you.
How to Get Positive Customer Reviews – Getting Started
The process to request reviews from your existing customers is straight forward. Right in the dashboard, business owners can insert customer names and email addresses. You could add customer data from your invoicing system, a Contacts app, or a CRM database — or insert it manually.
Then, of course, you are going to want to communicate with customers. To do that, you call up pre-built email templates (see image below).
Customize your email message, and then send it to your customer requesting feedback.
It’s a two-step process with customers. As part of the process, you:
- Ask them to rate your business privately first.
- Then after you have a chance to review the feedback, if it’s positive you can ask the customer to go to a public review site to leave feedback there, too. If it’s not so positive, you have a chance to fix it.
The process is kicked off when the customer receives an email that looks like the image below, with an invitation to leave a review by clicking a big button “Provide Feedback”:
Simple Review Process Based on Net Promoter Score
Customers are busy. Most don’t have the time to spend writing a long review or filling out a lengthy survey. The beauty of Get Five Stars is that the review system is easy peasy.
Get Five Stars uses the Net Promoter approach to customer feedback. There are just two short text fields to fill in — the title of the review, and a brief comment with a maximum of 250 characters.
Customers then are asked one question, “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” Customers then rate the business from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best (i.e., most likely to recommend). The customer simply moves a sliding scale button to rate (see below).
If a customer answers by giving a rating below a 7, then the small business gets the information and can follow up. In this way, potentially negative reviews can be addressed proactively.
Some small business owners and managers may not be familiar with the Net Promoter feedback scoring system. The app gives the business owner a little tutorial on Net Promoter scores in a popup window.
Once the customer feedback is returned, you have a place in the dashboard where you can see all your feedback. Then from there, you can send out another followup communication to customers that left positive feedback, asking them to leave the review on various public review sites such as Google, Yahoo Local, Citysearch, Facebook and other places. On the app’s dashboard you choose which review sites you want to request the customer to leave a review on. Remember, you can’t place the review on the site for them — but the app makes it easy for you to request and assist the customer to do so.
Interestingly, co-founder Don Campbell downplayed Yelp when we spoke with him. He said seeking out Yelp reviews may not help you. “Unless the reviewer is an avid Yelper the review is often filtered out and doesn’t show up publicly on Yelp,” due to Yelp’s algorithms. Also, he points out, the app’s language does not actually request leaving a Yelp review. It is against Yelp’s guidelines to ask for reviews. Therefore, the app simply includes a small message in the email asking customers to visit the business’s page on Yelp.
Place Testimonials on Your Website
The embedded testimonials also appear as HTML on your website page. The reason that’s important is that when they are in HTML format, the reviews can get indexed by search engines. Reviews are structured using the Schema.org format, a markup language that Google understands. That means they can under certain circumstances show up in the snippet of text presented in Google search result pages. When you have gold review stars appearing near your website name on a search page, it helps your brand stand out.
Getting too many reviews too quickly can be almost as bad or worse than too few reviews. To a search engine or review site getting too many too fast may seem suspicious. So let’s say you start using the product and do a one-time communication to all your recent customers asking for reviews. You’re going to get a lot of reviews back. You may not want to display them all or encourage all those customers to leave public reviews, at one time. The business owner or manager has control over the timing.
Monitor Reviews at Public Review Websites
Get Five Stars also monitors key review sites, as part of an ongoing reputation management process. You get a dashboard that is regularly updated, to see how many reviews you have and the average rating (below).
This way you don’t have to visit each of the review sites separately. The Get Five Stars system will also send you an email when a new review appears.
According to co-founder Don Campbell, by being proactive you can have a big impact on how your company is presented to the world. He described the case study of an optometrist that had just one review showing on Yelp and it was a very bad “1 star” review. The optometrist knew this customer. His frames had broken, but that incident had been fixed. The optometrist KNEW the customer had been made happy. In that case the optometrist was able to contact the customer.
The monitoring dashboard would help to let you know so that you could contact the reviewer and ask him to update the review if you know the issue has been resolved. Or you could leave a message yourself clarifying inaccurate information in the review, such as a restaurant review that gives a bad rating for a dish your establishment does not even offer.
Using Get Five Stars just as a review management platform would mean only scratching the surface of what this tool has to offer. Get Five Stars is capable of serving as a proactive reputation management mechanism. If you use the tool to its full potential, it can pay for itself many times over.
Who “Get Five Stars” is Best For
Get Five Stars is ideal for B2C businesses with large customer bases as well as service businesses, especially professional service businesses. If you are serious about using data to improve your systems to grow sales and increase customer loyalty, then Get Five Stars can make the end-to-end process efficient and manageable.
The Get Five Stars system is a cloud software service. You access it and use it online. It is designed to review a business, not review individual products.
It’s priced at $29.95 per month (discounted to $24 per month if you pay annually). There a 15-day free trial offer, too. No credit card is required for the trial.
This app is designed to be used by a single business, a business with multiple locations, or an agency (such as a marketing agency) managing a number of businesses. The individual business can also manage their reviews directly even if they get access through an agency. Discounts are available for agencies. Even small marketing agencies managing four businesses will find it cost effective and a time saver.
The Get Five Stars system was developed by Mike Blumenthal, an expert in local search, and Don Campbell and Thomas Hasch from Expand2Web. The company is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay area.