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Question What is a good way to ask customers for online reviews?

Blackcat

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
I was recently hired at a new frame shop and was curious about what kind of business reviews we have gotten online. At first I found plenty of reviews for many of the other local frame shops, but not for this one. After searching for a while, I eventually found a couple. The first one was just so-so but the second was pretty bad. I am concerned that this could be costing us some business (both from finding competitors' reviews first and then having such a bad one with no good ones to counter it).

I was wondering if anyone here asks their customers to give them reviews online? If so, how do you phrase it to them? Is any kind of incentive or reward given for a (good) review? Does anyone have an idea of how many customers come to them based on reviews they found online?
 
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Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
Don't ask. First, it is against Yelp rules. Second, if you ask a customer and she takes tiem to write a great review, it may well not "stick" on Yelp unless she is a regular reviewer. Then you will have a frustrated customer. I know firsthand. I had a customer in another state who was so thrilled with our service that she asked what she could do to spread the word. I suggested Yelp. Big mistake. She wrote a glowing reviw that was immediately taken down by Yelp because I assume she was not considered reliable. She wrote to Yelp, I wrote to Yelp, and finally she seemed annoyed with me for suggesting it.

When you do get some good reviews, you could post a link on your web site so taht other customers might get the idea. We keep testamonials on our web site here. Everyone knows they are real because they are accompanied by phones.
 

Mike Labbe

Member, Former moderator team volunteer
We get customers regularly that come in and mention they are here BECAUSE of the positive reviews. I feel that it's very effective, and a resource that I personally use when shopping online (or locally).

Most of them seem to see it on google.com, because the reviews comes up right in the search results. (Stars)

Some other great rating sites:

Insiderpages.com
Superpages.com
Yahoo.com
Citysearch.com
Yelp.com
judysbook.com
(There are probably more!)

We don't ask people to review it, though.

Mike
 

Less

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Squeaky Wheeel?

Less has been thinking about an email blast requesting customers that are pleased with framing service to write reviews if they have time.
 

johnny

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
You're not asking if it's a good thing to do or not, you're asking how to do it. So here is how to do it:

Make a small card to put in the bag or wrapping of completed work or attach to the receipt. It should say something like:

"If you are happy with our product, service and design please tell a friend! We would also appreciate a review on Google or our Facebook page! If you feel we can improve please tell me! (insert name, email and phone number of owner and state that s(he) is the owner).

It is also good if you give them another option to respond anonymously through a form on your website. This is where you can get the most honest feedback.

Only give the card to people when you think things have gone smoothly. You've met or beaten the due date. There are no scratches in the moulding or defects in the glass you willfully ignored. Even so, people are people and you may not be noticing something that is turning people off or they might be turned off for no reasonable reason. Giving them the outlet of complaining to you instead of posting it in a review helps keep the reviews clean and also helps you realize what's being perceived.

This is obviously only good advice if the owner is diplomatic.
 

MaJa

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
In the social media class I am taking, the teacher suggested if you received a poor review to ask 5 friends / customers to write one for you so the bad one goes down the list.

I'm not too smart oh the "hows" of writing a review, but a lot of our local eateries are DEPENDENT on their reviews!

I really like Johnny's idea!
 

shayla

WOW Framer
Geez. It looks like Kirstie's right. The other day, I was trying to 'like' our
local shipping store on Facebook and happened upon a very mean review
of it on Yelp. The (out of area) woman who wrote it was incredibly sarcastic
and insulting, so I wrote one saying that local customers appreciate the owner's
helpfulness and good service. (What I didn't write, but sorely wanted to, was
that if the bratty little wench who wrote the review had just lost her husband
of umpteen years to lung cancer the month before, and was still managing to
run her business well without being a blubbering mess every day, as has the
owner of this store, she might gain a bit of understanding.)

I didn't criticize the prior post, but wrote a brief, supportive one for the store.
After reading Kirstie's note here, I just went back and sure enough, hers is the
only one up. Gack. The comfort for my friend at the store is in knowing her local
customers don't share this opinion, but heckabad to have it out there floating around.
 

shayla

WOW Framer
Hey, I might have figured something out.
Was just rambling through my e-mails and found one from
Yelp, asking that I confirm my address for registry. Even though
I'd written that review two days ago, it didn't show up. Just
now, when I clicked 'confirm' on their e-link, that did the
trick. Went back to Yelp and it shows up now. We'll see if
it sticks.
 

Twin2

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
This thread came to mind when I read an article in our local paper today about online reviews. The article was about a lodge in N.S. that is actually having their customers sign a waiver to refrain from posting online reviews. According to the innkeeper, they are fed up with the inaccuracies and defamatory comments posted by people who had never even stayed at the lodge.

Here is the full article:
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Business/1264860.html

I thought it was interesting that here was a case of a business doing the opposite of what the OP was asking advice about.
 

KaraK

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Love/Hate

I feel like I have a split personality. As a consumer, I love the internet, but as a business owner I hate it.

I resent the fact that we have to pay to be one of the top listings on Google.

The other day I noticed that one of the review websites puts ads for competing businesses inside listings. Not on top of, below or next to, but right in the middle of my listing. Some sites have outdated/incorrect information but I can't update it unless I buy the listing. I feel like they are holding my business hostage. I know I could play the game and just pay for these things, but it's the same problem I have with doubling my prices and offering 50% Off.

When someone searches for picture framing in my zip code, and businesses 15 miles aways pop up first - that's not fair to me or the consumer.

So many online reviews, positive or negative, are fake. I don't ask my customers to review my shop online, but I do ask them to tell their friends about me! Word of mouth is still the best advertising in my opinion.


Side note: Groupon (in Atlanta anyway) has disabled the comments section on their offers. Bad reviews and ridiculous comments got way out of hand, so they shut it down. People can ask questions, but they are moderated now.
 

j Paul

PFG, Picture Framing God
I resent the fact that we have to pay to be one of the top listings on Google.

When someone searches for picture framing in my zip code, and businesses 15 miles aways pop up first - that's not fair to me or the consumer.


A well optimized website with great keywords should make your site come up above the fold on page one. And you can do that for FREE! You can make your business come up before someone further away even if you are not paying.

Paid listing might come up before any local listing but most people can tell the difference.

If for example you Google custom framing toledo. My listing is the first local one to come up under the ones that are marked ADS
 

Kirstie

PFG, Picture Framing God
I feel like I have a split personality. As a consumer, I love the internet, but as a business owner I hate it.

I resent the fact that we have to pay to be one of the top listings on Google.
I want to reiterate that this is incorrect. As jPaul says, if you have a well optimized web site, it should appear near the top of your area's free listings. Most people are saavy enough to ignore the paid listings. Work on your web site. Make it relevant, give each page its own title and meta tag information, keywords and descriptions, and change it often. John Ranes teaches a great WCAF class on building a better web site. I urge anyone who wants to know more about optimization to take it. He also had a recent PFM article on the subject.
 
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