How to Get More 5-Star Online Reviews for Your Business

How to Get More 5-Star Online Reviews

You’d like more people saying good things about your business, right?

I think we all would. But getting people to speak well of you is bigger than just something that’d be nice. In fact, it’s crucial to any business wanting to grow.

Nowadays, people do most of their talking online. People do most of their listening and research online, too. That’s why 5-star online reviews are so helpful, and why bad reviews can be so hurtful.

Below I’ll cover some of the research showing why online reviews matter, what it takes to get more online reviews, and what you can do (starting today) to get more 5-star online reviews for your business.

Why do online reviews matter?

Check out this research on how online reviews influence potential customers.

Why are online reviews so important
PC: Neil Patel
  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (BrightLocal)
  • 68% of consumers turn to social media for product reviews (Vocus)
  • 90% of consumers say that positive online reviews influence their buying decisions, and 86% say negative online reviews influence their decisions (Dimensional Research)
  • Customers read an average of 7 reviews before trusting a business (BrightLocal)
  • Positve word-of-mouth generates 2X as many sales as paid ads (Referral Candy)
  • Brands with 10+ online reviews have conversion rates 50% higher (or more) than those with 0 reviews (Capterra, Revoo)
  • 22% of people decide not to buy after reading one bad review (Moz)
Referral Candy Word of Mouth Sales Generated
PC: Referral Candy

It’s clear than online reviews matter. But why do they make such a difference?

The answer is fairly simple.

Most of us are hesitant to try new things, because we want to protect ourselves from potentially bad experiences. So we turn to others to help us make good choices.

A good review confirms that your business is okay to work with, while a bad review tells people to find another option. Not everyone listens, but most do.

Good reviews also help you rank higher in search results (both on search engines and specific platforms), while bad reviews will make it harder for people to find you.

So, where should you get reviews?

Between the millions of websites and platforms out there, how can you possibly get people saying good things about you on each one?

Well, you probably can’t, and that’s okay. In fact, the number of review options doesn’t matter.

The best thing for you to do is to get as many reviews as possible on the one website where your targets are most likely to find you.

Text Request Mobile Listing

So, where is that?

You’ve probably learned whether customers find you through Google search, browsing on Facebook, Amazon, referrals, or another channel. If you don’t know, just ask your customers.

Find out where most of your customers come from, and focus on getting reviews there first. (If you’re really not sure, just start with Google or Faceboook.)

After you get enough reviews on that one platform to make you happy (say, 50), then you can move on to another, and so on.

How to Get Started

Claim Your Listing

In order to get reviews on a particular platform, you need a verified listing. A verified listing just tells people you’re a legitimate company, and that [this] is a legitimate place to learn more about you.

If you don’t already have a verified listing (or profile), here are guides and registration pages for 12 major platforms.

Get Your Review Link

Once you’ve verified your listing on a platform, you can start getting reviews there. You just need to get your review link.

For most platforms, your review link will be the same URL as your business listing, or it might be a specific review page under your listing (e.g. website.com/yourbiz or website.com/yourbiz/reviews).

You can just go to that page, copy the URL from your browser, and paste it into the message you send to customers when you ask them to give you a review.

However, a few places handle things differently, notably Google My Business and Amazon. Here are specific guides for creating your review link on these each.

In some cases, there’s an option to create a review link that pre-fills 5-stars. This guide wouldn’t be complete without me mentioning this option, but I also wouldn’t recommend it.

Pre-filling a review for customers defeats the purpose of a review, which is to share useful feedback. It also falls into a moral grey area, and could backfire if people catch on (which they will).

What we want to do is foster genuine feedback that tells everyone you’re good to work with. The steps below will help you do this.

How to Get More 5-Star Online Reviews

Step 1: Provide something amazing.

If you want people to say good things about you, you first have to give them something good to talk about. And if you want to get 5-star online reviews, then you have to give them something great.

Whatever industry you’re in, you need to create experiences that makes customers think “Oh! I really like that.”

Customer Experience Quote

You can do this by building the best product on the market, or by providing the best service in your industry.

You can do this through fast, empathetic, and friendly customer service, or by making your website easy to find and easy to navigate.

For more ideas, view these tips to providing a great customer experience.

When you create experiences that make customers think “I really like that,” they’ll have no problem telling others about it. All you have to do is ask.

Step 2: Actually ask for the review.

When you need a friend to do a favor for you, do you ask them? You know there’s a small chance (if any) that they’ll guess what you need and volunteer to do it, so you bring it up yourself.

Reviews work the same way.

Sometimes people will talk about you just because they want to, but usually you need to give them a little nudge. You need to ask customers for reviews.

How should you ask?

I’ll show you examples of what to say in the next section, but it’s good to do five things when you ask a customer to review your business.

1. Be appreciative.

You’re asking someone to help you out, so share how thankful you are to have them as a customer. Also thank them for their feedback after they give you a review (whether it’s good or bad).

2. Show them how their review helps.

What do reviews do for your business? We know they at least help you be found, and probably help you get more customers.

Reviews can also give you the feedback you need to make customers’ experiences better. Share how important all of this is to you. (Many will want to help!)

