crew customer service skills

8 Customer Service Skills That Every Employee Needs

It’s a cutthroat world out there so your business needs to be prepared. Training your customer service representatives on what to say and how to say it is the first step. The truth is, your customer service reps are the front line of your business. These are the people who represent your business and engage with your customers (potential and longtime buyers alike) day in and day out.

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 Customer Service Skills Employees Need

  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Positive Language
  • Clear Communication
  • Knowledge of Product
  • Able to Read Between The Lines
  • Persuasiveness
  • Calming Presence

Without a game plan for the way your team operates and communicates with customers, your business can suffer big-time. To ensure poor customer service isn’t the reason you lose a sale, this article will go over the essential skills you should look for in your employees. Some of these skills may be innate for some, but they can all be taught over time.

Every employee on your roster should exhibit these customer service skills if you truly want your company to succeed. Not only are these qualities helpful in business, but they will likely propel you and your employees in life overall as well.

employee customer service skills

#1: Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share in the feelings of somebody else. This is a good example of a customer service skill that tends to be more of a personality trait, but with careful attention, you can still work to improve it.

This skill comes in handy because, even if you can’t give a customer exactly what they want, you can understand their frustrations. It may not solve the problem at hand immediately, but acknowledging the feelings the customer may be experiencing will help you gain the customer’s trust. They will see you are a human and not just a robot with zero regards for their wellbeing. As soon as your employees understand how to empathize with the customer, they can work towards creating more strategic messaging to help create a better outcome for everyone involved.

Something as simple as the following statement can work wonders: “I understand you’re probably very disappointed that we could not honor the expired sale price, but I want to help make things right.”

#2: Patience

Truly being patient with a customer means to wait without getting annoyed or upset. The need for patience at work can arise in a variety of different scenarios, no matter the managerial level of the employee.

Sometimes, patience just means listening to the customer air their grievances. Letting your client feel heard and respected is a big customer service tactic that can pay off really well—especially when you take into account the fact that customers are often reaching out because they are confused or frustrated. Simply take the time to hear them out without cutting them off or insinuating they are wrong, and see what happens.

We hate to be cheesy, but the old saying is true: Patience is a virtue.

#3: Positive Language

You’ve met a Debbie Downer before, haven’t you? A Debbie Downer exhibits the opposite of positive language—this type of person finds a reason to speak negatively about pretty much everything. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer at parties, and your customers will certainly not appreciate one when they’re trying to do business with you.

Words have power, and it’s in your best interest to use your words to strengthen customer relationships, not tear them down. Using positive language in customer service means you can turn any situation into an open-ended, positive one instead of a closed-off negative one.

For example, if a customer asks you a question, and you’re not sure of the answer, what do you think is the best reply?

  1. I don’t know
  2. Great question, let me look into that for you!

The second answer is an example of using positive language. Do you see how the second reply can turn the situation around, while the first reply is a dead-end, an unenthusiastic answer? Another example is, instead of saying you can’t do something, say that you can try to solve the issue. Again, it’s a simple switching of your language, but it makes a very big difference in your customer’s happiness.

#4: Clear Communication

Clear communication is achieved when the exact message you are trying to send is the exact message received. Sometimes, people can misinterpret confusing language and take it to mean something completely different than intended—that is the opposite of clear communication.

For example, if you were purchasing a bag at the store, and an employee said you qualified for a gift that would be included at checkout, you may think that means the gift is free. But what if that employee then proceeded to ring up the “gift,” tacking the price onto your bill? You’d be upset, right?

When it comes to important details, make sure you leave nothing up to doubt. Even though the employee in the example made a mistake, it could easily turn you off of that store forever. If you need to take extra steps to ensure your customer understood you clearly, then go ahead and provide some extra explanation. Nobody likes feeling like they’ve been tricked (even if by accident).

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#5: Knowledge of the Product

A big annoyance for customers is when a company’s staff seems unknowledgeable. You should know what you’re selling as if it were the back of your hand. Lack of knowledge about your product can immediately crush your customer’s trust that you know what you’re doing at all.

If someone asks a question about your product you’re unsure of, use positive language to help you figure it out: “To be honest, I’m not sure if we carry that model anymore, but let me check with inventory to make sure.”

