You know they’re important. You know that many potential clients are looking to online reviews to guide them in which service provider to choose.

But did you know that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they would trust a recommendation from a friend?

It’s true, according to a study done by BrightLocal.

With proof like that, it’s clear that every service professional must make online reviews a priority.

But the question is, how do you get more of them?

You’ve listed your services on review websites like Yelp. You’ve dropped hints to your clients. You’ve even stuck a Yelp sticker on your door and counter in the hopes of encouraging reviews.

Despite your hint-dropping, sticker-displaying effort, you still only have a handful of those golden gems and that number doesn’t seem to be increasing.

The good news is that there are effective ways to get your clients to leave more online reviews.

Try out these 4 techniques and sit back and watch the reviews roll in.

1. Focus on One Channel

In 2000, two psychologists set out to do a study in a food store.

The researchers created a display with a line of jams, offering samples to customers who wandered by.

Customers who sampled the jam were offered a coupon if they bought a jar from the display.

In Part A of the study, the display contained 6 flavors of jam and in Part B, the display contained 24 flavors of jam.

You might think that the 24 varieties of jam attracted more people, right?

Well, not quite. The same number of jams were tasted in each display. But the action the customers took is very telling:

27% more people bought a jar of jam when there were only six flavor options presented to them.

Only 3% of people who had to choose between the 24 flavors purchased a jar of jam, whereas 30% of those who only had to choose between 6.

It’s a surprising and entertaining study, but you might wonder how it relates back to getting more online reviews for your services.

Well, there are a lot of online review companies out there. Depending on your industry, you could choose Yelp, TripAdvisor, UrbanSpoon, Google Reviews, Facebook Reviews, and any number of industry specific review sites.

And if you’re displaying the stickers and requesting reviews and trying to encourage your clients to leave a review on all of these sites, they’re less likely to review your services on any of them.

Choosing one place for your clients to leave a review and encourage clients to use it. Whether it’s Yelp or Google Reviews, narrowing it down makes it more likely your clients leave you a review.

2. Add to the Display

You have that sticker on your door, and maybe even on your counter with the logo of a review platform.

And that’s a great first step. It communicates to your clients that your business has a profile on that site and that you’d like for them to review it.

But because your clients see so many of these stickers displayed, they tend to overlook them.

Next time you’re out and about, check for these little review badges. You’ll probably seen dozens of them! They’ve become part of our service provider’s decor.

So bring it to your client’s consciousness again by adding to the display. Instead of displaying the sticker and hoping for the best, explain why you want reviews – or, even just type up a notice to put near the sticker stating that you would appreciate reviews.

It sounds so basic, but you’ll be surprised as to how effective this is.

3. Make Reviewing Easy

When your clients review your service, they’re doing you a favor.

And when somebody does us a favor, we want to make the favor as easy as possible to do, so they actually do it.

It’s important to make it easy for your clients to review your service.

Give them the web address of the review website. Include links in your emails to clients so the only thing they have to do is click on the link. Include links in your social media profiles to your preferred review site. If the system is a bit complicated, have instructions printed on cards for your clients so they can easily navigate the review process.

If it’s inconvenient, your clients won’t be compelled to leave a review. So make it easy for them!

4. Just Ask

It sounds obvious, right? Ask your clients and customers to leave you an online review.

But for some reason, not many people actually do it.

Think about it. The last time you went to the spa, had a haircut, or went to your chiropractor, did they ask you to review their services online?

Probably not.

Yet this is the most effective way to boost reviews.

In February, a friend and I were in Naples, Italy, and visited the Tunnel Borbonico for a tour. The tour group consisted of about 15 people, and I don’t think anybody left the Tunnel disappointed.

But despite how enjoyable the tour was, how many of the 15 tourists do you think would have left a review online? My guess is that no more than 2 people would have. It’s not because we wouldn’t have wanted to, though. We would have just gone on with our busy lives and forgot to leave a review.

Luckily, at the end of the tour, the tour guide asked us all to review the tour on Tripadvisor. When we got back to our hotel that evening, my friend and I reviewed the Tunnel as asked, and I later saw that a few of other people in our group left reviews, too.
Just asking is a powerful way of increasing your online reviews.

Here are a few best practices for asking for reviews:

  • Wait until the end of the service to ask for client to leave a review
  • Be specific with what channel you want them to review you on. Don’t just say “online.” If you want to boost your Google reviews, tell them that
  • “Because” is a very powerful word. Don’t just ask them to review your service – tell them why you want them to review.

If you practice these few steps to increasing your online reviews for your service, you will see your online review count jump in no time.

Just remember to focus on one channel, add to your display, make reviewing easy for your client, and just ask! Most clients will be happy to review your service.