3. Keep it simple.

The more straightforward your messaging, the better. Most people will give you 10-15 seconds before deciding to tune out, so keep your ask short and sweet.

4. Disclose any incentives.

Sometimes offering a few dollars or a small gift will encourage more customers to give you reviews. But if you offer anything other than a thank-you, that information needs to be fully disclosed with each customer. You can read more about disclosures here.

5. Include the link!

Always include the link where people can leave a review. You want customers to see your message, click the link, and leave a review without having to take any unnecessary steps.

Which communications channel should you use to ask?

People communicate in many different ways, and you’ll be able to get more 5-star online reviews by being just as flexible.

For instance, some people prefer to communicate via text, while some prefer Twitter, others prefer email, and some even prefer postcards or being asked in person.

(Fun fact: Texts normally get ~36% click-through rate.)

Since people communicate in so many different ways, you’ll get more reviews by reaching out to customers through multiple channels. If a customer doesn’t pay attention to one channel, it’s okay, because you’re reaching out through others, too.

It’s also helpful to reach out two or three times (if they don’t give you a review after you ask the first time). People won’t always do something the first time they’re asked, and an extra nudge can go a long way.

Related: 15 Unique Conversation Starters to Drive Customer Communications

Automation vs. Personal Outreach

Many businesses like to automate anything they can to save time, energy, and money.

Asking for reviews is certainly something that can be automated (through email drip campaigns, triggered text messages, and other options), but these automations will not be as effective for getting 5-star reviews as sending a personal text or asking in person.

When you ask someone to review your business, you’re asking them to give you their stamp of approval – and to show it off to the world. If you want people to personally recommend you, it helps to first be personal with them.

Automations might work for you just by being more efficient, but the chances of you getting more 5-star reviews increases significantly when you personally communicate with customers and build relationships with them.

A Couple of Examples

As long as you include the five characteristics above, you can ask for reviews in whatever way fits your business and your voice. Here are a couple of examples to help guide you.

Ex. #1: The Quick Reply

We’re always following up with our Text Request customers to see how they’re enjoying the service, and if there’s anything else we can do for them.

When things are going well, we ask them to share it on Google, like in the image below. These messages keep the conversation personal, show our appreciation, and make it easy for customers to take the next step.

Leave a review text message

Ex. #2: Mass Outreach

Emailing your customers (or top customers) is easy, and lets you include more info, like in the image below. You can send these emails out in a “blast,” or hand select who to send them to.

Just be sure not to include too much info, or no one will read it. You might also need to send these emails multiple times to get a response.

Grade.us Ask for Review Email Template
PC: Grade.us

Step 3: Monitor feedback.

Your job doesn’t end when you ask someone for a review. Follow-through is key to getting 5 stars again and again. Every time you get a new review, do these three things.

1. Thank the person for their review.

Whether the review is good or bad, always thank the person for their feedback. It shows appreciation, and strengthens the relationship they have with you and your business.

2. Reply to their review.

You can thank the person privately, but it’s also good to reply publicly. Most platforms will let you reply to or comment on reviews.

If you get a great, 5-star review (which is the goal), you can reply with thanks, which also shows potential customers that you care. I’ll cover how to handle bad reviews in the next section.

Text Request Google Review Screenshot

3. Keep your promise.

If you told customers you’d give them something for leaving a review, you need to actually give it to them! Otherwise, you’ve broken a promise, which can and will backfire for everyone to see.

As an added tip, you can take all the 5-star reviews you get, and show them off on your website, in your ads, or anywhere else people might find you.

For instance, I took a screenshot of a Google review, and included it in this blog post (above).

This allows you to take advantage of “social proof” everywhere people find your business, without having to put time and effort into getting reviews everywhere.

How to Turn a Bad Review Into a Good One

At some point, no matter what you do, you’re going to get a bad review. That’s okay! What really matters is how you handle it.

Should you get mad and retaliate?

No!

Instead, follow these simple steps:

1. Thank the person for their feedback, preferably by replying to their review, so everyone can see how you respond to customer complaints.

2. Tell them you’ll do everything you can to fix or improve the situation.

3. Actually do everything you can to fix or improve the situation.

4. Follow up with that person when an update or solution is available (by replying to their review and reaching out privately).

5. Compensate the person for their troubles (e.g. replace a defunct product with an upgraded one, give them a discount, etc.).

6. Privately ask the person if they’d consider updating their review, perhaps from “I have this problem,” to “I had this problem, and here’s what they did to fix it.” This will better represent the situation, and will likely make everyone look better.

Additional Tip: Be active and engaging all the time.

When you’re active online and communicating with customers regularly, you’re fostering engagement and building relationships with them.

The more you do, the easier it will be to get reviews, and the better those reviews will be. For more info, view this guide to engaging customers better.

Let’s wrap this up.

You probably want more customers saying good things to other people about your business. Research also shows that reviews play a leading role in a company’s ability to get new customers.

Leverage great experiences and customer relationships to get more 5-star online reviews, and focus on getting those reviews on the one platform where potential customers are most likely to find you.

As you get more reviews, it will be easier to get even more reviews and more customers. What more could you want?

Related: 10 Ways to Make Life at Work Substantially Easier

Why Would Your Business Ever Place Someone on Hold?