If you don’t know your product, how do you communicate the benefits to your customer and get them to buy it?

#6: Ability to Read Between the Lines

These days, customer service can be conducted via telephone or computer, which means it’s much harder to read customer cues. When you can’t see facial expressions or hear the tone in a customer’s voice, it’s a lot tougher to assess their true feelings about the situation. That’s why it’s more important than ever to anticipate and read between the lines.

Reading between the lines means thinking beyond what the customer is telling you. Look for subtle clues that may be able to help you understand their mood, patience level, or personality. Someone who does not use exclamation points or lengthy wording, for example, probably won’t enjoy receiving those things from you, either.

customer service skill

#7: Persuasiveness

Being persuasive means you can help convince the customer to take an action you want them to take. Persuasiveness does not equal being pushy.

A lot of times, customers will fill out your customer feedback forms with curiosity and questions about your company, not because they want to complain. If your customer service rep or employee receives one of these curious inquiries, he or she needs to be ready to convince the customer that the company is the right choice. A good customer service rep should always be ready to turn a question into a sale, and having persuasion skills is the top way to do this.

#8: Calming Presence

To have a calming presence, take special note of the social cues you are exuding. Harsh tone and fast speech are two no-nos if you are trying to calm the customer down. “Keep it cool” under pressure, and see the positive results that ensue.

If a customer is upset, the customer service support team is that customer’s one hope that their issue can be solved. Instead of blaming the customer or getting testy with them, stay calm and walk them through their issue as slowly as needed. Hopefully, by the end of the conversation, your customer will also be much calmer.

If you’ve completely appeased a situation and the customer is thanking you 10 times over, now is also a great time to point them in the direction of your leaving you a review or filling out a feedback form. Ask them kindly if they might like to record their experience and send them a link to leave a review. But remember: Only ask if the customer is happy.

Conclusion

As you may have realized, a lot of these customer service skills can go hand-in-hand. It’s hard to be patient without empathy, and it’s difficult to retain a calming presence without patience. That means, though, as you master each one, the others will become easier.

Which customer service skills do you think are most important? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments!

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Customer Feedback Question Examples

Customer Feedback Question Examples

Don’t you wish you could gauge how satisfied your customers are? You can, by conducting a customer feedback questionnaire. These handy surveys are a smart way to get in your customers’ heads. You can receive invaluable feedback on how to improve your business with customer questionnaires, but only if you use them correctly.

For the most effective and useful customer feedback survey, you must supply the right questions.

Here are the steps to writing a great customer feedback questionnaire:

  1. Know what types of questions to ask
  2. Ask them at the right time
  3. Questions for customer service
  4. Questions for products and shipping
  5. Questions for customer loyalty

We will also provide you with some examples and templates to follow for crafting your questions, so you’ll have an excellent framework to reference. It’s not difficult to create compelling questions, but it is important that you try. Are you ready to unlock key customer feedback to boost business?

know what customer feedback questions to ask

Know What Questions to Ask

The first component of crafting an effective customer feedback questionnaire is to brainstorm what questions you will be asking. What kind of information do you need from your customers? How will you obtain that information?

Closed-Ended Questions

A smart way to control the variety of answers you receive is to provide closed-ended questions. This means using questions that have either a rating scale, multiple choice, or a drop-down menu instead of a blank text box for fill-in answers. This way, you can accurately compare answers to all the questions since you will have a control on the types of answers you can receive.

For example, if you use a rating scale of 1-15, you can compare the numbers from each answer to assemble a clear data set of rating scores. A 5 on customer service compares easily to a 14 on product quality. You can easily analyze the data to make improvements.

Similar types of closed-ended questions can use yes or no answers as well as semantic scales (“1 strongly disagrees, 5 strongly agree”). As long as you have a uniform rating system that can be used across the board, you will have a much more successful dataset to use.

Clear, Simple Questions

Another thing to keep in mind when crafting questionnaire questions is the person on the other end. Will they find this wording confusing? Does this question have too many parts to it? Is it tiring to answer?

All of these thoughts must be considered as you’re writing your questions. It is important to keep them as clear as possible, so you don’t confuse your customer. A confused customer can easily exit out of the survey webpage if they feel you’re asking too much of them. So, remember that. Ask one-part questions, and make it as simple as possible to answer. Often, brevity is best.

