10 tips (and one rule) that will guarantee 5-star reviews online

It’s a legitimate marketing objective to want 5-start reviews online.

Sites such as Trustpilot, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Defaqto, Facebook, Google My Business and so on offer a highly valuable service for both businesses and consumers.

But when trying to elicit reviews from customers becomes your most important goal, it will quickly backfire and damage your reputation.

Why are customer reviews important?

We live in an online world where building relationships with customers face-to-face cannot be done. So, we need to find new and different ways of nurturing and building trust in our brand. Customer reviews play a huge part and can greatly influence prospects’ evaluation and buying decisions.

According to yell.com, 93% of consumers say online reviews have an impact on their purchasing decisions. That’s a staggering percentage.

No wonder 5-star reviews are so desirable!

Other stats from Yell Business go on to reveal:

•      84% of people trust online reviews.

•      74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.

•      60% state that negative reviews make them not want to use a business.

So, how do you ensure your business gets its fair share of 5-star reviews?

The 10 tips below will guarantee your business is inundated with 5-star reviews but firstly, there’s a very important rule you must follow.

Failure to do this will most likely garner you 1-4-star reviews at best or no reviews at all.

Rule #1 – never ask for a review

That’s right, you read it correctly, the number one rule for eliciting 5-star reviews is DON’T!

I can almost hear the cries of “WHAT! Are you serious!”. Well, yes I am. And I know what you’re thinking: how can you ensure your customers give you a nice review unless you ask? What if you know the customer well and they’ve bought from you before? What if you’ve done them a favour/given them a special deal? What if they’re your mum and she owes you one?

Still no!


Okay, let me put you out of your misery before you think I’m the craziest goose on the planet.

The reason you should never actively soliciting reviews is because, if you’re following the 10 tips below, you don’t have to. Your customers will happily (and naturally) do it for you – and the review, plus your reputation will be all the better for it.

Of course this won’t happen every time, with every customer – just as it doesn’t happen every time with every customer when you actively ask for them – but it will happen way more often than you’d imagine.

Avoid turning a positive experience into a negative review

Read more about my positive experience of a supplier that they turned negative……

10 simple rules that will guarantee positive customer reviews online 

1.     Never solicit or ask for reviews - NEVER! Unsolicited, authentic reviews from happy customers are more positive and have a far greater impact than dry, solicited ones. It’s easy for potential customers to tell the difference.

2.     Focus on meeting expectations - delivering a first-class product and/or service, aligned with your market’s, customers’ and prospects’ expectations. If your product or service is expensive and high-end, make sure you deliver high-end. If your customers expect inexpensive and value for money, deliver that. Always know your market, your ideal customer, what they expect - and how you can meet or even exceed those expectations.

3.     Build and nurture relationships with customers first and give, give, give before you ask for anything (even their email address). This is probably the single most important point to take on board.

4.     Treat them like ‘Real’ people – in the online world, companies often forget that customers are “real people” and should be respected and treated as if they are special - because they are special, they are your business’s life blood.

5.     Engage with customers - thank them for their custom and/or their comments and reviews. Don’t delete bad reviews, reply, deal with them appropriately - potential customers learn as much about you by the way you deal with irate customers, negative comments and complaints.

6.     It’s okay to make mistakes - every business does. Don’t try to cover up your mistakes, instead clean them up, admit the mistake, apologise, put it right, learn from it and reassure customers by telling them what you’ve learnt and the steps you’ve put in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

7.     Deal with customer complaints - appropriately (this is a whole other article but there are lots of resources online that can help you). Don’t be discourage and (most importantly) don't take them personally.

8.     Respect customers’ wishes - in terms of how and when you get in touch with them, don’t bombard them.

9.     Make it easy for customers - to review your products and services, include links to review sites on all and any communication: emails, order confirmations, delivery notifications and website. Use testimonials in your marketing (remember to do so anonymously if you don’t have your customer’s permission).

10.  Customers don’t work for you, you work for them! Always remember that, you need them more than they need you - your competitors are a simple click away!

If you do all of the above, believe in yourself, your business, have faith in your product or service and put customers first, you will be inundated with genuine, authentic, unsolicited 5-start reviews.

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For an example of how not to elicit reviews, read this……