The world of business has long gone digital. Today, as many as 70-80% of customers take the time to research the company before they do business with it. With merely 28% of businesses having a website, it makes it hard for customers to even find them. Add the lack of online reviews to the mix, and you’re potentially missing out on hundreds of paying clients.
When the number of companies competing in the same niche is high, having positive online reviews can be a defining factor in winning your prospects over. It’s only fair — the customer service industry is known for giving online reviews a lot more weight than any other industry. In fact, 9 out of 10 people will check out reviews prior to deciding whether they should go through with the purchase.
The above statistics should prompt you to rethink your online marketing strategy and start working on improving your digital presence if you haven’t done so already. Keep on reading to learn more about how you can leverage online reviews as a part of the SME community.
Why Should You Aim to Get As Many Online Reviews As Possible?
- They build brand awareness. It’s no secret that if your prospects don’t know about your existence, it’ll be hard to lure them into visiting your salon and benefiting from one of your services. It’ll be even more difficult to stand out and make them want to stick around.
This is where online reviews come in. They ensure that your brand is memorable enough for them to refer to in the future and perhaps even recommend to their friends and family.
- They boost credibility. There aren’t many (if any) customers who’d choose you over your competitors if you seem like a less reliable option. The lack of online reviews indicates that the quality of your services — no matter how attractive and affordable — isn’t high enough to even give your salon a visit.
So, the more online reviews you have, the higher are the chances of your prospects giving you a fair shot. They give them the assurance that you can be trusted and they’ll likely remain satisfied with the services provided.
- They help you rank higher in Google search. If you’re not aware of the popular keyword ‘near me’ often used by those searching for a specific product or service, you might not even see the point of ranking high in Google search. But this is precisely how your customers are able to find you — through the interactive map generated by Google when someone searches for a ‘beauty salon near me.’
In this instance, Google reviews will do all the work for you; they will let the search engine know that you’re worth being on the first page and show you to a wider audience:
- They give you a clear idea of what customers think of you. Instead of paying focus groups to provide you with feedback, why not use reviews left by real people? Gauge what your customers think of your brand by encouraging them to comment on the experience they had with your salon, good or bad.
When they reveal their true feelings about your brand, you’re more likely to understand their needs better. And isn’t that what your salon aims to do anyway?
- They enable you to receive constructive feedback. Speaking about reviews, don’t expect them to always be positive. Regardless of the type of feedback you get, it’s guaranteed to be valuable to your organization’s growth. Sure, no one likes receiving one-star reviews, but keep in mind that the absence of reviews is much worse than having no reviews at all.
Depending on how you respond to them, there’s a good chance that the customer will come back. This is a good enough reason to keep encouraging your clients to leave reviews so that you can take them into consideration when perfecting the customer experience you provide.
Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Salon Reputation via More Online Reviews
Now that you know why online reviews are instrumental in growing your salon business, you need to implement a strategy that will create an encouraging environment for leaving reviews. This includes adopting a few relevant marketing tactics and incentivizing your customers to feel inclined to tell everyone online about their experience with your brand.
Here’s how to do it organically:
1. Create an Email Campaign
Both big and small companies use this strategy to get customers to review their products. It’s easy, affordable, and not as time-consuming as some of the other tactics on this list. Charlie Hustle, for example, sent an automated email right after the customer received their order. This allows the customer to provide prompt feedback whilst the company he purchased from is still fresh on his mind.
If you’re using a scheduling and online booking platform like Yocale, reviews will be sent out automatically after each appointment. (Here is why more and more salons are offering online booking).
Try Yocale’s Salon Management and Appointment Scheduling For Free
A “Book Now” button for your website, social medias and Google My Business, to convert your online visitors into paid customers in a few seconds.
2. Address Your Followers on Social Media
Once you’ve built a following on social media, you can start asking your followers to leave a review. This is a common practice that doesn’t require more than a post and a story to get the message across. At the end of the day, if your audience has time to follow you and like your posts, chances are they can find a minute or two to give you feedback, too.
Take it from Bellamy’s Organic’s Facebook post encouraging their customers to leave a quick 20-minute review that would help other moms.
3. Enable Website and In-App Reviews
You can include a Call-to-Action (CTA) button at the end of your blog posts or integrate a push notification that pops up every time someone visits your website after they’ve previously purchased from you. This is a sure way to get a review without having to reach out to this target audience manually.
The same applies to in-app push messages that appear once the user has either purchased from you or received a response to his question from a customer service representative.
4. Offer Rewards and Incentives That Are Too Good to Pass
Everyone loves a freebie. Why not offer a voucher for a 10th free haircut or another complimentary treatment? Not only will your customers appreciate this gesture, but they’ll also be a lot more tempted to leave a positive review about your salon. It’s a win-win.
This also goes for rewarding your loyal customers with, say, a gift card when they’ve been regularly visiting your salon for a few months or sending them a branded souvenir on their birthday. A reward like this goes a long way in building long-term relationships with customers and getting a good review in the process.
5. Respond to Negative Reviews
It never feels good to receive them. They can easily knock you off your feet and discourage you from bettering your services as a business in the beauty industry. But this doesn’t mean that you should avoid reading and responding to them. It’s your job to acknowledge and get acquainted with them so that you can then reverse the unpleasant situation by fixing the issue.
This might come as a surprise, but 40% of buyers confess that negative reviews are useful for learning more about the product or service. And the more information your customers have, the easier it is for them to make a well-thought-out decision and skip leaving a negative review.
Take a look at how well Family Cutz handled the complaint they received from one of the customers:
Stay on Top of Your Game and You’ll Thrive in No Time
With everyone using their iPhones and social media on a daily basis, businesses are now expected to have a great online presence. This includes having an easily accessible and mobile-friendly website along with social media profiles that encourage open communication and feedback.
Since customers give digital reviews as much consideration as they do personal recommendations, you should strive to be getting them consistently. This means providing the best customer experience possible. And also finding ways to make your customers want to leave a review once they’ve engaged with your salon. If it’s not the review you were anticipating, be ready to turn it into a positive one.
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Mikkel is passionate about customer experience in every color of the beautiful customer engagement spectrum. He loves building great connections with his customers, which often lead to meaningful friendships that last a lifetime and inspire his work. Driven by the genuine belief that CX is the pivotal force that drives a successful business, he is currently at the helm of Dixa’s customer experience strategy.
You can find him at his Linkedin to with the Twitter handle: @MikkelVes