Why Would You Ever Place Someone on Hold

Businesses, I’ve got a bone to pick with you. We spend 20 minutes a week on hold. (Tweet this!)

That’s over 43 days of our lives(!) spent listening to low quality audio and automated messages telling us how “important” we are to your company. Have you ever noticed the irony in that?

“Thank you for holding. Your call is important to us. That’s why we’re not bothering to have anyone available to speak with you.”

Waiting on hold is a joke.

Waiting On Hold Ecard

Some of you agree. Some of think this is aggressive, that 20 minutes a week isn’t that big of a deal, and that we should all have a little more patience.

That’s absurd.

It’s unnecessary! 

There are a dozen other ways to handle customers without eating away at people’s lives.

What happens when you leave customers waiting on hold?

Consumers today expect immediacy, and why shouldn’t we?

Nearly any wish can be granted at the snap of a finger. That’s not being entitled, that’s technological advancement. Use it!

Waiting and being patient is not a big deal. Waiting on hold for 10 seconds while you pull up a file is not a big deal.

But here’s what is a big deal. Here’s how much you’re hurting your business by placing people on hold.

Lost Business Cartoon

86% of phone calls to businesses are placed on hold. 86%! Who is that good for? (Absolutely no one, say it again!)

What’s worse is that 32% of those callers hang up immediately when you place them on hold. (Tweet this!)

How many of those were potential customers? How many of those just went to the next business on the list to work with?

Related: 4 Effortless Business Texting Strategies to Increase Sales

So 86% of calls you answer are placed on hold, and 32% of them hang up immediately.

But.

An additional 58% of those callers you’ve placed on hold will hang up within 5 minutes.

All-in, 90% of people you place on hold hang up within 5 minutes of waiting. Who is that good for? (Tweet this!)

Here’s a great (terrible?) example from someone in our office, and the motivation behind this piece.

Matt Waiting on Hold Screen Shot

How is that acceptable?

It shouldn’t be! You’re missing out on business.

You’re hurting your own reputation. And you’re encouraging all of those callers to work with your competitors!

Is there a solution to waiting on hold?

Technology is a beautiful thing, and services like call waiting and automated navigation can really increase “efficiency.” But at what cost?

It’s a terrible experience for customers, and that’s devastating to your bottom line.

Every business has their reasons for and ways of justifying placing people on hold, but it’s unnecessary.

Use email. Use live chat. Let them text you. Hire more people to field calls!

The numbers don’t lie, and the fact that every single person understands this terrible customer experience is a testament that it shouldn’t happen.

Who is it good for?

Related: 8 Benefits of Texting for Business That You Desperately Need

Want People to Spend More? Be More Convenient

How Does Being More Convenient Get Customers to Spend More

People regularly spend more for convenience. So if you want customers to spend more with you, you need to be more convenient!

Quick Case Studies

The average adult spends 60% of their food budget eating out. Why?

Because eating out is more convenient than going to the grocery store, picking out ingredients, going home, and preparing the food yourself.

Sure, eating out costs more. But it’s more convenient.

That why the fast food industry in America generated $200 billion in 2015!

Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on convenience every year, and that’s just when it comes to food!

What about home cleaning or landscaping?

You could do it yourself, but it’s more convenient to hire someone to do it for you. The same goes for business services like marketing, advertising, and web design.

You could learn the ins and outs yourself, but why not pay someone else to do it for you?

Consumers Always Looking for Easier Way

How about your taxes? Would you rather hire an accountant, or learn all 75,000 pages of the American tax code?

Which gas station will you go to? Probably the one that’s easiest to get to.

Research shows us that our brains will always naturally choose the past of least resistance. People – viewers, users, potential customers, everyone – will naturally choose the most convenient way to get what they need.

This means your business has to be two things:

  • Convenient to reach, and
  • Convenient to use

Customers will spend more if you’re more convenient to find and access.

Why have retail businesses always paid more in overhead to be in higher traffic areas?

The answer is obvious, right? If more people can find your business more easily, you’ll earn more money.

There’s value in visibility. Luckily, digital makes this relatively easy.

Hide Dead Body Page 2 Google Search Results

There are several different ways to make it easier for people to find you online.

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Pay per click (PPC) Google ads
  • Facebook ads
  • Guest blogs
  • Any social media or networking platform

Non-Location Specific Example

Let’s say you’re not a location-specific business. People are searching for what you do.

They get on Google, and they search for a solution that your business provides. But a lot of other businesses provide a solution, too. So why should a consumer look for your business in particular?

They shouldn’t.

They’ll click on the first result that looks promising, because that’s what’s most convenient. Maybe that’s whoever has the top Google Ads slot for that search, or maybe it’s the blog post that ranks highest.

Related: Mobile Mary: A Complete Guide for Marketing to Millennials

If you want to be more convenient so that more customers will spend more money with you, you need to aim for these top slots (either using SEO or PPC/SEM).

Advance Web Ranking Dec 2016 Google Search Results Click Through Rate CTR
PC: Advanced Web Ranking — Interactive Chart

For example, if you’re a retail company who’s just released a new line of sundresses, you might pay for Google Ads to searches containing the phrase “sundress,” or “sundresses,” or “knee length sundresses,” or “yellow sundresses.”

