Whether you work in marketing, operations or customer service, there’s one thing everybody needs to concern themselves with and that’s customer reviews. Today, customer service is a marketing channel because customers can instantly influence your reputation at any point in the journey through online platforms. Online reviews are now known to be as influential as personal recommendations for most people. It’s therefore everybody’s job to ensure the business continues to regularly generate positive online reviews. The result is not just higher rankings, it’s also greater awareness, and higher sales.

Here are four ways any business can boost the quantity of their online reviews:

1. Check your account type on social media and online review sites

Establishing a presence in the right places is fundamental to generating online reviews. If your business set up its social media accounts a long time ago, or different locations are operating their own accounts, you may need to check that they are connected to the right business account – that goes for Google, Facebook and Instagram. You may also need to do an audit to see if there are websites that have created pages for your business but are still ‘unclaimed’. When doing your audit, focus on relevant sites that your customers actually use. Across the board, Google is the review site of choice with 63.6% of consumers saying they are likely to check reviews on Google before visiting a business.

2. Follow up during-visit customer survey responses

Collecting customer feedback during-visit (while the customer is still on-premise) is the most important feedback for operations teams because it gives them the opportunity to rectify negative experiences or make average experiences extraordinary by taking clues from customer feedback. If a customer has taken the time to give feedback, and the feedback survey wasn’t too long, there’s a good chance they would be willing to make their feedback public on an online review site. You can make leaving public reviews easier for them by integrating your during-visit feedback with a link to your TripAdvisor, Yelp or other review page.

Source: TripAdvisor

3. Send feedback request emails after they leave

Some customers prefer to wait until they’ve arrived home to leave reviews. For these customers, it’s best to remind them with an post-visit email. An email that recalls their during-visit feedback or some aspect of their customer experience is a good way to jog their mind and makes it easier for them to think of what to say. However, if you’ve already sent them a long post-visit survey, you risk annoying them by asking for a review in addition. Make sure you take into account all the customer communications they would be receiving so as to be considerate of their time.

4. Use signs and QR codes to prompt customer reviews

Using a customer journey map, consider all your customers’ possible touch points from reception desks, points of purchase, restrooms, receipts, waiting areas, restaurants and bars. If you want to get more scientific about it, you can use dwell time analytics from your WiFi (if using Cisco Meraki or Cisco DNA Spaces for example) to determine where your customers spend the most time. Where they dwell the longest might be where they have the time to publish a review. Place signs with URLs or QR codes that link them to your review page along with a polite call-to-action.

Each positive review received by a business is essentially a gift from the customer. When you consider the financial benefits associated with customer reviews, a thank you note is essential. Remember that a customer review is also a great way to start a conversation in future so make sure that you retain any contextually relevant customer insights in a customer profile record.

Interested in driving more online reviews for your business? Find out more about Local Measure's customer experience platform here.