This video explains how you cannot incentivize reviews, but you can reward your staff when they do a great job and then you'll get top reviews. Understanding the difference, will allow you to improve the performance of your team and help them ask for reviews from the right people at the right time, on the best sites for you.
- [Voiceover] When I work with businesses on their review processes, one question that inevitably arrives is this, can't we just pay people to give us good reviews? I mean, I've had businesses ask me to do the same thing and it's really important for you to know you cannot incentivize reviews or be more accurate, you shouldn't incentivize reviews as its bad practice and very likely to get you into trouble before very long. With that in mind, we need to think of a way that helps people feel compelled to give you a good review.
The answer to that comes down to your products and services. You cannot incentivize but you can reward your staff when they do a great job and that then gets you more reviews. I appreciate though some people may need a little more convincing not to try and take the shortcut of effectively bribing people to leave reviews. Let's look at the reason why you shouldn't buy them. It's this. One word, trust. The reason you cannot or shouldn't incentivize reviews is that the whole ecosystem of Yelp and TripAdvisor and Google and all of the others is down to trust.
As author David Amerland says, "When it comes to promoting the brand, "reviews work because of the psychosocial model "of trust "which requires three elements to come together, "familiarity, confidence and trustworthiness." You need to be able to trust the reviews you're seeing are from real customers who've had a real experience and if you incentivize reviews, the problem becomes you just don't know whether somebody was paid to leave that review which could in turn have influenced the rating.
So what is an incentive? Start at the most basic level, an incentive would be giving people 50 dollars to leave you a review. There was even one case where a transport company was told they couldn't advertise themselves using the phrase, top rated, anymore because effectively, they charged an extra 50 dollars to people who didn't leave them a review. Next, as you may well be thinking that you'd never do anything like that, let's look at a slightly less obvious way you could be incentivizing using the example of a restaurant.
If you have a local restaurant and they offer a free bottle of wine for leaving a review, that would be an incentive. Or if they said, leave a review and we'll give you 50 percent off your next meal or it may be that you say, your next haircut is free if you review us then these are going to be seen as incentives. If you look at this example from TripAdvisor, you will see how they are putting the owners on the reviewer as well meaning they have to vouch for their own review and say they have not been offered any incentive by the establishment to write the review.
There are terms of service within each of the sites and they are all aiming to do the right thing by the people who are going to see the reviews and make a decision on that place or product in the future so you're looking for them to be as unbiased as possible. Even though you may be tempted, it's really best to play by the rules on this one. Longer term, it will create much more trust. Why? One of the things that could happen is that people could start talking about how they received an incentive to leave a review on the review sites themselves.
It won't be long before either your listing are deleted, all of the reviews on the particular sites are removed and you are no longer going to be trusted. This could lead to years worth of work disappearing overnight. The best option is to give great service and to help people find your listings online where they can leave you their review. So begin to think about how you can make this happen in your business.
- Explain how to find review sites for your business.
- Name the benefits of setting up a Facebook local page.
- Cite the importance of hiring good people to improve customer service.
- Recognize why it’s important to give staff feedback and set goals.
- Describe ways to encourage customers to leave reviews.
- Identify ways to build relationships with your customers through review site interactions.
- Recall the best way to respond to negative reviews.