Location Specific Example

If you are a location-based business, then maybe you want to focus on keywords specifically for your area.

For instance, marketing agencies and accounting firms could work with anyone anywhere, but they tend to focus within their own region.

So if you’re a local marketing agency, you might want to focus on key phrases like “Chattanooga marketing agency” or “marketing agencies in Chattanooga.”

Related: 5 Essential Tips for Successful SMS Lead Generation

What would people search for to find your business?

Other Options

Another way to be convenient to find and access is simply to be everywhere.

How’s your social media presence? How’s your blog? How easy is it for me to stumble upon you?

Think With Google Mobile Buyer Journey
Source

Here’s a list of platforms you should consider being active on:

  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Google+
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Quora, among others

The easier it is for people to find you (online or off), the more chances you’ll have to gain customers and grow your business.

People spend more for convenience because it’s easier. If you want more people paying you more money, you’ve got to be easier to find and to access.

People will spend more if you’re more convenient to use.

It all comes down to the customer experience.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a cheap razor or high-end software, people want products that are easier to use. No one’s interested in making their life more complicated!

Even if you have a necessary product, you still need to pay attention to the user experience. If you don’t, someone else will.

How can you improve the customer experience?

There’s a lot that goes into a great customer experience. The biggest piece might be: Don’t make anyone have to think.

Mark Cuban Customer Experience Quote

If someone shows up to your website, what they’re looking for should be plain as day in front of them. Users should never be more than a click away from an answer.

Do you know what your targets are looking for?

Related: 8 Benefits of Texting for Business That You Desperately Need

When people have to look around and constantly reevaluate, you’re not giving them the path of least resistance. This will always create a bad customer experience.

Being more convenient to use means streamlining everything. How easy is it to view your products? What about pricing?

How long (and how many clicks) would it take me to buy something from your site? Once I’m using your product, does it actually make my life easier? Is it something I look forward to using?

These are the questions you need to address.

Bringing It Together

There’s always a way to make things easier. Whatever your product, service, or sales funnel, that has to be your mantra.

There’s always a way to make it easier.

People spend more for convenience. If you want to people to spend more with you (and not your competitors), it needs to be easier to find you, and you need to simplify the user experience.

Related: 7 Simple Steps to Quickly Convert More Online Leads

Customer Experience Questions You Absolutely Need to Answer

Customer Experience Questions

Customer experience is crucial to every part of your business, from finding your targets to keeping existing customers happy. You need to make sure your customer experience is top notch. You and your team need to have solid answers to all of these customer experience questions.

How do customers find you?

Our customer experience questions begin with consumers coming to you. What a dream! Billions of people use the internet everyday. They’re all doing different things, looking for different things, viewing different channels, and interacting with different brands. Consumers are discovering new brands in myriad ways everyday. How do customers find you?

Let’s be very specific here. The question is not “where does your website traffic come from?” The question is “how do customers find you?”  What you want is to increase the amount of visitors that convert. Where do the people who convert come from? You should be able to answer this by checking your analytics. If you don’t have any analytics yet, you can easily add Google Analytics to your site for free.

You might get an enormous amount of traffic from Facebook, but do they convert at all? Maybe your highest conversion rates come from sponsored blogs. Why don’t you focus there? If you’re present and prevalent on any digital medium, you’re going to have people engaging with you. But what you need to focus on is where those engagements turn into money in your pocket. How do customers find you?

What are they interested in?

“They” really means two groups of people. What are people interested in when they find you and engage with you? Anytime you get a call, email, text, live chat, click-through, trial, sign-up, etc., you’re given insight into what consumers are looking for. A very important question that shows up here is: What are consumers interested in that you’re not currently providing? And should you be providing that?

For instance, we created an online texting SaaS for businesses, where we provide a local area code number for all users to text back-and-forth at will. Over time we found that people were also interested in adding text capabilities to their existing landline/business number. So we made that an option. We paid attention to what our targets were interested in, and that change has worked out very well for us.

The other “they” refers to your current customers and users. What part of your service do they find most valuable? What part do they use the most? And then how are you optimizing that interest? For instance, Instagram was initially a location check-in app similar to FourSquare, and went by the name Burbn. Founders noted that the most used feature was the app’s photo tool. The team took that interest, and transformed into the ultra-successful company they are today by matching customer experience with customer interest.

When you look at consumers checking out your service, what do they want? When you pay attention to your current customers, what are they using? What do they want?

What Do You Want Notebook

Why do customers leave you?

It doesn’t matter how great you, your company, your product, or your customer service is, you’re going to lose people. Something will happen – not necessarily your fault – or someone else will come along, and you’ll lose customers. Big deal, right? You can’t please everyone! That’s true. But you can please most.

Why would someone leave your company? What steps can you reasonably take to keep more customers around for longer? What changes could you make to your pricing? What features can you tweak or add? What steps could you improve? How could you better handle customer complaints? It is impossible to make everyone happy. But it’s also your job to analyze why someone would stop being your customer, and do everything in your power to prevent that from happening again.

How do people choose to interact with you?

It’s very common to see a business try to funnel all communications through a single channel, such as an email inbox or call center. But how many people – consumers or customers – actually prefer either of those channels? As a brand, your duty is to ensure that every experience with you is better than any experience they could have with one of your competitors. Is that currently the case?

