How to Get More 5-Star Customer Reviews
Increasing online reviews helps your business with search engine optimization (SEO) and ranking in local searches. We’ll cover why online reviews help you bring in more leads, which review platforms matter the most to customers, and the top ways to ensure you get five-star ratings.
Why are online reviews important?
Reviews are typically the first impression you have on a customer. People want to give their money to a place that everyone is raving about—not the one no one seems to be talking about. Reviews are how they know they can expect a solid experience. That’s why most consumers will look at your and your competitors’ reviews before deciding whether or not to go to a website.
Advertisements are no longer seen as reliable to most potential customers, because they know the ad is biased toward the business that created it. A review, on the other hand, is created by other consumers who don’t have an agenda. That’s why people trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends.
Collecting reviews ensures you rank against competitors in local searches, and is a valuable part of maintaining your online reputation.
How many online reviews do you need to stand out?
The typical consumer will read 10 reviews before deciding how they feel about a business. As far as improving your search engine ranking, the amount you need to stand out will depend on how many reviews your competitors have. Most small businesses have very few, and your goal should be to out-compete them in that number.
The more reviews you collect, the better. A few reviews will always be better than none, and you need at least two for your star rating to show up on Google. The average business on Google has 39 reviews, so a solid goal to stand out would aim to get at least 50. That's surprisingly easy to do, and we'll show you exactly how to make it happen.
When should you ask for customer reviews?
Ask customers for reviews after they've had time to enjoy your product or service. For contractors, that might be as soon as the job is finished, for medical providers it might be a week after a procedure.
Reviews typically have a shelf life of a year. More and more platforms are only using reviews from the past two years, or less, for their ranking algorithm. Plus, consumers check publication dates to make sure they’re getting the most recent feedback. That means you should always be on the lookout for new customers to request reviews from, so your feedback stays up-to-date.
Having a standard process in place to collect reviews will make that happen. We’ll cover what that process could look like in our steps below.
3 Steps to Getting Positive Reviews
1. Track when new customers start working with you.
If you’re not already, using a customer relationship management (CRM) software will take all the work out of remembering how long a customer has been with you. We personally love using HubSpot to track the lifespan of our customers. Point of sale systems (POS), like Square, can also help you keep track of sales dates, so you can reference them before you ask for a review
Any data-specific database for your industry will get the job done—but we do have integrations with HubSpot and Square to set up text triggers when enough time has passed for a review.
2. Wait for the right amount of time to pass.
The wait time will vary from industry to industry, but the factor that stays the same is if the client has had enough time to enjoy their purchase.
Service-based - Catch the customer while the experience is still fresh on their mind
Product-based - Wait for the customer to have enough time using the product (your review link will also need to go directly to the specific product, rather than your business in this case)
Retail - After the unboxing or day after purchase
Contractors - Right after the job's done
Consultants - A few months—or longer—into working with you
Healthcare - The day after a visit, a week after a minor procedure, or after the recovery period
Use your discretion. You know when your customers are most excited about the work you've done or the products you've provided. That's the perfect time to ask for reviews.
Keep track of the review requests you send out, and note the times of day you see responses. Most businesses find the peak time for customers to leave feedback is 2-3pm and 6-7pm, but do whatever you discover works best for you.
3. Ask directly and plainly for the review.
Don’t beat around the bush or write a thousand-word essay. Customers respond to review requests that are short, sweet, and to the point.
“Hey [Name], how’d we do today? [link] Use that link to tell us.”
The easier it is for customers to understand how they can help you, the more likely they are to write a great review. That includes showing them exactly where they need to leave their feedback—which we’ll teach you how to do next with review links.
We recommend texting review links to customers once you have them created.
Which review platforms should you focus on?
In some cases, Google will pull reviews from other platforms, and studies show that customers will look for feedback in multiple places. The number of reviews you have across different review sites will also affect your SEO ranking. That means you need to manage your reputation across all of the important ones for your industry.
Generally, the platform your customers use the most will be your safest bet. While you don’t want to send all these review links at once to customers—you should track the platforms where you have the fewest reviews, and base the link you send with your request on that.
5 Ways to Incentivize Customer Reviews
73% of customers are motivated to leave reviews when you give them an incentive. Here are the top ones we recommend:
A discount off their next purchase or service
A free product or service (but only if you’re in the financial position to offer it)
Points for your loyalty program
Early access to new products or releases
Promote your review incentives across your website, ads, newsletters, and social media. Note that some review platforms, like Yelp, will punish your account if they catch you asking for reviews.
