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How to Get More Positive Customer Reviews, Using Get Five Stars

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).

How to get positive customer reviews using Get Five Stars

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”:

GetFiveStars-Feedback-Email

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).

Net promoter scores - how to get positive customer reviews

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 reviews you get back can also be embedded on a page on your company’s website (see below) using a small embedded bit of  javascript code.  There’s also a WordPress plugin to put the testimonials into WordPress sites.

Embeddable review unit from Get Five Stars

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).

Monitor reviews at public review websites

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.

 

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Points To Consider When Organizing A Team Building Day

Business team building a puzzleTeam building days have become a tool that large and small companies use to build trust, cooperation and respect between employees and departments. New managers also use the events as a way to get to know the skills of different workers. Planning an entire team-building day takes a large amount of effort. Every detail from scheduling and reservations to catering and games must be meticulously planned. There are several points to keep in mind when attempting to organize a day of team-building activities.

Be Aware Of Employee Limitations

Every person is different. It is essential to take into account the physical, medical and practical limitations of each employee taking part in the event. This means planning activities that everyone can perform and excluding activities that might be difficult for workers with limited mobility. It also means choosing a location that is accessible to everyone with or without a vehicle. Catering needs to be considerate of any dietary restrictions or allergies. Designing the event with the limitations of the employees in mind will allow the day to flow smoothly and without incident.

Catering

Every team-building day includes one or more breaks that allow participants to think or talk about what has just occurred. Everyone taking part in the event will need to eat at least once. The best way to feed all participants is to plan for a professional catering service. The food could be simple sandwiches or a large buffet. Eating will help to reset each person and will provide the energy needed to get through the second half of the retreat. Including a catered lunch or breakfast also makes employees feel appreciated.

Maintain Focus

It is important to maintain focus at all times during the planning stages and when hosting the event. It can become easy for a group of co-workers or even strangers from different offices to become distracted by personal conversations, the decor of the location or minor unimportant details. Event organizers and hosts should develop ways to keep groups focused around the core topic or activity. This will make the entire day much more effective and will encourage participation from everyone at the event.

Time

Time is always a concern when organizing a corporate team-building day. The day should be divided into large blocks of time that are strictly enforced. These blocks should be general such as introductions, morning activities or lunch. The large general blocks can then be subdivided into smaller segments of activity that are more fluid as long as they do not extend beyond the total time allocated for the general period. This will allow flexibility while also ensuring that every important part of the team-building plan is covered.

Consider Professional Planning Services

Large corporations might want to consider using a professional event planning service for a large portion of the retreat. These services will have access to and knowledge of locations and suppliers that will make the day much easier. They also have the time to plan the event properly. Professional planners are an economical solution for large corporations because they often have access to discounts and larger venues that are not available to the general public.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

This post was written by Jen McAllister, an event planner in Toronto. She has worked with ibowl.ca Family Fun Center for a few years. For other types of events, visit http://ibowl.ca/.

 

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Yelp’s In Trouble Again: The Scandal Behind The Review Site

MW-AY957_yelp_2_20130205133121_MEYelp is a popular online review site that allows customers to leave their own personal reviews on restaurants. Many customers have turned to Yelp to not only write their own reviews but to read the reviews of other users in order to decide where to eat.

But while Yelp seems like it could be a big help to your next dining decision, the popular review site is currently under fire.

Back in January 2013, over 700 complaints filed with the FTC about Yelp were made public, and here’s what some of those complaints discuss.

Yelp blocks positive reviews.

Many business owners have claimed that Yelp removes positive reviews on their business and only allows the negative ones to come through. These negative reviews have a negative effect on the company’s overall rating, and business owners are upset. Some owners don’t know why Yelp could benefit from keeping these positive reviews from showing, and others feel as if Yelp uses it as a way to blackmail their users.

Yelp blackmails businesses.

Many businesses have come forward and said that they received emails or phone calls from Yelp claiming that they would remove negative reviews on the company’s page in exchange for the company buying advertising on the site. On Yelp’s website, they claim that they do not remove reviews for any reason other than if it can be proven they were fake, but many companies are saying otherwise.

Yelp harasses businesses.

Yelp has sales people that contact businesses to see if they want to purchase advertising on the site. Many businesses have claimed that these sales people harass them on a regular basis, even after the company has told them they were not interested in buying ad space or asking the sales rep to stop calling. Some of these sales reps have also been accused of promising to remove negative reviews in exchange for their ad space purchase.

Yelp leaves libelous material on their site.

There are companies and individuals out there that write fake reviews on businesses, and sometimes this information is completely wrong and libelous. Unfortunately, the only thing that a business owner can do is to contact Yelp and ask for the review to be removed, but Yelp has a strict policy, and unless it can be proven that the review was fake, they will keep it up there. Many restaurant owners are upset because severe damage has been done to their business, and Yelp will not do anything to remove them.

Yelp encourages fake reviews.

As a reviewer, you have the ability to join Yelp’s VIP club. As long as you write a certain number of reviews every month, you can become a member of their VIP, and this will provide you with special private parties and other perks. Since most people don’t eat out all day every day, many individuals are writing fake reviews on businesses just to become a Yelp VIP member and enjoy these perks.

All of these complaints against Yelp are currently being investigated. Maybe they’re true, maybe they’re not, but the public will certainly know soon once the investigation is over.

Joshua Reynolds is a reviews tracker and reputation manager.  He enjoys sharing information pertaining to business reviews and blogging.

 

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