According to a study from ReviewInc that can be found at http://blog.reviewinc.com/2016/01/05/most-effective-advertising-in-2016/, while there are many advertising techniques that work review sites are by far the most important source of information when a customer is choosing a service provider or restaurant!
When asked what factor is the most important factor when choosing a service professional, 40.5% of all recipients told that online reviews have the greatest influence. Some of the other factors include the company website (22.3%), Yellow Pages (11.6%), as well as online advertising or regular newspaper/radio advertising. These are great options to keep in mind for all users but it seems that online reviews are becoming more and more important each year.
In fact, according to the same study, the online review importance has managed to grow 11% in just a single year. While the company website still remains an important factor, online reviews are becoming increasingly important. Below is a chart from the ReviewInc post:
What should you do?
Restaurants and service providers certainly understand that having good and pertinent online reviews is important to being selected by a customer searching for where to eat or what service provider to choose. What is frustrating for businesses is getting more online reviews from customers that are regulars or people that have had a great experience. The number of online reviews is only a fraction of the number of people that business has served.
There are services that can dramatically increase the amount of customer feedback businesses get from customers. A customer feedback survey should be part of every sales or customer service process. Make it clear to customers that you value feedback and would appreciate their response to your brief survey. At the end of a transaction or completed service present the survey to the customer. Ideally the survey is online to make it for the customer to access and to record responses in a database for future analysis.
Let me give an example of what we do for restaurants.
Many restaurants use promotional coupon offers in their email marketing. When customers present the coupon in-store for redemption on their smartphone and redeem the coupon, we present the customer with a five star rating and comment opportunity. Simply making it clear to customers that you value their feedback will dramatically increase the amount of feedback you get. For many of our restaurant clients they are getting 10 times more feedback than they have ever gotten.
After the brief feedback survey is completed we invite delighted customers to post an online review and give them the link to the Yelp page for that restaurant.
It is a challenge to get online reviews. The easier you can make it for your customers to post an online review the greater the likelihood they will do it.