Customer Feedback Question Examples

Know The Right Time To Ask

After you know the right questions to ask the next thing you need to know is when to ask the customer for the feedback.

  • Ask when the customer is happiest. Nobody wants to rave about how great your business is if they were not happy with your product or service.
  • Ask the customer right after the service is completed. Similar to asking when the customer is happiest. Usually, they’re most excited soon after the purchase, or the service is completed.

Using a review platform can help automate sending customer feedback questionnaires and monitoring the sentiment of your customers before they leave a review on a public forum.

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Example Questions For Customer Feedback

customer feedback questions

Though every company’s customer feedback surveys will be different because of their goals and specific questions. There are still some general subject areas that apply to most types of business.

Every company, whether they realize it or not, is in the business of customer service. Without happy customers, a business cannot succeed. That means, when creating your customer survey, you’ll want to ask the right kinds of customer service questions to get the best, most useful answers.

Below are a few examples to help you get started:

  • Did our staff make you feel like a valued customer?
  • Did our staff communicate with you clearly?
  • On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the least helpful, how well do you feel your agent handled your request?
  • Overall, do you feel that our staff was knowledgeable about the services we offer?

Notice that all of these questions ask about specific points of service—this helps you receive clear, actionable answers.

Examples of Questions for Products and Shipping

Your products go hand-in-hand with customer satisfaction. If your customers are not enjoying your product, they are likely not enjoying your company. Before you lose valuable customers for good, it’s important you assess the state of your product quality and your shipping efficiency. Product creation and delivery are what keep your business thriving, so why wouldn’t you want to improve these aspects?

Especially in the online world, we operate in these days, customer expectations continue to increase. Much of Amazon’s success can be accredited to their speedy 2-day shipping and seamless process. It’s time for you to get a piece of that pie. For reference, Business Insider says the way to beat this retail giant is to offer same-day shipping. As you can imagine, shipping and product quality are more important than ever.

To help gain crucial insight into your products and shipping, take a look at the below question examples to prompt helpful answers.

Below are a few examples to help you get started:

  • Did your product arrive on time?
  • On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the least satisfied, how happy are you with the product quality?
  • Is the service easy to use? If not, please explain any difficulties.
  • Are you satisfied with our shipping options? If not, please tell us the options you would prefer.

Examples of Questions for Customer Loyalty

Lastly, a customer survey questionnaire is a great opportunity for you to improve your customer loyalty and longevity. A loyal customer is your most prized possession because these are customers that are invested in your brand and choose to come back to you time and again. The way to obtain loyal customers is to reach your customer on an emotional level—you want them to feel connected to your brand.

To achieve better customer longevity, you can use strategic questioning in your survey to find out what you may be doing wrong in customer retention. Sometimes the answers may not be pretty, but, remember: You need to hear the good and the bad to grow. No company is perfect, but surveys can help you be the best you can be.

Try the below customer loyalty questions to gain insight into your realistic customer retention:

  • On a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the least likely, how likely are you to recommend our service/product to a friend, colleague, or family member?
  • If you are not likely to recommend our service/ product, please tell us why. [You can include an N/A option here in addition to a text box]
  • Do you plan on purchasing from us in the future?
  • Would you like to stay in the know with upcoming deals, events, and company news?

As you might imagine, customer loyalty questions are also a smart spot to try to increase customer loyalty. While you have your customers commenting on their satisfaction, the happy ones will be emotionally invested. These emotionally invested customers are more likely to respond to a call-to-action at the end of your survey, so consider using one of the questions as a marketing vehicle. The final example question listed above is a great feeder to add loyal customers to your email list, further cementing their status as a champion for your brand.

If you use them right, customer feedback surveys can give you loads of data to improve your business. As long as you ask the right questions and craft a questionnaire that’s simple to understand and complete, you can greatly leverage your customer feedback. We hope these examples and tips were helpful for you!

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How To Do A Customer Survey

How To Write A Customer Feedback Survey

Think about all those customers you’ve serviced. Wouldn’t it be nice to get detailed feedback from them? Sometimes, the most important revelations about your business are made through customer feedback surveys.

