How to get 5 star reviews (inc. quick hotel case study)

By | Customer Service, Reviews | No Comments

When it comes to reviews, the Google Local eco-system is really starting to build out in this area.
Personally, I’ve now done over 200 reviews, and given most of those businesses five stars when I believe they deserve it.

There are some obvious ways to win people’s hearts and minds – which (when approached correctly) is likely to get you more reviews. 

In my Managing Online Customer Reviews course on (a Linkedin company) I give the process of how people can get more reviews.

My tips tend to include the following:

  • You should not incentivize any reviews (e.g. offer a free coffee/meal etc)
  • To deal with bad reviews – reply to them, and take the conversation to email or phone call
  • Be careful asking for reviews – Yelp don’t like it, but Google and Tripadvisor seem ok. Having more control over who leaves a review is an idea that really appeals to people serving in business.
  • Find the link to the website you want to direct people towards i.e. your listing on that website,
  • Create a QR code and shorten the URL to make it easy for people. You can create a QR code for free and super easily. Just Google ‘QR code generator’ for loads of options.
  • For a shortened URL (only as they are quicker to type in) then you could use or Google’s services, or create your own branded one.
  • On iPhone people may not have the Google Maps app downloaded, so they will be prompted to do so.
  • Create flyers, cards, posters that really grab people’s attention – and move them towards wanting to support you.

But the course has an enormous amount more that will help any businesses looking at social care (i.e. customer service, reflected by online reviews) – do check it out if you want to learn more.

Seeing, I’ve spent the past couple of weeks on the road, I thought I would give a few extra tips for anyone in the hotel industry on how they can please their customers too…

Quick case study for hotels:

As an official Google Small Business advisor I tend to be on the look out to help small businesses grow, as well as larger ones ensure they are doing their best too.

If you have a hotel, or area a local consultant, please do check they are ‘on the map’ with Google.
It is free, and easy to do:

I recently had two very different hotel experiences.

$350 a night (the quoted price) at the Marriott Marquix in San Diego (below):

How to get 5 star reviews by not messing up

And ‘an other hotel’, at a rate of $120. 

The Marriott experience was near perfect, the latter was far from it, and needless to say, I didn’t bother taking pictures.
I know what you are thinking, if you pay $350 you’d expect to have a great experience, right?
But actually you should have a great experience at the lower price point too, should you? Otherwise you are paying for a bad experience.

As such, if you have an $120 hotel you can act like a $350 one by doing the following:

Supply free water

Don’t force people to have to go to a vending machine to buy it.

Get a simple filtration system.

They are not going to fill their swimming pools. Let it be free.

Supply free Wi-fi

Yes, please don’t charge for wi-fi. It’s like air and water now.

And give your guests information on how to access it when they arrive, don’t make them work for it.

Does the room really need a fridge?

Noisy fridges in rooms, and without water. Grrrrr….

Have a supply of phone chargers

Android and iPhone. They cost $10 from a CVS. Buy a few. Take a deposit if you want, or give people the option to purchase. But someone will have lost theirs, or left it on the plane.
Make it easy for people to feel served.

Enable the rooms to be dark.

Turn off the lights outside please- there is no need to have lights beaming through the cracks in the curtains.


Customer service is more than just smiling nicely, and there is so much you can do to improve people’s experience, and when the time is right you get in touch with my old friend Jon Hall and he’ll do you a great deal on the software you need to dominate the reviews space.

You can contact me here too, and we will put in place a customer service plan that will make your customers smile.

Could NFC enabled business cards help you get more reviews?

By | Google Reviews, Reviews | No Comments

I’ve been playing with NFC (near field communications) enabled cards that I got via and even though I LOVE the idea, I did run into a few issues.

The basic principle is that a chip in the business card activates ‘something’ on your from e.g. opening a URL, or an app, or another phone function.

I had the NFC redirect set up for access to get more reviews, with a landing people so they could leave us a Google Review.

BUT I was surprised that a) many people didn’t have NFC switched on (Android), b) that you needed to take the phone out of the case to activate it, and c) of course, those smug and pesky iPhone users (only joking) couldn’t play along anyway.

Here about it in this quick video:

All in all, a combination of methods to get people to the right place to leave you a review is what to think about.
This includes NFC, QR (even just to catch people’s eye), shortened links, and simply asking people!

Check out our reviews partner here: Review and Reputation Management (free link generator here) to get your head into how you can use the latest changes in Google to get more reviews.

