The Secret Recipe for Getting 5-Star Reviews

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The value of five-star reviews for your business is undeniable, so let’s talk about how to get your customers to write them. If you’re having trouble getting five-star reviews, you’re about to learn tips from years of online reputation management experience.

The main ingredient in this secret recipe is hardest to do, and the most important: Provide a five-star experience. That’s right, the easiest way to get a five-star review is by providing a top-of-the-line experience.

As a business owner, you need to be aware of a few things. First, understand that a five-star product or service isn’t the same as a five-star experience. They are completely separate. You could sell the world’s best cheeseburger, but if your cashier has an attitude problem, prepare for a one-star review to come in.

Second, let’s make sure we are on the same page when it comes to defining a five-star experience: It’s the best there is. It’s service that’s so unparalleled your customers will walk away feeling amazed by it. It’s extraordinary, and it’s not something consumers are used to. Provide that little extra something to make your brand experience stand out, and your customers will be far more likely to write about you online.

There are other little things you can do, which we’ll review here. But without a remarkable experience, you won’t have much to build on.

#1 Ingredient: Five-Star Experience

Short version: Find a way to consistently produce remarkable experiences for all of your clients. Survey each and every client: Are they 100 percent satisfied with your company? What else can you do to make them feel special? If you can do this, you’ll already be ahead of your competitors. You’ll also be just a few short steps away from getting them to share the word about your company on important review websites.

Every customer expects a high-quality product or service for their money; what they don’t expect is the service to match. Finely tune your business to provide high-quality service at every customer interaction, with everyone they may come into contact with as part of their experience. I can’t tell you how many bad reviews I have seen because of a lack of communication, or poor reporting. The results may have been fantastic, but one wrong thing can quickly yield a one-star experience.

#2 Ingredient: Reward the People Behind Your Success

Offering customers or clients money to write reviews is wrong for more than one reason. Instead, use money to incentivize the people who interact with your customers to deliver exceptional experiences. Not only will you help create an environment that prioritizes customer experience, you’ll also reward the very people who make you look great.

This kind of program can help get workers more engaged, and motivate them to be more creative when it comes to wowing your clients. It’s important to keep track each month to see who’s doing their part, and who needs more encouragement.

From experience, I have found that regularly reminding people about this commitment to quality helps keep a friendly yet competitive environment. Consider ways to recognize the people who deliver the best service, like recognizing them during meetings or creating a virtual “scoreboard” to celebrate individual actions.

#3 Ingredient: Technology

Your clients are happy, your workers are motivated, now you just need the last piece of the puzzle: Technology—specifically an automated review-generation campaign.

There are many platforms to choose from, some better than others. While I’m partial to the technology we’ve developed at my own business, Future Solutions, all you need is software that will email your customers on your behalf. The email should contain a link to an aesthetically pleasing survey with your logo, and ask the customer to rate their experience.

Once the user finishes the survey it should lead them to the review website of your choice. Different software accomplishes this in different ways, but the concept is the same: Drive your customers to share their experience online.

If you have a high volume of customers, you have the potential to see a review from every one. If you see 10 customers a day, aim to earn 10 reviews. Try to set goals for your business and your employees. Start slowly and build your review base accordingly: Review websites like Yelp.com don’t like to see a bombardment of new reviews, so don’t blast review sites all at once—break them in slowly.


Curtis Boyd, CEO and founder of Future Solutions Media

Curtis Boyd is the CEO and founder of Future Solutions Media, an online reputation company based out of Los Angeles, CA that serves over 900 businesses in the U.S.

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