These questionnaires, if formatted with effective questions, can give you amazing insight into not only what you could stand to improve upon, but also who your true brand advocates are. It’s also, of course, a great way to see how truly satisfied your clients are.

Steps To Writing A Customer Feedback Survey

  1. Come up with a purpose and a title
  2. Determine who will receive your feedback survey
  3. Identify the feedback questions you want to ask
  4. Create a “thank you” page
  5. Track and measure customer feedback

Define The Feedback Survey Purpose & Title

Clearly outlining your survey’s focus and purpose that will prompt your customers to give you most useful feedback. If your customers are confused, they won’t waste their time and quickly exit the feedback survey. You need to make it simple for customers to give you feedback so they can be as engaged in their answers as possible!

At the very beginning of your questionnaire, tell the customer what the survey is about and why they are taking it. Then, make sure you create a concise, clear title that reflects that purpose. Everything should feel cohesive and simple to understand.

An example feedback survey title & description:

Title: Tell us what’s working for you, [name]

Description: Please fill out this survey to help us better understand what you love about [company name]. We want to know what we’re doing well and what we need to work on so we can continue to improve your experience with us. Thank you!

Another smart tip is to use personal ques, such as the client’s first name, in the title. This will make it seem like more of a two-way conversation instead of you just asking for a favor.

Determine Who Will Receive Your Feedback Survey

Remember, intention is key. Just as with our first tip, you need to be as specific as possible with your customer feedback questionnaire if you want valuable feedback from those you contact. If people feel like you’re blindly blasting the survey to everyone, it can feel cold, and they will be less inclined to help you.

Be intentional with your survey recipients. Think of the personal business contacts you directly work with. These are the people that can give you real results.

Use a reputation management tool to send your survey to direct contacts instead of everyone in your address book. This allows you to send surveys at the right time which will improve the number of review responses.

Identify The Questions You Want Answered

customer survey questions

Of course, if you want great answers, you need great questions. Poorly worded questions can be the death of a customer feedback survey, so to avoid that, you really should focus on the quality of the questions you’re asking. Like the title and purpose of your customer survey is to make them easy to answer.

Additionally, every question you ask needs to have a purpose. If a question doesn’t have a directly actionable solution based on feedback, then it doesn’t need to be in the survey. Think about it: Your customer is already doing you a favor; don’t bombard them with a ton of questions. Instead, quality is better than quantity.

As a general rule of thumb, try to limit your questions to five or 10 total. You will also want them to be usable in a few months so you can conduct another survey if need be, so try to leave out timestamps like “this spring” or something of that sort.

As far as the types of questions you should be asking, it will vary depending on your purpose, but for the most part, the below subjects should get you started.

  1. Helpfulness

Example: How happy are you with how we help solve your problems and suggest solutions relevant to your company’s goals?

  1. Efficiency

Example: How satisfied are you with the speed with which we handle operations?

  1. Partnership

Example: How happy are you with the way in which we collaborate with your organization?

  1. Accuracy

Example: How satisfied are you with the quality and accuracy with which we do business?

You’ll also want your questions to have multiple choices; it increases the likelihood that customers will complete your survey. You might scare off your customer with a giant text box right from the get-go. Consider beginning the questionnaire with a couple easy yes/no questions to loosen up your customer. SurveyMonkey did a lot of tests and found this strategy works well.

Create A “Thank You” Page

Thank you page - customer survey

Filling out a company’s feedback questionnaire can feel like doing community service to customers. They feel like they’ve just done a really good deed, and they want to be acknowledged for it. After all, they did voluntarily take the time to help you improve your company, with nothing “in it” for them. That is pretty selfless.

So, THANK. THEM. Create a “thank you” page for customers to see once they’ve completed the survey. It doesn’t take long and the benefits are huge. Firstly, it lets customers know their answers have been received. Second, it allows you to show your appreciation. Third, it can be one extra way to improve customer loyalty if you have a relevant blog post, case study, or other call-to-action to include.

An example “thank you” page:

Your feedback has been received! Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us how we can improve. We value your feedback and take it very seriously. If you’re curious, feel free to see how we’ve improved via feedback in the past. [add link to relevant resource]’”

That’s it! It’s simple, to the point, and just plain polite.