How do you handle social media? How do you handle texts? How do you handle live chats? Do you use these options at all in addition to emails and calls? If each of these avenues isn’t open for consumers and customers, you’ll never be able to learn how your targets prefer to interact with you. And you need to be able to handle an entire conversation in one place. Who really wants to leave a comment on Facebook only to be told to call an 800 number? Determining how your audience prefers to communicate and interact with you is crucial to providing the best customer experience.

Have you worked through these customer experience questions? Do you have solid answers for each? If not, you need to take action, especially before your competitors. You and your team need to sit down, iron out, and prepare a strategy focusing on these customer experience questions.

3 Helpful Ways to Get Customers to Spend More with Your Business

Helpful Ways to Get Customers to Spend More with Your Business

What business wouldn’t want customers willing to spend more with them? The real question is: How do you make it happen?

People pay more for better experiences. It’s that simple. If you want customers to spend more, you’ve got to provide a better experience than your competitors.

What does this look like in practice? We’ll take you through 3 examples you can steal for your own business!

1. Create a whole new world.

Every year, Disney Parks raises their prices. And every year, more people pay those higher prices to visit the parks, hold conferences, spend time with their family, eat out, and create memories.

Why?

Because the Disney experience is like no other! Anywhere on Disney’s sprawling campus, you’re enveloped by a unique experience. The magic and the customer-first mentality permeate every step. You’re placed entirely in that world!

Disney Being Magical - Wall-E Trailor
Disney Being Magical – PC: Mark Levin

Disney gets customers to spend more, because they provide the ultimate vacation experience – leaving real life for a whole new world.

Related: 11 Digital Marketing Basics You Need to Eat and Breathe to Succeed

By creating another world for customers to live in – be it through a physical location, content, or some other tactic – you can provide an experience that’s unique, and that’s better than anything your competitors can offer.

How can you create another world for your brand? How can you envelope customers in a unique experience?

2. Give everyone the royal treatment.

Virgin Atlantic had no business -well – being in business when Richard Branson wanted to start a new airline in 1984. It was a crowded market with a high barrier to entry, and even Virgin’s board was split over the idea!

Related: 3 Simple Steps to Provide the Customer Experience Millennials Want

Virgin couldn’t compete with legacy brands in terms of routes, so they gave every customer the royal treatment. Every customer had access to the airline’s lounge, which hosted free meals, drinks – the whole nine.

Passengers got chauffeur service to/from the airport without paying First Class prices. Those same customers also got calls from Mr. Branson himself to check in on the experience and hear feedback.

Virgin Atlantic created the best customer experience in the business, even as this tiny new airline, and quickly began stealing customers from larger brands.

Richard Branson Customer Expectations Quote

They got customers to spend more with them by treating each customer like royalty, something Branson has called the Velvet Rope Experience.

Creating better customer service obviously costs more upfront, but it creates a better experience that customers are willing to spend money on, and come back for over and over.

Related: 3 Easy Business SMS Strategies to Increase Customer Retention and Value

3. Make customers’ lives easier.

Why has Quickbooks become the leading small business accounting software?

Because they’ve created tools that make the lives and jobs of their customers easier. And because they’ve made things easier, customers are more willing to spend money with them.

There’s always a way to make things easier for customers, from the buying process to the day-to-day user experience to how easy you are to find and work with.

All of this is part of the customer experience, and people pay more for better experiences.

Text Request Don't Waste Time on Hold Text Us

What can you do with your products and customer service to make people’s lives and jobs easier? Doing this will help you get customers to spend more with your business.

Wrapping Up

If you want customers to spend more with your business, you’ve got to do at least 1 of 3 things.

  • Create a new world for customers to surround themselves in
  • Treat every customer like they are uniquely special, or
  • Make customers’ lives and jobs easier 

To get customers to spend more with your business, you’ve got to create great experiences that people will want to pay for! The better the experience you provide over and over, the more people will be willing to spend.

So what can you do to create better experiences?

Related: 9 Powerful Ways to Grow Your Brand Through Small Business Texting

4 Alternatives to Missing Phone Calls and Losing Business

Alternatives to Missing Phone Calls and Losing Business

Every phone call is a chance to grow your business, which means missing phone calls is a surefire way to lose business. Unfortunately, no one can answer every call. So what can you do?

How much business is lost by missing phone calls?

Of phone calls to businesses that are answered, 86% are placed on hold.

32% of those placed on hold hang up immediately, and since every call is a chance to grow your business – either through sales or great service – this means you’re missing out on just over 25% of your potential!

Thankfully, there are solutions to this problem. Here are 4 alternatives to missing phone calls and losing business that you should consider implementing.

1. Hire more people.

If you can’t handle all the calls you get, it’s probably good to hire another person to help you handle those calls. More employees means higher overhead, but getting back 25% of your potential would be worth it, right?

Lost Business Cartoon

Every business is different, but I’d guess that between the relatively low wage you’d pay someone to monitor the phone and all the value those extra calls would bring, you’d be better off with more people.

Plus, if any of those calls lead to more money for your business, then this new hire is helping your business grow while making sure your competitors don’t.

