The internet has become the life and blood of small businesses and indie creators. Particularly because of search engines like Google, which help people discover and learn about new companies, products and services. Customer reviews are a critical factor in Google’s decision to increase their visibility during a person’s search. By leaving a review, not only are you helping other consumers, you’re also helping the business and creator as well.
Whether you’re sharing a review on dedicated review sites like Yelp or an eCommerce platform like Etsy or Amazon, apply these 5 tips to help your favorite small businesses get discovered and improve customer experience.
1. Be observant.
Oftentimes, we leave a review as an afterthought (especially if we’re disappointed). This can result in a review with over exaggerations or unhelpful descriptions of the experience for others who are reading your review to help them make an informed decision. Be thoughtful throughout your experience, from beginning to end. Pay close attention to every aspect and interaction. Note which factors made the experience positive, negative, or unremarkable. Take pictures, if applicable, to help yourself remember the experience and to help others.
2. Be descriptive.
Try to cover a range of factors in your review such as customer service, product quality, delivery options, and any features that stand out. Provide details and be specific. For example, when you’re dining at a restaurant, share details about more than just the food such as the look and feel of the restaurant including parking availability. Include notes about the service such as the friendliness of the staff and wait times.
3. Be constructive.
Have you ever received bad feedback? You know, the kind that makes you want to flip your desk over because it was cruel and unhelpful. Don’t be that person. Avoid writing an emotional review. Stick with what you observed and if you have something less than positive to say, offer some suggestions to improve. Examples are also very helpful. The same is true if your experience was great. It’s unhelpful to leave a review with a description that just says “Awesome.” Tell others and the business why your experience was awesome. This goes back to number 2, be descriptive.
4. Make it fun, add personality.
Include personal touches so people know that you’re not a robot. You can even make it humorous, as long as you keep it friendly.
5. Review and edit your review.
Don’t just hit send or enter after you write the review. Read it again slowly to make sure that your grammar and spelling is correct to minimize confusion. Also, double-check that you’re reviewing the correct company and product.
While the review below is positive it’s uninformative. It doesn’t tell the owner what they are doing well or what they could improve. It also doesn’t help interested customers learn anything about their products or services.
In the next example, the reviewer left a 1-star review for an Apple Ipod on Amazon because their parents would not get it for them. This has nothing to do with the actual product. Reviews like this can inadvertently hurt small businesses.
Here’s a review on Yelp for that hits all the hallmarks of good review. She noted fresh ingredients and the look of the plate. She also included photos and highlighted free soda refills and parking issues, which is helpful for others who are thinking about eating there. Lastly, she commented on the service which wasn’t exactly positive or negative. By offering the disclaimer that she couldn’t be sure about why she received the serviced that she did, it shows that she was attempting to be thoughtful and considerate about her experience.
If you want to see an example for a product like software, check out the review from Capterra below. They provide a general overview that covers all the features of the product, in addition to the customer support team. They then go into details about the pros and cons and alternative options they considered.
The last example is a short and simple review that a customer left for a t-shirt printing shop on Google Business Reviews. The reviewer noted that the business was timely and responsive. They also expressed their enthusiasm about the quality of the service and shared a photo so others could see for themselves.
Leaving a customer review is valuable for small businesses and it takes hardly any time and effort on our part. Help your favorite businesses get discovered by applying these 5 simple tips.
- Be observant.
- Be descriptive.
- Be constructive.
- Make it fun, add personality.
- Review and edit your review.
Now go out there and start reviewing your favorite businesses. Encourage others to do the same.