The Uber review system explained and explored!

By | Reviews | No Comments

Continuing with my slight obsession with review systems, leading back to ‘Google’ and why we make the decisions we make, I thought you may be interested to learn a little more about Uber.

I’ve spent over a hundred hours talking at depth with drivers, and delving into their experience at many levels, including the financials.


Mostly, however, I became fascinated with their reviews system and how it was received by the drivers and passengers alike.


This is not a taxi service, but a shared experience.
As you have probably heard, there is a two way feedback loop – rating on a five point scale

i.e. this means that the driver gets to rate the people as well.
Which they seem to like.

And as Peter Diamandis from the Singularity University discusses here, this may well help everyone ‘care’ more.

We know from my research into ‘why’ people leave bad reviews, that the main reason is poor customer service, which is otherwise known as poor ‘customer care’.

What you may now know is that Uber driver get a weekly email re: their reviews.
In fact, this I am finding to be increasingly the case i.e. business, managers, are using reviews as their main feedback mechanism.

Some David’s Tea locations (with over 160 US stores now) and many others I’ve visited use Yelp and Google reviews to ‘judge’ what is going on in their stores.

Managers are connecting the names of the customer from the reviews sites, and tallying their experience to the person who served them.

The Prisoner’s Dilemma

With Uber there is an interesting phenomena occurring though. And this is based on interviewing many drivers.
If the driver ‘has doubts’ that the person is going to leave them a good review, and they ‘think’ the person is going to leave them a bad one, they ‘get in quick’ and leave a bad review for the passenger!

Now, here is the only thing I question:
Negative reviews are anonymous (i.e. to the driver).

And the feedback from drivers is that this ‘hurts’.

If people don’t know what they’ve done wrong, then they don’t know what to improve.

We can see this with other review systems such as Yelp or Google My Business – without transparency as to the ‘who’ the ‘what’ (i.e. a poor review) may not serve to improve service.

As far as it goes for the passenger, if you ask for your rating they will probably tell you (mine is 4.8 out of 5 – meaning I lost some points along the way),

What can we learn from this?

Review systems are on the rise and I truly think the Google review eco-system has hardly started yet.
The ‘gold rush’ for stars and positive feedback will be pushed over the coming years.

If you are a small business owner. Start looking at how to help people leave you reviews in the right places for you.

If you are a business looking at implementing a reviews system then consider whether a 360 degree system could work.

As it happens, drivers also seem to think there is an additional scale which is for the organization to assess their performance, e.g. on whether they reject too many calls/pick ups.
Again reinforcing the ‘right’ behaviours for the business.

All in all, with Uber people love the flexibility, and not having a boss.
As such I expect we will see it continue to rise for years to come.


Local Consumer Review Survey 2015!

By | Google My Business, Reviews | No Comments

With thanks to we have an up-to-date view of the reviewscape, and with myself Nick Rink and Priya Chandra running through their latest report in the video with a few extracts I think you would like to know below too:

A few key points:

Below is a glance at how you can interrupt some of the findings.
Awesome if you are looking at building your review presence, and getting more customers through your door.

  • Almost 80% of people will read between 2-10 reviews before feeling they can trust a business.
  • When judging a Local business on their reviews, 60% of people will pay most attention to overall star rating; and 44% will focus on quantity of reviews.
  • Around 85% of people said reviews need to be within the past 6 months to be relevant.
  • Almost 85% of people said ‘3 stars’ was the minimum for they would need for choosing a business.
  • 94% of businesses said they would choose a business with 4/5 stars, but only 57% would choose them if they have 3/4 stars.
  • 68% of people say that positive reviews make them trust a business more. Only 11% say they don’t take notice of reviews.
  • After reading positive reviews, 71% of people say they either visit the website or call the business.
  • 29% said they would recommend a business that was ‘professional and reliable’; 22% said they would when they were ‘warm and welcoming’.
    (the latter is up from 7% 2 years ago!)

All in all, reviews matter. Are you paying attention to them? Get in touch here if you would like to discuss how we can help.

How to deal with bad reviews

By | Google My Business, Reviews | No Comments

If you have a Local type business listed on sites such as Yelp, Tripadvisor or Google Maps then you are likely at some point to have to deal with getting a bad review.