8 Major Review Platforms and How to Create Business Review Links On Them
Structure a link that takes consumers directly to your Amazon product’s review section by using the start of this URL:
All you need is your product’s ASIN number, which appears under your product’s detail section. Here’s an example:
Plug that ASIN number at the end of the URL above, and you’ll have a working link that takes customers exactly where they need to go. Here’s an example:
After you finish listing your business on Angi:
Go to the main dashboard of your Angi Business Center
Got to “Reviews” and select “View reviews”
Select copy link
Share the review link as needed from there.
First, we need to make sure you have reviews turned on:
Log in to your Facebook account, and go to the “Settings” section of your business page
Select “Templates and Tabs” under the new menu options that appear
Scroll down to “Reviews” and toggle them to active
Then you can copy and paste the URL in the review section of your business page to share with customers. It will look something like this:
This one is a bit different, since G2 is typically used to send your review link to satisfied customers for you. Upload the CSV file of contacts you want to contact, and then G2 does the rest of the work directly contacting them via email for a review.
Log in to G2 and go to your Admin Profile
Select “Review Campaign”
Upload the CSV file of your contacts
G2 will then send several emails asking that contact list to leave a review
Glassdoor will create a review link for you, when you follow these steps:
Log in to Glassdoor, and go to the “Employer Center”
Select “Community Reviews,” then select “Request More Reviews”
Select the “Shareable Link” option
Enter the “Campaign Name,” or what you want to call the review link
Select the type of review you want to request
Select “Generate Link”
Copy the link
The link you copied will now be live, and you can share it with employees as desired.
6. Google My Business
Google also creates the review link for you:
Log in to your Google My Business account
Select the “Home” menu option
Select the “Get more reviews” section, and copy the URL
Share your Google review link with customers as you desire.
Tripadvisor will require you to find the review link the same way you would as a traveler.
Search and find your location’s page on Tripadvisor
Scroll down to the “Contribute” section and select “Write a Review”
Copy the URL at the top of the new page that opens
This link you share will look something like this:
Yelp will require you to find the review link the same way you would as a consumer.
Search and find your business’s page on Yelp (just like you would as a consumer)
Select the “Write a Review” button
Copy the URL at the top of the new page that opens
The link should look something like this:
Note that Yelp will penalize or remove your account if they find out you're requesting reviews. We recommend only sending this link to customers who directly ask for it.
4 Essentials to Navigating Negative Reviews
First things first—don’t panic. Negative reviews are not the end of the world for your business. In fact, customers are actually hesitant to work with businesses that only have positive reviews, because it’s more realistic for there to be at least two or three bad ones.
Negative reviews also give you an opportunity to respond professionally to feedback and impress onlookers. Most people can tell if the negative reviewer is full of it or in the wrong, and you get to look like the bigger person when you respond calmly.
1. Check to see if the review is fake.
Don’t entertain fake bad reviews. Call them out publicly and flag them for take down—but only after you’re absolutely positive they’re fake.
Fake reviews will usually include:
Multiple exclamation points
Use of all CAPS
Calmly pointing out factual inconsistencies in your response to the review will show other consumers that the feedback is fake. The key is that you do it calmly. Some platforms will also let you report to remove reviews that are spam or include harsh language.
2. Welcome constructive feedback.
Legitimate negative customer feedback is an opportunity to identify any kinks you’ve missed in your system. If you have more than one negative review around the same topic, that’s a solid cue to get with your team and talk solutions. Let the customer know you’re working to solve the problem, and the onlookers will see your dedication to making improvements.
3. Gently correct misinformation or confusion.
Sometimes you’ve done nothing wrong, and the reviewer is just unreasonably upset. They didn’t do their research to fully understand what your product does, or they expect you to have a service or feature you don’t offer.
That’s not on you, and other consumers will recognize that. The key is that you stay calm, and direct the angry reviewer to the next best option you can provide. Just avoid a direct “no” or making any false promises. Staying positive is always a safe bet in reputation management. You can also explain why something is the way that it is, like:
“I can understand why you were frustrated. We do things this way because of [XYZ]. But I'll take this back to our team and see how we can improve on it.”
Acknowledge the customer’s frustration, provide a reasonable solution, then move on. Lingering on the problem can sometimes escalate things.
4. Compensate bad customer experiences.
If you know the bad review is on your team, take action. Stay calm, directly apologize, and offer something that’s feasible for your business to provide.
One of the best compensations is showing the customer you made an effort to fix the situation. Contact reviewers to let them know you took action, and they may actually edit their feedback to reflect the positive experience.
Pick a Channel and Start Collecting Your 5-Star Ratings
Follow the request steps we outlined above, and start sending your review link to happy customers!
Any communication channel will work, but we’ve found text messaging can make the largest splash when you’re trying to ramp up your 5-star reviews.