Reviews: When Should You Ask?

I recently had a conversation with a client who was worried about reviews.  They felt that asking for them seemed too forward and they were concerned about how often they should.

Considering that your interaction with a customer is not an everyday, or even an every week experience, asking for a recommendation from them should not be thought of as “too often.”

But there are some factors you should consider before making that request.

Platform

Every platform handles reviews differently.  Some monitor the frequency with which you receive reviews, or actually the physical location from which they originated.  Others do not. 

Below we look at the three biggest sites on the internet for reviews: Yelp, Google, Facebook and your website.

     Yelp

Yelp seems to be the strictest site when it comes to reviews.  Their Business Owner Guidelines clearly state that companies should not, “ask for reviews and don’t offer to pay for them either.”

The site’s recommendation software looks for clues or indications in each review to see if they are genuine.  It, “actively tries to identify and not recommend reviews prompted or encouraged by the business.”


When Yelp detects false praise it will let its consumers know by posting a Consumer Alert on that business page.

There is also anecdotal evidence that if Yelp sees an increase in positive reviews in a short period, it may hold some of them back.  The rationale seems to be that many positive reviews would only get posted if they were asked for by the owner and not, as Yelp describes it, “organically motivated.”

The same is true for reviews that originate from the location of the business. Again, Yelp’s recommendation software views such reviews as possibly being asked for at the time of sale.

The Bottom line: Don’t ask for Yelp reviews.

     Google

Just the opposite is true on Google, though.  In its support section on reviews, the platform states, “To get reviews, encourage your customers to spread the word about your business by…” reminding them to leave you a review and a rating. 

However, Google explains that “business owners shouldn’t offer incentives to customers in exchange for reviews” and encourages users to post “honest and unbiased” appraisals.

There is also some evidence to suggest that the star-ratings also impact the search ranking of the company’s website.  A higher rating means a better position on the search results page.

The Bottom Line: Ask for a Google review and rating at the end of every sale.  Just make sure that customer had a good experience first so they post a positive one.

     Facebook

The social giant allows its users to leave both recommendations and a 1 to 5 star rating.  If the page allows them, you can find the recommendations and ratings by clicking “Reviews” in the left column.

Otherwise, Facebook does not have stringent guidelines for businesses, as Yelp does.  Page owners can decide whether or not they want reviews on the page, and can even delete offensive reviews if they choose.

The Bottom Line: Ask for reviews on Facebook at the end of every sale.

    Your Website

If your company’s website is set up to accept reviews, then it is likely that there are no restrictions on the number or frequency with which reviews are received.

The Bottom Line: Ask for a review on your site at the end of every sale.

The Wrap

How often you should ask for a review is really determined by the your customer’s experience with you and the platform where you want it to be posted.  If you find that one platform has fewer and you want to increase that number, simply ask for reviews to be posted there. 

Do you have questions about reviews?  Call me today at 513-237-5530.

________________________________________________________________________

Bob Turner is a Digital Marketing Consultant with RevLocal in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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