How to Ask for Customer Reviews 2You know that online reviews help drive customers to your business. But did you know they also improve your visibility in online searches? It’s true—Google looks for reviews about your business across a variety of sites when it determines where you rank in searches.

So now is the time for local businesses to go after more reviews, spread across more sites that publish reviews–not just Yelp, but Google, Angie’s List and other local directories like

In other words, you need fans, and quick.

Lucky for you, if you’re doing business right, you’ve got fans:

  1. repeat customers
  2. members of your loyalty program
  3. customers who left compliments on your Facebook page
  4. customers who open your email newsletter
  5. customers who have already written positive reviews

Make a list of your fans (you’ll feel great!), then try these steps to gently push them toward writing reviews:

Step 1: Ask for an Online Review!

Yes, it can be that easy. Remember, fans have already expressed more than an arms-length interest in your business. A good time to ask a customer for a review is just after a purchase or service call, before concluding business. An in-person ask is the hardest to resist. Other options include a follow-up phone call, an email or in a customer survey. And if you spot a good review or kind comment about your business online, thank the customer promptly.

Some etiquette regarding how to ask customers and clients for an online review: Don’t ask for a good review, rather ask them to describe their experiences with your business. Five Star Review System created this script of super-polite language for a review request that presents it as a “favor”.

Step 2: Make It Easy to Review Your Business

Show the customer where to go:

  • In emails or on your website, display links to your profile pages on sites where clients can write a review.
  • On social media, periodically post review requests with links to review sites.
  • Hand customers a print-out or send them a pdf that gives step by step instructions on how to post a review (like this example).

Always ask clients for reviews written on multiple sites and remind them to be specific in their comments and give a description of actual experiences.

And finally – you knew this was coming – make your business worthy of good reviews. A survey for Search Engine Land asked consumers what traits prompted them to recommend a business. “Reliable and professional”, “friendly and welcoming” and “cheap at the price” led the list. And 16% of the consumers said they gave a positive review just because “they asked me”.

So give it a try and ask.

Updated May 13, 2016

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