And they may cost your business a small fortune – as this article shows – £30,000 a year.
(courtesy of Malcolm Maybury, one of our PYB Local Consultants)

Here are a few suggestions to help, based on suggestions from PYB team member and Local expert Priya Chandra:

  1. Respond to all reviews – good and bad.  People have taken the time to review you, take the time to say thank you.
  2. You want to reply to the review professionally and to the point.
    If things look like they’re heating up take the discussion offline (provide an email address for them to contact you for more detailed conversation). More from Priya here.
  3. Promote good reviews on the Google+ Page and then embed that post into the testimonials section of your website (if you have one).
  4. Remember that people don’t believe that a business will have 100% positive reviews as well! Negative reviews are expected and Google will actually factor that possibility into their calculations (which is how a business with 100% positive reviews can have an overall rating of <5 stars). More info on calculations here. And more info on negative reviews effect on business here.
  5. All review sites offer ways to flag reviews that break their Terms of Service but won’t remove a review simply for being negative.

Note: Yelp won’t let you ask for reviews but you can advertise that you’re on Yelp in your business – and ask people to check-in via Yelp, and when they do that they’ll be asked to review the business.
Google allows you to ask for reviews but not to offer any incentives.

Tripadvisor seem happy for you to ask too.


My best advice is this: build up a ‘warchest of positive reviews’ so that you won’t get hit too hard when one or two bad ones hit, and they will. Think about 20 four and five stars to every one star you may receive.
And note, you cannot ask for Yelp reviews directly but with Google you can. And Google owns Search…

Want our free quick reviews guide? Click here!

Could having Google reviews double your business?

By | Google Plus, Reviews | No Comments

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 10.14.48 AM

I chatted with Dr. Daz and he told me that these are the recent stats for his business:

2013… 1st May to end June – 3 new starters.
2014… 1st May to end June – 3 new starters.
2015… 1st May to end June – 8 new starters.

He says, this he believes is down to his Google My Business listing. If so, it is solid evidence of a simple action producing almost triple the amount of business from previous years!

Daz Thornton Piano Lessons Heckmondwike

Which review sites should your business be on?

By | Google Local, Reviews | No Comments

If you are keen on managing your online reputation you will want to make sure you are a) on the right sites for you, and b) managing the reviews – e.g. responding to people, when you get some.

In this super interview with Phil Rosek we run through his graphic available here.

We cover a load of site and the factors: visibility, leverage and difficulty.
It is an interview that will be well worth you time!

Want our free guide to getting more AWESOME reviews? (click!)

The Impact Of Social Media Listening On Customer Reviews: The Case of GoPro

By | Reviews | No Comments

Andy Sernovitz once said: “You will get more word of mouth from making people happy than anything else you could possibly do.” So what is the easiest, most effective, and cheapest way to keep customers happy? You guessed right, social media is what you need.

This article looks at the case of GoPro‘s customer reviews on social media and review sites such as Amazon. What do their consumers complain most about? Is there a way to encourage positive reviews on review sites? How can I keep a customer happy?

Let’s take a look at the performance of GoPro using social media analytics pulled from social data intelligence tool Talkwalker.

The software, battery and image quality are what make customers angry

GoPro Inc. has its own Amazon account. Let’s take a look at one of their collections, the GoPro HERO series. The GoPro HERO series has 14.6% of negative reviews among the 182 reviews analysed with Talkwalker.

Talkwater 1
(Share of sentiment for GoPro HERO reviews on Amazon. Source: Talkwalker)

If we zoom in the data and take a deeper look at the customer’s concerns, we can identify the following frequent customer problems that require attention such as:

  • Software
  • Battery
  • “image quality” OR “video quality”

Talkwater 2
(Details on negative reviews of GoPro HERO on Amazon. Source: Talkwalker)

As those posts are flagged as negative, it is easy for GoPro’s analysts to pinpoint customers’ pain points. Once that is identified, it is interesting for us to take a detour on social media and find whether those complaints match with criticisms found on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Facebook and Twitter find the same complaints as Amazon reviews

Comments about the software:

Talkwater 3
(Complaints about GoPro’s software on Twitter. Source: Talkwalker)

Talkwater 4
(Complaints about GoPro’s software on Facebook. Source: Talkwalker)

Comments about the battery:

Talkwater 5
(Complaints about GoPro’s battery on Facebook. Source: Talkwalker)

Comments about the image or video quality:

Talkwater 6
(Complaints about GoPro’s image and video quality on Facebook. Source: Talkwalker)

Use Twitter for Customer Service

Consumers use Twitter not only to express their dissatisfaction but also to reach out to GoPro for assistance. While managing customer complaints is never going to be an easy task, tracking and analysing your social data and reporting any incidents internally with the right tools can drastically ease your task.