Track & Measure Customer Feedback

customer survey analytics and reporting

The final piece to this puzzle is to implement a data analysis process. If you are receiving feedback but you’re not analyzing the feedback, you will not truly improve. Data is useless if you do not pay attention to it.

One way to do that is to send out the survey within, say, six months of each other. If Customer 1 gives you a 7/10 on efficiency the first time, but a 5/10 later in the year, clearly, something happened to change their opinion of you. Having this information is great because then you can delve into some of the mistakes you are making so that you can fix them moving forward.

Additionally, paying attention to the answers you get to certain questions can also inspire more specific questions that help you improve your customer service even more.

Your customers are your company’s lifeblood, and knowing how they feel about you can only help you succeed. Customer feedback surveys are a very smart way to get actionable feedback, as long as you write them well and use the data to improve! Hopefully, these tips helped you write a great customer questionnaire.

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How to Remove Google Reviews

It’s difficult to avoid negative comments online—especially with all the fake reviewers and bots out there circulating the internet. So, before you start rage-typing a response to the negative reviewer, be sure to read our advice.

It’s important to remember that not all critical customer feedback is bad. Listening to your customers’ pain points helps you better serve them and solve their problems, which will work out in your favor in the long run. In the case of a bad Google Review, the first thing you’ll want to do is figure out whether or not it’s fake. Then, if it is fraudulent, you should work towards flagging the Google review as inappropriate to get it removed.

How To Remove Google Reviews

This article will go over the steps you should take to remove reviews from Google.

  1. Check your Google accounts for reviews
  2. Evaluate the reviews
  3. Respond to each review appropriately
  4. Flag fake reviews for removal
  5. Report review to Google Small Business support
  6. Get more positive reviews

Are you ready to get your online reputation back to what you want it to be? Great, let’s do this.

Step 1: Check Your Google Account for Reviews

how to remove Google reviews

First, you will want to know how to check your Google account for reviews. If you already know how to do this, you can skip this step, but we want to make sure we’re being as thorough as possible.

To even be able to see and respond to your business’s Google Reviews, your business needs to be verified. If you’re not sure how to verify your business, there’s helpful info here. Once you’re sure your business is verified, it’s time to start checking out those reviews of yours!

  1. Go to business.google.com to sign into your Google Business Account. If you have multiple businesses linked on Google, you may need to click Manage My Accounts to ensure you’re managing the correct business account.
  2. Click the Reviews tab.

That’s it! You should be able to see and respond to all your Google Reviews at this point. But, before you respond, keep reading this article! There is still more to do to properly handle negative and/or fake reviews.

Step 2: Evaluate the Reviews

remove fake Google reviews

In order to effectively handle your company’s online presence, it’s important not to act before thinking. Lots of successful companies can get in trouble simply by responding to reviews without thinking beforehand! Remember that everything you do online becomes a reflection of your business as a whole—good and bad. Here are some important tips for checking and evaluating your Google Reviews.

Set up a system to check them on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis.

Having a system in place will help you stay on top of both negative and positive reviews, which is important when it comes to responding to both types of reviews. You always want to reply in a timely manner, so consistently keeping an eye on reviews will help you be more proactive overall.

Decide if the reviews are real or fake.

Sometimes, you know right away when a review looks fake. Maybe it’s weirdly vague, has tons of spelling errors, or references people that don’t work at your company. Some fake reviews have telltale fake details, but others might be more difficult to spot.

Look through your records to decode fake reviews.

For the false reviews that need a little more investigation, you’ll have to dig a little. Many fake reviews will go into detail about why the company is so horrible—this makes them seem more believable. However, all you need to debunk these negative reviews is look at your records. Compare the details in the review to your past clients… Usually, you can remember right away whether or not you did business with this person.

Below is an example of a fake review that might not match up to your records upon further digging:

User with only one review: “Horrible place awfull customer service just all around bad. They sent someone to fix the unit a month ago and didnt even fix anything before quoting a huge price. Absolutly terrible and the fella wanted extra for coming out to view it. I told him to go try robing some other dumb person because i am not faling for it. Definately not using them again & no one else should give them there time of day.”

Clearly, there are grammar and spelling errors. There are also no definitive details giving a lot of weight to this review. To debunk it, all you’d need to do is look at your records a month from the time this review was left. Usually, that’s all you need to realize this is a totally fake review.

