It may sound obvious, but you can't generate good reviews (at least not legally) unless you have happy customers to write them. "No amount of asking for user reviews or soliciting feedback will help compensate for a bad first impression," notes Jason Arango, internet marketing strategist for Think Basis, an internet marketing firm. Start by making sure to resolve any issues that particularly bother your customers if you possibly can.
Not good reviews -- just reviews, and not until the end of the transaction. "You don't want to be pushy, but after you've delivered a service or product, it makes sense to ask that they review it on Yelp, for instance," Arango says. "Let them know that the company takes their opinions seriously and checks that feedback daily."
"If your customers are under 30, encouraging them to post a review may turn them off," Pogorzelski says. Instead, simply engage them in the online world, by creating a Facebook group and Twitter account for your business. He adds that customers in this age bracket are so accustomed to posting online about every experience they have, they will almost certainly share their thoughts about your product or service without any prompting.
Resist the urge to defend your company, product, or employee, an approach that almost always makes things worse. "The key is not to fire back at the customer, the key is to examine the problem and resolve it," Pogorzelski says. "Also, if a bad review is warranted, thank the customer for the review and apologize for the bad experience. We find a customer will often go back and update a negative review once the issue has been resolved, so you can turn a negative into a positive if you act quickly."
Not everyone recommends responding publicly to bad reviews. PacketTrap never responds online to negative reviews, because even doing that much tends to put the company in a defensive position, Goodman says. Instead the company contacts negative reviewers directly if it can find them, and tries to resolve the issue. "If it's thoughtful, constructive feedback, we may offer an extension of a free trial or a free upgrade," Goodman says.
The more reviews you get, the more likely you are to get one or more bad reviews. Even if you are providing the best product or service you can, some people will tend to complain. So your goal should be a large number of mostly good reviews. "If we get 10 reviews, seven good ones and three bad ones, that's a lot better for us than one review," Goodman notes.
"Our product has a 'give feedback' button that users encounter at the end of the process,"Goodman says. "The user has three choices: one to send us feedback, one to suggest a new feature, and one that sends them to a review site. We did that hoping they would mostly write positive reviews, and that's how it's worked out."