Unfortunately for GoPro, it seems that the community management team isn’t too responsive, leaving questions and complaints pending and therefore not giving themselves the chance of keeping a customer happy and turning them into potential brand ambassadors:

Talkwater 7

The multifaceted impact of social media

Although customer reviews on review sites might be the last stop before any new potential buyer makes their purchase decision, valuable customer insights can be identified in an earlier stage of the review process thanks to precise social media monitoring.

Companies should definitely incorporate social media data to discover:

  • What are the customer’s opinions on each of their product?
  • Which issues are mostly annoying the customers?
  • Which aspects of their products are most loved by consumers?
  • Who is talking about my products on social media and would that person endorse your product well?

Twitter is powerful to provide assistance, show the company’s accountability and transparency, as well as keeping a customer happy and thus increasing the chances of getting positive reviews later on in review sites.

The analysis has been performed using advanced social media analytics from Talkwalker:
Talkwalker is one of the world’s leading social data intelligence companies, which was selected to become a Twitter Official Partner in 2014. Talkwalker’s state of the art platform monitors and analyzes online conversations on social networks, news websites, blogs, forums and more, in over 187 languages. Clients are impressed by the flexibility of Talkwalker’s advanced social media analytics engine, the fast reporting, the use case driven approach and the extensive global coverage.

Request a free demo now!

Improve Customer Service for Better Online Reviews

By | Content Marketing, Google Local, Google Plus, Reviews, Social Media Marketing | No Comments

Intro from Martin:

Over the past few weeks I’ve been receiving demos for a load of awesome reviews type software, as I am learning the ins and outs of this space.

I asked Reputation loop whether they would like to guest blog for the community, and here it is!

Great customer service:

Great customer service is often a must-have for consumers and businesses alike.  Customers demand top-quality customer service and businesses want to attract and retain those customers.

Beyond retention, improving customer service and making a true commitment to enhancing the customer experience you has added bonuses.  I’m in the business of five-star reviews and creating positive online reputations so let’s talk about how happy customers ARE going to leave reviews and spread the word, and prospective customers ARE going to listen.

Why Customer Service and Online Reviews Matter

When consumers are searching for the best place to spend their money, their buying decisions are heavily influenced by the experiences of previous customers.  With online reviews having such a big impact, it is important that a business who wants to have a competitive edge do their best to please the customer, every time.  That commitment is how you create a company culture where high quality customer is the norm.

Every Ford dealership in your town can sell you a brand new F150, and there isn’t going to be a huge difference in pricing.  But which one makes it a no hassle, enjoyable experience?  You and everyone else can find the answers to everything they want to know about a company or product in seconds online.  In many buying decisions customer service is the differentiator, and the speed and ease of access to other customer’s experiences is why buyer research is so detailed and influential today.

Looking at the emotional side of buying, customers want to feel good about the money they spend. Are your online reviews and reputation giving the warm and fuzzies to prospective customers?

Zendesk survey found that 82% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company because of bad customer service.  So a better question is:  Is your customer service scaring away customers? They need to.

That same Zendesk survey showed 40% of customers began purchasing from a competitor because of the competitor’s reputation for great customer service.   If there are other options in your market, with better reviews and less complaints, you are at risk of losing customers daily.  That is why improving customer service needs to be an area of concentration when building and nurturing your online reputation.

Improve Customer Service for 5-Star Online Reviews

What is your company’s commitments in the area of customer service?  In today’s highly competitive market you need to exceed your industry’s standards of quality of service.  Customers have high expectations when spending their money, and it goes far beyond a simple service or product in exchange for payment. They want fast delivery, competitive pricing and exceptional customer service.

Of the three, the most remarked upon in reviews is customer service because a review is just a recount of their experience with your business. How they “felt” about your business will be less about the product bought and more closely tied to the interaction with your company, the buying process and how the product or service improved their life.

Think about horrible reviews you have read.  There had to be a truly negative emotional reaction tied to that experience to make a person go through the trouble of writing and posting such a passionate warning to others to avoid a business.  Rarely is a negative review a simple “Product didn’t work” statement.  More than likely you will find a lengthy explanation on how the business failed to fix a problem or make things right.  Low one- and two-star reviews are usually a direct reflection of poor customer service.