2. Encourage people to email you instead of call.

Can’t handle enough calls? Have people email you! That’s simple, right?

But if you want people to email you instead of call, you have to make sure you can answer every single one of those emails quickly. Why do people choose to call, anyway? Because they want a quick answer.

Related: How Many Emails Do People Get Every Day?

Taking the average 6+ hours to respond to someone’s email is way too long. And taking too long might even raise your call volume. That’s not what you want! 

The reality is that most emails aren’t read, so you need to make sure your staff is constantly on point if you want email to be your go-to inbound communications channel.

Losing Business by Missing Phone Calls

3. What about live chat?

Live chat is a great option that allows people to get answers quickly, though it doesn’t provide much mobility, which is something consumers today crave.

With another instant gratification offer like live chat, you’ll be able to reduce the number of calls you get, handle more conversations simultaneously, and bring in more business that you would’ve otherwise lost by missing phone calls.

Related: Texting vs. Live Chat: Customer Service Pros and Cons

All-in-all, live chat is a good option to have whether or not you’re suffering from too many calls. Although, we’d also recommend you go with a mobile-first option that more people can take advantage of.

4. Most people would rather text, anyway.

Texting is a great way to stand out, because it’s not something all your competitors do already (probably). Texting as an inbound communications channel also creates a great mobile experience for your audience.

Consumers Want Mobile Personal Communication

We all want to resolve our issues ASAP, and texting is about as instant as it gets. It also allows people to go on about their day instead of waiting on hold.

Plus, one employee can handle multiple text conversations simultaneously, which can’t be done well with phone calls. Texting is a great tool, and there are at least 8 reasons why texting is crucial to business communication.

Finishing Touches

Every phone call is a chance to grow your business, but too many businesses miss too many calls! Yet this doesn’t have to happen to you.

Follow one (or all four) of these alternatives to missing phone calls and losing business, and you’ll be able to regain more than 25% of your lost potential! The only people who wouldn’t want that are your competitors.

Related: 9 Powerful Ways to Grow Your Brand Through Small Business Texting

Your Customers Want to Be Able to Text Your Business

Your Customers Want to Be Able to Text Your Business

Your customers want to be able to text your business. How do we know?

The average cell phone owner under 45y.o. sends and receives about 85 texts every day! We spend over 4 hours a day on our mobile phones, and very little of that time is used for phone calls.

Related: How Many Texts Do People Send Every Day?

People texting with people is a staple of everyday communication. It’s just what we do!

Want to catch up with family? Text. Need a report finished? Text. Confirming a meeting? Text. Seeing if so-and-so wants to do dinner? Text.

The go-to form of communication for the majority of the world’s population is text messaging.

So where does texting fit into business communication?

Many businesses use automated marketing texts, but where’s the conversation with a real personWe communicate through conversations. Businesses should as well.

Texting doesn’t just offer a better experience, it also meets a need. Millions of people are dissatisfied with their current service options!

89% of consumers want another customer service option. 79% are unhappy with what’s currently provided to them. And at least 78% of people who text wish they could have a text conversation with a business.

Related: What’s the Most Popular Form of Communication in 2017? It’s Still Texting

As a business, you know you need to give customers what they want. Otherwise, they won’t work with you!

What most customers want these days is an easier way to do and get more. So give them an easier way to communicate with you!

Your Customers Want to Be Able to Text Your Business

Most website traffic comes from mobile devices. When someone’s viewing your website on their smartphone, how great would it be to just click a button that opened a text addressed to your business?

It’d be awesome! And it’s easy to do.

Related: What is Click-to-Text and How Can My Business Use It?

There are two main benefits of a “Click-to-Text” button your website.

1. People prefer texting, because they can do it as much as they want on their own time, without it interrupting their day.

2. Customers hate waiting on hold, and it takes businesses far too long to respond to emails.

Most people want real-time conversations, and love the flexibility that texting brings.

Most people want another option for customer support, and texting is the most popular form of communication. Your customers want to be able to text your business. Can they?

Billions of conversations happen through text every day. The overwhelming majority of consumers are currently unhappy with customer service options. They want to text with your business.

Click here to learn more about business texting

Related: 8 Reasons Why Texting is Crucial to Business Communication

How to Earn Nearly 50% More Money From Your Customers

How to Get More Money From Your Customers

You want to earn more money from your customers, right? You want to be the best person and business in your niche, and you want to grow!

A significant part of this growth is maximizing customer value. As your average customer value increases, so will everything else. 

But how do you maximize customer value, and how exactly does that help you earn more money from your customers? 

Think about your relationships with friends and family.

Related: 3 Easy Business SMS Strategies to Increase Customer Retention & Value

You talk with your friends and family regularly. You go out together, help each other move, and even buy gifts for each other. You’re willing to do a lot for these people, because you’re close.

So how can you create a similar relationship with your customers? Because that’s the goal.

Representation Customer Journey

Obviously you can’t be best friends with every single one of your customers, but you can build genuine relationships with them. You can be more helpful and offer better experiences than your competition.

And that’s where the money comes from.

Nurtured leads” – potential customers you or your brand have built relationships with – will spend 47% more with your brand, on average, than leads you haven’t built relationships with.

