How To Get Reviews For Your Small Business

Back in the early nineties before the internet existed, there was really no reliable way to check up on a business to see if they were reputable, honest, and delivered what they promised. Sure people could call their local Chamber of Commerce or the Better Business Bureau, but that just wasn’t all that convenient so not many people did that.

Then around 1995, the internet sprang to life and started to open up the whole world to people that had a personal computer and a dial up connection with a modem. It took a while to gain traction, but by 1999 the internet craze was full blown and any company that had anything to do with the internet or technology in general, exploded in value, or at least their shares did on the stock market. This was called the technology boom which was a bubble and was followed closely by the Tech wreck in 2001 when everyone started realizing that most of these overinflated companies didn’t actually make any money and their stock prices were based only on the hope that they would make a profit in the future. Many companies saw most of their value on the stock market wiped out practically overnight – remember Nortel?

Anyway, despite all that, the internet continued to gain traction and more people were using it every year. More importantly, more companies were starting websites and showcasing their products and services. By 2005, almost all large companies had websites that they continuously improved and eventually we got to the point where you could order practically anything online from sites like Amazon, Ebay, Walmart, Best buy, and even Costco. Now when you go to one of these sites you can read reviews of the product you are about to buy from people that have already bought it, and you get to decide if you want to continue with your purchase based on that review. Isn’t that a great thing?

If you have a local business that serves customers out of a brick and mortar location like a Chiropractor, or at the customer’s location like a Construction contractor, you need to get reviews. If you think about it, and put yourself in your customer’s shoes, if they need a chiropractor, they will go to Google and search for a Chiropractor. Assuming that you are on the first page of Google, and they decide to give your business a try, they will want to read some reviews from your previous patients. If you don’t have any reviews, they may still give you a chance, but they will most likely choose a clinic that does have some good reviews.  If you have 5 positive reviews and 1 bad one, most people realize that there are some people out there that are never happy so they will ignore that bad review. The worst case scenario is if you do have reviews but they are all bad.

So how do you get reviews? First of all, in Canada you should focus most if not all of your efforts on getting Google reviews. I know that Yelp reviews do show up on the first page of Google quite often, but to leave a review, a customer has to already have a Yelp account. If they just create a Yelp account to leave a review, it will never be published because Yelp is very careful about fake reviews. That is great, but how many people do you know that have a Yelp account that they regularly use? Probably none, so none of your patients or clients will be able to leave a review that sticks. To leave a Google review, all you need is a Gmail account that you have been using for a while. Now how many people do you know that have a Gmail account? Probably lots.

There is no easy way to get your clients and patients to leave a review, but here is what has worked for us.

  1. Ask your customer to leave a Google review right after the job is done and you sense that they are happy. The last thing you want is for them to go and leave you a bad review. Just tell them to Google your business name and there should be a spot on the right hand side of the page where it says “leave a review” or “Be the first to review” and ask them for 5 stars
  2. Email them about a week later and ask them again to leave a review
  3. Ask friends or family that have used your services or products to leave a review. This one should be easy because you can be a lot more aggressive when you ask because they should want to help you, right? You can keep reminding them until they do it.

Just make sure that they use their own computers in their own homes to leave the reviews. Google can tell if two reviews are from the same computer or location and they will not publish them.