The brighter side of customer service is that great customer service can trigger an equally as passionate positive emotional response in customers that inspires them to share their exceptional experience with others online.  When you have high standards of customer service, customers are happier and getting those crucial five-star reviews are easier and more rewarding.

Consistently high ratings not only sets you at the top of review site listings, the highest rated businesses are now a major feature of first-page search engine results for local searches which translates into increases in online exposure, as well as customer trust.

4 Areas of Improvement for Better Customer Service and Better Reviews

  1. Control Customer Touch Points. A touch point is every opportunity a customer has to see or hear about your business. These include things like reviews, marketing, ads, logos, and branding, as well as every person online or in-person a customer interacts with throughout their buyer journey.  Insist on clear and consistent messaging, be passionate and concise on where you add value for the customer, and ensure that promises are being kept.  Fewer and fewer human interaction are happening, so customer service needs to be the shining star of your customer touch points.
  2. Website User Experience. People visit your website for very specific reasons. Dig into your website analytics and get a good idea of your buyer’s journey on your website. Whether it is for buying or directions, photos or instructions – pick out the top reasons for your website traffic and make it easy for your visitors to be able to find that information or perform that task.

It’s also now crucial that your website be optimized for mobile! According to a Federal Reserve survey 69% of shoppers who used their phone to comparison shop in a retail store changed where they purchased a product as a result.  Your customers are using their smartphones to research decisions, don’t make them go look somewhere else.

  1. Prioritize Customer Service for You and Employees. Have a clear company-wide standard for customer service and ensure that your employees are aware of the high priority company leaders place on providing the highest levels of customer service. Employees will perform better when expectations are clear and stellar customer service is noticeably a part of the company culture and your commitment to your customers.
  2. By the Book – A saying you will recognize is, “Do it by the book.” Having written standards and expectations eliminates the grey area that separates a customer service issue from a customer service problem. You don’t need a full-length book (or even a whole handbook) to convey the standards and expectations of your company’s customer service. But written somewhere, and supplied to or readily available to your employees should be a document that touches on expectations in regards to face-to-face interactions, phone and email etiquette, and include company customer service commitments and timelines (such as email response within 1 hour).  It should also provide branding and marketing resources such as logos, taglines, and messaging your employees should be using to create a consistent experience for customers.

How to Get Better Reviews that Drive Customers to You

When you start from a foundation of a good product and great customer service, getting positive reviews is not hard.  But it’s also not automatic.  There are a few things you can do to make sure that great reviews keep coming in and posting online where prospective customers are looking for them.

  1. Make Review Management Part of Your Marketing Plan. Make it a priority, budget for it, and you will be rewarded with an improved reputation, more customers and increased revenue. If you don’t have the budget to purchase systematic or automated review management service then set aside some time each week to monitor reviews being left on high traffic sites. Make immediate improvements in areas of your customer service that are reflecting negatively online to increase your chances of getting positive reviews in the future.
  2. AUTOMATE the Whole Process. Imagine how many reviews you would receive if you asked every single customer for feedback on their experience. There are services like Reputation Loop (affiliate link) that automate the review management process of gathering feedback and getting reviews posted online. With Reputation Loop’s intelligent routing, customer feedback that is less than stellar is sent back to the business for special handling, and positive reviews are forwarded to review sites for direct posting. Those five-star and four-star reviews are posted to your social media profiles, and the webpages that impact your business most.
  3. Ask for The Review. When you provide great customer service, there is no reason to shy away from asking customers for a review. When you let them know that you value their opinion and what they have to say will directly influence how you conduct business, they are happy to repay you for your great customer service by sharing their experience with others.
  4. Make it Super Easy to Post a Review. After the customer has paid you for a service or product, make leaving a review a fast and easy process. Smooth the way by being listed in major directories and on high traffic review sites that matter in your industry, and providing customers with direct links to your business profiles on those sites so they are never more than a couple of clicks from submitting a complete review.

Customer service has a huge impact on your company’s reviews, revenue and customer lifetime value.  Studies have shown that nearly 90% of consumers have been influenced by an online customer service review when making a buying decision.  If something is important to 9 out of 10 buyers in your consumer population, it needs to be very important to you too.  You can’t force someone to buy from your company, but with a reputation for great customer service and positive reviews on customer experience you have a powerful influence over who they trust with their purchase.

Find out more from here! (affiliate link)