How to Get More User Reviews

User reviews are powerful. A study by the Spiegel Research Institute shows 95% of customers use online reviews to make purchasing decisions. The same research indicates that user reviews can increase the ‘likelihood to buy’ by 270%. Another study suggests 84% of buyers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 

Small business owners often have limited time to apply marketing tactics. Reviews are one tactic that is worth your time to get right. That’s because some people will review you whether you prompt them to or not. Unprompted reviews are more likely to be negative than positive. 

Don’t Leave Reviews to Chance

Here’s why: most people find leaving reviews tedious. Typically, the people who are motivated to leave a review have had a bad experience. Sometimes, people will even leave fraudulent bad reviews. 

True story. My dear client Zeina is my “star pupil” when it comes to user reviews. She has many, and they’re all glowing—all except one.

She got a vicious one-star review a couple of years ago. To date, it’s her only bad review. The thing is, she had never heard of the person who left it. She knows all of her clients very well, and she has never served anyone by that name. The account from which the person posted the review has no other activity and appears to have been created just to leave the bad review, sooooo…..

We have a suspicion that a salty competitor left the review, probably because she’s kicking ass, and it’s threatening to others in her field.

Regardless, the toxic review was upsetting. Zeina crafted a firm but professional response, and we both tried to let it go. Hey, it could have been worse right? Her rating remains excellent because she has dozens of positive reviews.

Do The Math

Are you confident you have enough good reviews to outweigh a nasty one? This is why you need to be actively chasing positive feedback from your clients. The good news is I have a simple system to make gathering them painless. 

If you get all your happy customers to leave reviews, you don’t need to worry about being criticized by unhappy (or non-existent!) customers. People will overlook a bad review in a sea of good ones because, well, some people are jerks.

Like this guy who called the (literally) iconic Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro “Highly over rated!” [sic]

Or this person who gave the Great Wall of China –which can be seen from space— a one-star review for being “too long.”

Or this one, which calls the Eiffel Freaking Tower a “lump of brown metal.” I mean, come ON.

We all know people like this, so most buyers will get the whole “can’t please everyone” thing and cut you some slack.

In fact, there is some evidence that people trust a 4.8-star rating more than a 5.0-star rating because we’re naturally suspicious of a perfect score. Too many perfect reviews seem fake.

The Secret to User Reviews

If you work hard to make sure your happy customers leave good reviews and reply promptly and professionally to any bad ones that pop up, you’ll likely end up with a reasonably accurate view of how awesome you are. 

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Finally, make sure you get the most out of your reviews. Use them (or excerpts from them) on your company website and in your sales materials as testimonials. Depending on your business, you may wish to seek permission from the reviewer as a courtesy, but that isn’t mandatory. 

I’ve written a convenient guide on how to create a steady stream of reviews with the least possible effort. Download yours here.

Picture of author, Bridget Brown