In a world where decision-making processes often begin with a Google search, online reviews are undeniably impactful. According to a survey, as many as 88% of consumers say online reviews impact buying decisions. Online reviews are often a client’s first contact with your practice— a first impression you can’t afford to ignore. Handling reviews are a critical part of your practice management. How then do you make your first online impression a positive one? How do you generate better online reviews? Try these 4 suggestions to improve your online reviews.
Be the best.
It may sound obvious, but good reviews have to start with exceptional customer service. In an ideal world, reviewers would say exactly the right things about your practice— you’re attentive, you’re quick to respond, and your numbers prowess is titanic. You are the ideal accounting professional.
What do you want your reviewers to say about you? Do that. This is the place where good reviews are born. Be the kind of ideal accounting professional, the kind of practice that you want people to write rave reviews about, and don’t stop. Your clients will take note.
What do you want your reviewers to say about you? Do that.
Get out there.
Add your business to online review sites— or update your current listing. It doesn’t matter how fantastic your practice is if your clients don’t have a place to leave their glowing reviews. Google Local and Yelp are a must for every business, but there are a multitude of other review sites to take advantage of, as well. Posting your business on review sites such as YP.com, Yahoo Local, or even industry specific websites like CPA Practice Advisors can help increase online visibility. Keep in mind that while it’s good to give clients options, you don't want to spread yourself too thin.
Once you’re all set up and running your tax practice like the consummate pro you are, it’s time to start asking for reviews. Let your clients know—in person when possible— that you value their feedback and have set up an easy way to contribute that feedback online. Direct them to your preferred review site and thank them in advance.
Then ask again. Follow up with an email or written note that reinforces the request you made in person—assure your client that their feedback is valuable, and direct them to the best place to leave that feedback.
Take the time to interact with your clients who are leaving reviews. Thanking reviewers is an easy, effective step to make your clients feel appreciated. A simple reply on the review site is the easiest way to say thank you, but don’t hesitate to recognize your loyal clients on your other social channels. Quoting a good review on Facebook or Twitter with a sincere “thanks” not only makes the client feel appreciated, but also makes you look good to others watching.
Conversely, your practice will almost inevitably accrue a few negative reviews. The prospect of bad reviews can be terrifying, but don’t let that deter you. No one trusts a company with only flawless reviews—it feels fake. We've all seen the scams with paid reviews on Amazon for a product that seems too good to be true, and it turns out it is. So don't get too discouraged when you end up with a few bad reviews; it doesn’t matter how well you run your business, you can’t make everyone happy. Each business chooses to handle negative reviews differently, but your reviewers should feel heard. If you receive the same feedback from multiple unhappy clients, take the time to listen and be open to changing processes.
In the end, if you keep providing an exceptional experience, and encourage your happy clients to leave feedback, you will garner positive reviews and a good reputation. The best way to counteract a bad review is to drown out the negativity with positive experiences.
Does your accounting firm have a place for clients to leave reviews? Let us know your review strategy in the comments below.