A Citation client recently learned the power of online reviews when he found himself frustrated by a lack of service from a company that was paid well to respond. After many fruitless attempts to get their attention, the client posted an online review on a site related to the business in question. In less than an hour he received a call from the company which then bent over backwards to please him.

As more people are turning to online review sites to find a good restaurant or a lawyer, some business owners are encouraging customers to rate their establishments. For the business that delivers outstanding service, consistently good ratings may help. It can take only one bad rating from an online review to send potential clients away. Whether to ask clients to rate your business is tricky. Here we outline 5 tips for smart reviews.

  • Don’t ask for a review. Customers who are happy with you will get the message that the good reviews are solicited and hence the trust factor suffers. Too many “she is wonderful” reviews leave clients questioning their sincerity.
  • Tell clients and customers where they can find your business, such as “Check our listing on LinkedIn” or whatever site resonates with you and your client base.
  • Put a badge on your website with a link to your business’s page on the review site. Most sites will provide the code for you.
  • Put a “Find us on…” and list the name of your favorite rating site on your business cards, your client information sheets or a sign in your reception area, etc.
  • Use a customized signature at the end of each email that includes a link to your business listing and says “Find us on…” with your favorite review site listed.

If you do get a bad review and have done everything to please the unhappy client, be prepared for the inevitable questions you may get from potential new clients. While you cannot divulge confidential information, you can have a general statement ready such as “We take every review to heart. We hope to always provide outstanding service to all of our clients. Please feel confident about talking to me if you have any concerns and I promise to address them to your satisfaction if at all possible.”

Even the best business may occasionally encounter a dissatisfied customer. Keeping your online reviews trustworthy and giving clients better service than they expect is the formula for five star ratings.