What a powerful phenomenon!

Here’s an example of lead nurturing that you’ve probably experienced.

You like using Amazon because it’s quick, and because you don’t have to leave your seat to get what you want.

Related: 4 Effortless Business Texting Strategies to Increase Sales

You could pick up the exact same item from Walmart or Barnes&Noble or Lowe’s and not have to wait (or pay) for shipping. In some cases, you might even save money by not using Amazon!

But if you’re like most people, you go back to Amazon again and again. Why?

Because they’re constantly nurturing you.

Text Request Nurtured Leads Make Larger Purchases

Every time you click on an item, you’ll notice that Amazon recommends other, similar items. They see you’ve bought one thing, and refer another item (or several) they think you’ll also enjoy.

After purchasing, you get emails and follow-ups recommending other products to try. Amazon stays with you, and slowly builds a stronger and stronger relationship with you.

Because of this nurturing, you spend a lot more on Amazon goods, and a lot less at other places.

Most businesses, particularly small businesses, rely on direct communication to build relationships with customers. They don’t have the scale (or the budget) for these automated, machine learning recommendations.

Related: 7 Simple Steps to Quickly Convert More Online Leads

But they still try to build some relationships. Maybe it’s through the sales team, or through local networking events, or even through email newsletters.

But is there a best way to build customer relationships? Their might be. There’s at least something you could add to your communications that will help.

Think about how you communicate with your friends and family. What could also apply to your customers?

You can’t always meet face-to-face with customers, though that’s certainly valuable. You might interact with them on social media. But one way to build these relationships and nurture your leads is to text with them.

You text with your friends and family all the time, don’t you? So why not text with your customers, too?

Related: What Does It Mean to “Text Like You Text Your Friends”?

Let’s say a lead comes in from an email, online form, text, signup sheet, or anywhere. You can easily follow-up with that lead by sending them a text.

And you can text for anything!

You can share information quickly, you can touch base down the road, you can offer great service, and more!

What’s more, texting creates an open line of communication with leads and customers – the same line normally reserved for friends and family.

This is inevitably creates a special connection, and will help you earn more money from your customers.

Keep Calm and Text Friends

Texting is not the only valuable communications tool. But it goes hand-in-hand with establishing and building relationships. Texting is easy, it’s personal, and it’s natural.

By doing something as powerfully simple as texting with your leads and customers, you’re furthering relationships and growing your brand.

You’re nurturing leads. You’re providing better service, and you’re standing out from the competition.

By texting with your leads, you’ll be able to command more of their dollars, and ensure your business is their go-to choice. Who wouldn’t want that?

Related: 8 Reasons Why Texting is Crucial to Business Communication

Why Customers Are Sick of Your Automated Services

Text Request Customer Dissatisfied with Automated Services

A person’s needs can’t be automated, and your automated services are causing tension.

But a trend of the last decade has been to automate as many business practices as possible! Yes, it’s important for businesses to continually become more efficient. But at what cost?

Is losing customers worth it?

As social media has become synonymous with daily life, and as a backlash to the business world’s focus on automation, people have become sick and tired of being treated as just another number! 

We want to be personal.

You might provide the best products and services in the industry, but consumers really don’t care unless you provide them with a positive and personal experience.

The famed quote by Teddy Roosevelt applies well here:

Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

We want businesses to care about us. Is that so much to ask?

Your automated services often hinder our need to be human and relational, which hurts you if you’re a small business. But it doesn’t have to be this way!

Teddy Roosevelt Nobody Cares How Much You Know

Phone Services

Why would you have your computer auto-dial me? If I’m courteous enough to let you interrupt my workday by answering the phone, I deserve to speak to a human.

You know what I do when I get an auto-dial? I wait for the name of the company to come up, and make a point not to do business with that company. They clearly don’t care about me.

When I need customer service, please don’t make me sift through “press 1 if… press 2 if… speak the topic of your need… I’m sorry, please say that again…”

Related: 3 Easy Business SMS Strategies to Increase Customer Retention & Value

Did you know that the average person spends over an hour every week waiting on hold, and trying to deal with these fickle services? That’s insane!

The least you could do is add department extensions to your About Us page. But you don’t. And I’m not going to let you waste my life anymore.

I’m going to do business with a company that treats me like a friend.

Emails

Email marketing campaigns can be very effective, but you should at least make it relevant. Can you make some effort to connect with me as a person instead of as just another transaction?

I bought my wife a necklace. That doesn’t mean I care about the new women’s fall line.

I downloaded one of your ebooks for the helpful research. That doesn’t mean I want to pay hundreds of dollars a month for your services.

GraphicSprings Email Marketing Infographic

But then, what if I need to email your business? What if I want to get in touch with you?

Oh, all your incoming emails go to the same inbox, and now I don’t know how to directly reach someone who can quickly help me?

Related: 15 Reasons Why I Didn’t Reply to Your Email (& How to Improve)

I’ll gladly go with that competitor who helps me with personal communication and relevant information, because they seem to actually care.

Website Experience

How easy is it for me to navigate through your site and solve my problems? Or is it just a poster for your sales pitch?

I don’t care how great your product is if I’m just a data point traveling through your sales funnel. How easy is it for me to contact you if I need to?

