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Original Article at https://www.forbes.com/sites/shephyken/2016/06/04/how-to-get-hundreds-of-positive-online-reviews/#60bac6e221b7
Online reviews are not just a place for hotel and restaurant patrons to rant or rave about their experiences. There are a number of public review sites (such as Trip Advisor, Yelp YELP +3.16%, Yahoo YHOO +0% and more) as well as industry-specific review sites. In other words, no company or industry is immune from public reviews, be it through an actual review site or social media in general.
Recently, I interviewed Daniel “Danno” Vivarelli of Starloop, a young business that has a system to elicit feedback from customers, and even more importantly, get good feedback posted to a public review site. Danno shared with me some of his ideas and thoughts behind online reviews.
First, if you want online reviews, you should ask for them. And, asking for a review implies you’re asking for a positive review. Sure, some customers will post a review, positive or negative, without being prompted, but many need to be asked. Danno believes that asking can be a little awkward, perhaps even seem a bit sleazy. However, if asked properly, you can remove the “sleaze factor” and elevate it to a request that is classy and sincere. You must do so by ethically motivating the customer to leave the online review.
By the way, Danno took 26 months to come up with the proper language. That may seem like a long time for something as simple as what you’re about to read, but he tested many different words and phrases to come up with the quintessential question.
Simply asking, “Will you please leave a review on Yelp?” (or any other online review site) seems direct and simple enough. But Danno recommends something less overt. He doesn’t ask. He invites. He doesn’t call it a review on Yelp. He terms it online feedback.
Invite is a kinder word than ask. Compared to the word review, feedback is more neutral. Changing the vocabulary is a good start. And, it’s important to note that some of Danno’s clients ask in an email, versus in person. One of his clients used emails with Danno’s magic words to acquire more than 100 positive online/social reviews.
Now let’s talk about the tool that Starloop provides its clients for their customers to leave feedback. Whether you use Starloop or not, the concept behind Danno’s thinking is brilliant.
First, the customers are provided with a landing page. There they are offered choices. There are three faces. One face has a smile, one a straight line (as in neutral, neither smiling nor frowning), and one a frown. There is also the option of going straight to an online review website. This last option is very important. The customer may not care about the happy, neutral and sad faces and may choose to go directly to posting a public/online review.
Ideally, the customer chooses one of the faces. If the customer chooses a happy face, the next screen is for feedback with the option of where to post, such as Yelp, Google GOOGL +1.69%, Facebook FB -4.46%, etc. If the customer chooses a neutral smile or a frown, the customer is taken to similar page to leave feedback, but the company is also notified of the feedback that began with the selection of something less than “happy.” This gives the company a chance to respond to customers who rate their experience as neutral or unhappy and hopefully convert them into happy customers.
Now, here is a really cool part of the program. The “magic question” is asked when a customer chooses the happy face. Not only is the customer asked to share feedback, but also, as an incentive to post it on a public review site, a tree will be planted. The exact verbiage goes like this:
“We’re happy you’re happy! Can you please share your experience on one of these review sites? As a show of our appreciation we’ll plant a tree on your behalf.”
The trees are planted in countries where there are serious deforestation issues including Madagascar and Ethiopia.
Danno believes in the Law of Reciprocity, which basically states if you do good deeds or help others, good will come back to you. The offer of thanking the customer for his or her review by planting a tree is reciprocity for the customer taking the time to post the feedback.
Take a look at the system Danno has created:
• The request for online feedback in the right language.
• The opportunity for a customer to make the simple choice of a happy/neutral/unhappy face as well as leave more detailed feedback.
• Once the “face choice” is made and the customer is taken to a page to leave detailed feedback, the company has the opportunity to respond to it.
• If the happy face is chosen and the customer leaves positive feedback, there is a request for the positive review to be posted on a public or social review site of the customer’s choosing.
• The gesture to plant a tree in exchange for the review.
While you may or may not want to use a program like Starloop to automate the process, and you may or may not want to make a cause-related offer such as planting a tree, you can still learn from the system. What matters is that you get good feedback that turns into positive online reviews.
Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, keynote speaker and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Follow Shep on Twitter: @Hyken.
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