BY BILL FAETHOver the past few months, I have received quite a few emails from limousine companies that I have never personally used for service, asking me to review their companies. The problem is, of course, obvious: How can I review a service that I haven’t personally experienced? These companies have no idea what I would say if I took them up on the offer to review their company publicly on Yelp, Google, or Facebook. Plus, the public is pretty clever at spotting fake reviews.
This is a very risky strategy and, quite frankly, one that shouldn’t be considered. First of all, this type of unsolicited mail, especially if sent to non-customers, looks like spam. If too many people receive this email and mark it as spam because they don’t understand why they are receiving a survey, it could impact your external and internal email deliverability.
Secondly, sending out a service survey somewhat blindly means you lose control of who has the option to review your company. Just think: Someone could choose to post a scathing review about how untrustworthy you are just because they were confused as to why they received this email!
And one bad review can be extremely detrimental to your company.
In just three easy steps, you can control bad reviews and promote positive ones without coercing someone into reviewing you or paying a service to do it for you.
Step 1: Create a one-question survey
Instead of sending an email or a multiquestion survey to your customers, you can create a one-question survey using SurveyMonkey or Google Forms (both are free!). You can either embed this form onto a landing page or send the survey link directly to customers 15 minutes or longer after a trip with you.
Your survey only needs one question to tell you everything you need to know about how your client feels about your service: “On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the highest), how likely are you to refer [Your Company Name] to a friend or colleague?”
That’s it. One question, one answer.
Step 2: Provide an outlet for feedback
Depending on how someone answers your survey, you want to provide the right outlet for that person to leave feedback, positive or negative.
If someone answers 8-10, you know they are happy with your services and are likely to promote your business, refer you to a friend or colleague, or leave you a positive review.
At the end of your survey on your landing page, create a clickable “Yes” button (make it green if you have those capabilities) that will link to the review site you want the customer to use. To maximize the effectiveness of your reviews, consider rotating the review sites to gain maximum exposure from Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc. Rotate the site you are linking to after every five positive reviews.
If someone answers 1-4, you need to address their concerns in a controlled manner before they take to the internet to complain about you.
For these reviews, add a red “No” button. This button, box, or link needs to provide direct access to the owner or general manager and not to a CSR. This is very important because an unhappy customer wants to speak with someone in a position of authority who can rectify their issue immediately, and it must be addressed as quickly as possible.
To do this, trigger the button to open an email composer window, so the person can email you directly. You may also choose to redirect the “No” button to another landing page that includes a prerecorded apology video from you, along with your direct phone number and/or email address to contact you immediately. Be sure you are compelling and sympathetic when delivering your message to ensure them that you will personally take care of their issue.
In any case, when someone contacts you with a complaint or concern, you must follow up immediately, as a lack of communication or closure can exacerbate the situation.
Step 3: Distribute your survey easily
Once you have your survey created and your feedback channels set up, you are ready to send out your survey to customers. One delivery option is embedding your survey on a landing page on your website and then sending your customer the survey page link via email or text message. You can even include this link in your final charges or receipt emails.
Embedding allows you to easily provide a link via ZipWhip, your SMS feature within your software, via email, or to include in your receipts.
Remember that you have to be responsive. Controlling the negative reviews requires a quick response time, so be realistic. If you are not going to monitor feedback and respond within 30-60 minutes, then I would not implement this strategy. If you can respond quickly, this will dramatically lower the risk of your unhappy customers leaving negative reviews online. This simple campaign has been implemented with many clients and the most successful way to deliver this is via SMS 15 minutes after the trip is completed to boost positive reviews and control the negative reviews before the customer has time to post to a review site.
While you can’t control how people feel, you can control where they share those feelings. And in today’s review-conscious society, you want to provide an outlet for people to share those feelings in a controlled and productive manner. [CD0217]
Bill Faeth is Founder and President of Inbound Marketing Agents in Nashville and Founder of Limo University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.