Related:7 Simple Steps to Quickly Convert More Online Leads

How quickly can you respond to my needs? How helpful are you?

Do you want me to just call your call center? We’ve already been over that – I’m not going to let you waste my personal time like that anymore.

Thank heavens companies are finally adopting live chat and real-time texting features!

Mark Cuban Customer Experience Quote

Customer Journey

2/3 of the customer buying journey now takes place before any human contact. And you’re the reason why! You’ve pushed us away with your inconvenient service.

I’m your customer. I matter, right?

I hope you think so, I pay your bills! Doesn’t that mean it should be easy for me to work with you?

Consumers want personal experiences. We want personal service.

Stop with the automated services, and let me interact with a human, who talks like a human, who has inflection and emotions like a human.

The reason why customers don’t like your automated services is because they’ve let us down. We want businesses to treat us like we’re friends, not data.

Can we be friends again, Businesses?

Related:Where Does Mobile Fit in the Customer Buying Journey?

3 Simple Steps to Provide the Customer Experience Millennials Want

Text Request Customer Experience for Millennials

Customer experience is one heck of a buzzword these days, particularly when it comes to web development. We get it – if you don’t give customers what they want, they won’t be your customers.

But how do you improve your business’s customer experience? What do people want, anyway?

Creating a better customer experience is primarily about streamlining the decision-making process. You want to make it easier for viewers to find what they need and understand what you do.

Amazon, for instance, has done this really well through their one-click purchase option. They also offer tailored recommendations based on items you’ve already viewed or purchased.

You don’t have to think!

Everything you want or need is placed right in front of you, and with one click, you’ve bought it.

Super simple.

Consumers Always Looking for Easier Way

Customers love that! Amazon’s ease and simplicity creates a better customer experience.

But most products and services take more than an image and a purchase button to sell. So put yourself in your customers’ shoes. 

When a potential customer goes to your website, what are they looking for? What do they want to find?

1. Provide relevant and straightforward information.

Currently, about 60% of the buying process happens without any human contact. And it’s predicted that 80% of the buying process will happen without human contact by 2020.

In other words, people are more interested in doing the research and comparing products themselves. We’d rather not reach out to sales or customer support reps.

But there’s a problem.

A lot can go wrong in that 60%-80% of the journey! And the last thing you want is to lose customers because your website’s too difficult to understand.

Representation Customer Journey

It’s surprisingly common for a business to describe what they do on their homepage, but to never tell you what they can actually do for you. You don’t want to be one of those businesses.

Related: The 2 Questions Everyone Asks Before Making a Purchase

You want to be clear and straightforward, because that makes it easier for customers to go farther in the buying process faster.

So drop the marketing speak. When customers show up to your website, tell them up front exactly what you are and do, even if it seems dry.

2. Don’t make viewers have to think.

A lot of this can be resolved by your homepage navigation.

It’s simply having the right tabs and pages vividly displayed on your site, or having items in the right order as viewers scroll down the page. An easy search function never hurt anyone either.

Think like your customer. “Okay, so I know exactly what you do (because you listened to point 1). Now I want to see if you provide everything I’m looking for.”

Where are your features and benefits? Or your pricing?

The first thing customers do when looking to purchase is compare products. So show them your products or services! If you hide your details, how can you expect viewers to trust you?

(An exception to this could be quote-based businesses, where you can’t give a flat rate or estimate, because every case is so different.)

Mark Cuban Customer Experience Quote

Viewers – especially Millennials – are not going to call you or schedule a demo to find out what you’re hiding. That’s too much effort!

To create a better customer experience, keep viewers from having to think. Make sure the information people want and need is easy to see.

3. Conveniently answer viewers’ questions.

“Convenient” doesn’t mean that you’ll give me what I want if I’m willing to wait on hold or be patient as you (hopefully) respond to my emails.

You need to conveniently answer viewers’ questions across the entire journey. Website navigation, FAQs, and simply offering up information that viewers need to help them make buying decisions are all crucial to this.

But.

It’s also important that – when viewers are ready for human contact – you make it easy for them to reach you quickly.

Related: 8 Benefits of Texting for Business That You Desperately Need

Live chat options are personal, helpful and definitely a good choice for desktop viewers. But using a business chat feature also means viewers have to stay on the same site to continue the conversation.

This can be cumbersome, especially since consumers today are mobile and always busy.

Customers On Hold Meme

You need to streamline the customer experience. That means making the right information available quickly, and making it easy for me to engage with you at my convenience.

Email, and phone calls are standards leftover from yesteryear, but fewer and fewer people are willing to use either. Waiting on hold is a nightmare, and emails usually take too long (which gives competitors time to swoop in).

If I have a question or comment, can I just text you? That way we can carry on the conversation after I’ve left your website, and in between my day’s tasks.

That way I get what I want – personal and convenient service – and you get what you want – continual engagement with a potential customer.

To create the customer experience that consumers – especially Millennials – want, make it easy. Make it easy for viewers to understand what you do, to find what they want, and to contact you when they’re ready.

For instance, you can schedule a demo with Text Request and improve your business through that orange button in the corner. It’s easy!

Related: 11 Digital Marketing Basics You Need to Eat & Breathe