KieranThomas

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Hi.

We are currently working with a client who is a well known brand, and they're well known for providing high-end, high quality products.

However, currently they have around 40 GMB reviews (over a 4 year period) ....which in itself is low for the volume of customers they have.... and those reviews are currently equating to an overall rating of just 2 stars.

They've managed to resolve the issue which was the source of most of the early negative reviews, and so we want to work with them to increase the number of positive reviews (of course, staying within the relevant guidelines and ensuring they don't incentivise customers for a review).

However, as they have hundreds of thousands of customers, I'm very mindful that we need to be careful how we action this. For example, if they simply asked via their mailing list, they could suddenly end up with hundreds of reviews overnight which I suspect would trigger a red flag.

As a result, I'm planning on recommending they perform customer satisfaction follow up calls, as (reviews aside) this has a number of additional benefits and provides a great customer service experience. If whilst they're chatting with a customer, they get the impression they have a passionate brand advocate, they could ask that person if they'd be willing to leave a review. That should help them control how many reviews they're channelling to different platforms such as Facebook or GMB.

Even still, I'm unsure how many reviews would be perceived a legitimate and fair increase for an organisation that's trying to increase the number of reviews, without it being perceived a unnatural.

Personally, I think increasing it from 40 to 60 reviews by the end of the year (approx 7 weeks away) would be acceptable (albeit ambitious, if we consider how it compares to the typical monthly average), but I'd feel less comfortable with them aiming for 100. Thoughts?


Thanks,
Kieran
 
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Phil Rozek

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@KieranThomas, getting up to 60 reviews by the end of the year should be fine, as long as you spread out the requests and in so doing get those reviews at a pretty even pace. Ideally you'll also maintain that pace, so it becomes the "new normal" - your baseline. Consistency is important here. What you want to avoid is a big spike, followed by another flat line, maybe followed by another spike. Google's filter finger doesn't get itchier if you don't make sudden moves.

The basic workflow that's worked the best for the most of my clients over the years is this:

1. Someone at the office or at the job asks all seemingly happy customers in-person for a review. We stress that we aren't asking customers necessarily to write a review on the spot. We're just gauging their satisfaction and, if they're down to write a review, letting them know that an email request is on the way.

2. A designated "review person" sends an email (or makes a call). It's a little bespoke, in that it uses the customer's name and not "Dear Valued Customer," and maybe it mentions some specific detail of the job or service performed. It contains a Google Maps review link and a couple sentences of instructions. It may include a link to our listing on backup review site, in case the customer doesn't want to do Google. (Preferably it's a review site that doesn't require one's full name, in case that's why the customer is squeamish.) The email must be brief, clear, and show clear gratitude. Most businesses' emails either sound pushy and entitled, or are so hat-in-hand and demure that customers have no idea what they're supposed to do.

3. The "review person" does a friendly follow-up. Usually by email, but the phone could work. Not exactly the same email, but similar enough that it's clearly a reminder. If the customer doesn't write a review, we don't ask again. If at any point in this process the customer writes a review, the review person sends a hearty thank-you and - if the customer seems extra happy and willing to do more - asks if that customer can copy his or her review and paste it on another review site.

You'll need to test things out and tweak, but I've found that basic process works.
 

JeffClevelandTN

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Hi @KieranThomas, you didn't mention whether it was strictly an online business, brick-and-mortar, or a combination of both. This could affect how you approach your review strategy. I'm assuming it is mostly online based on the number of customers you mentioned. We do similar processes as @Phil Rozek mentioned. I totally agree with going the route of starting slow and building up to the "normal" quantity of weekly reviews you are planning on sustaining going forward.

If you need a platform for review management, we recently starting using rep.co, it is very affordable, offers review requests via SMS and email, on a drip schedule. The drip schedule may be helpful for you to throttle the influx of reviews while starting out. If the client has walk-in customers, one of the things that has proven effective for our clients (and our own businesses), is to create a no-indexed page that has links to Google reviews (link found in GMB) and FB recommendations. We then create a nice business card to give to the "happy" customers with a QR code and a brief snippet "...thanks for your business! We'd really appreciate if you left us a review." We also put the url to the review page, just in case they don't know how the QR code works.

FWIW, recently watched a webcast or read an article, where they did a case study and it showed that asking all customers for reviews rather than being selective with review requests proved to be the most effective method (which seems totally counter-intuitive). I tried to find a link to it, but I apologize, can't seem to find it. I bet that @whitespark knows which one I'm talking about because I "think" it was either at the LocalU Webinar (that he hosted) or the Whitespark Local Search Summit.
 

KieranThomas

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Thanks both; much appreciated, and some really great suggestions there.

@JeffClevelandTN Yes, it's both online & bricks-and-mortar.
Funnily enough, I was going to suggest they create a dedicated URL (www.theirdomain.com/reviews) but originally I'd envisioned simply redirecting this to Google, but I like your suggestion better as it gives the user clearer options. Thanks!
 

jmshap

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Hi @KieranThomas, you didn't mention whether it was strictly an online business, brick-and-mortar, or a combination of both. This could affect how you approach your review strategy. I'm assuming it is mostly online based on the number of customers you mentioned. We do similar processes as @Phil Rozek mentioned. I totally agree with going the route of starting slow and building up to the "normal" quantity of weekly reviews you are planning on sustaining going forward.

If you need a platform for review management, we recently starting using rep.co, it is very affordable, offers review requests via SMS and email, on a drip schedule. The drip schedule may be helpful for you to throttle the influx of reviews while starting out. If the client has walk-in customers, one of the things that has proven effective for our clients (and our own businesses), is to create a no-indexed page that has links to Google reviews (link found in GMB) and FB recommendations. We then create a nice business card to give to the "happy" customers with a QR code and a brief snippet "...thanks for your business! We'd really appreciate if you left us a review." We also put the url to the review page, just in case they don't know how the QR code works.

FWIW, recently watched a webcast or read an article, where they did a case study and it showed that asking all customers for reviews rather than being selective with review requests proved to be the most effective method (which seems totally counter-intuitive). I tried to find a link to it, but I apologize, can't seem to find it. I bet that @whitespark knows which one I'm talking about because I "think" it was either at the LocalU Webinar (that he hosted) or the Whitespark Local Search Summit.

Just curious how you have found the email deliverability of rep.co to be? Some platforms I have demoed seem often have the request emails end up in spam. Thanks
 

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