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Step 3: Respond to Reviews Quickly and Politely

Remember how we said responding to reviews in a timely fashion is important? Here’s the part where we tell you why. Even if it is a negative review, you need to respond just as if it were from a customer raving about your company.

On the internet, the longer something festers without any alleviation, the more people will begin to believe it. Think about it: If someone left a review for your restaurant claiming there was hair in their food, wouldn’t you want to alleviate that situation as soon as possible before other potential diners see the review? It just makes sense. You want to fix something immediately, so leaving negative reviews up to the new customer’s discretion, without telling your side of the story, is basically letting the negative reviewer win. They want to turn away your business, and you’re letting them.

So, instead of letting negative (and positive) Google Reviews just sit on your business listing, you need to do something about them.

When responding to negative reviews, remember to acknowledge the issue, explain your side if necessary, and make things right with the reviewer. We have quite a few templates for your review responses if you’re not sure how to word your replies. Just remember to stay calm and try not to let your emotions get the best of you. You are in customer service and you need to swallow your ego in these moments.

negative review response

Luckily, for any negative reviews you receive, you’re likely to have a lot more positive reviews. Even though positive reviews often speak for themselves, it’s still important to respond to them—you want that happy customer to come back and tell all their friends, right? Here’s how to respond to positive reviews so you’ll never be left without the right words to say.

Step 4: Flag Fake Reviews for Removal

removing fake google reviews

Now’s the moment those fraudulent reviews get what’s coming to them: Removal! Because Google understands that there is a possibility for fake reviews, the platform gives business owners the opportunity to flag these reviews. Flagging a fake review on Google allows the team at Google to take a look at the review and decide whether or not it should be removed. Here’s how to flag a fake Google Review:

  1. Open Google Maps, and search for your business
  2. Once you click on your business name, beneath your star rating, you’ll see the total number of reviews your company has on Google.
  3. Click that. (It usually looks like 31 reviews)
  4. Find the review you want to flag.
  5. Click the three vertical dots in the upper-righthand corner of the review.
  6. An option to “Flag as inappropriate” will pop up; click it to flag the review.

The review will then be looked at by Google’s team. However, if you want to take further action to ensure the review is removed, there are a couple extra steps you can take.

Step 5: Report the Fake Review to Google Small Business Support

If a review is especially harmful in nature and contains a lot of foul language and/or hate speech, you may want to escalate the issue. One way you can do this is by getting in touch with the Small Business Support offered by Google. There are a few ways to get in touch with Google Small Business Support:

  • Contact to follow-up. Go to your Google My Business page. Go to the Reviews tab. There, on the menu, you should see “Support.” Click that, and choose between the phone and email options to get in touch with a support associate. When filling in the contact info, be sure to add a screenshot of the review for extra attention—you should receive a response within 24-48 hours.
  • Tweet it. If social media is more your style, you can send for help via your company’s Twitter account. Once logged in, send a tweet to @GoogleSmallBiz, and explain your situation once you hear back (usually in about 24-48 hours).
  • Get legal. This option is best left for serious situations and likely means you need a lawyer. You can submit a Legal Removal Request if you believe the review qualifies as slander, but the requirements to do so are pretty high, so make sure you’ve read everything before submitting a request.

Once you’re in contact with someone from Google Small Business Support, you’ll want to have all your ducks in a row so you’re ready to defend yourself. Some things you’ll need to touch upon are: why the review is false, how it violates Google’s policies, and why it needs to be removed. It’s also smart to pull together any links, images, or evidence to further back up your claim. You’d hate to let the reviewer win after you’ve come this far!

Step 6: Get More Positive Reviews

how to get more google reviews

After flagging and handling the fake and negative reviews on your Google Business account, it’s time to start getting some positivity flowing again! One of the best ways to move on from bad reviews is to simply set out to collect more positive reviews.

To get more online reviews, we recommend following these steps. By asking for reviews while your customers are happiest, you can have much better success receiving positive reviews. We also think it’s important to use these specific strategies when asking for Google Reviews, as the process is a little different for each review platform.

As long as you have steady reviews coming in and you continue flagging fake/inappropriate Google Reviews, you will be just fine. Those negative reviews will fade out of sight and you’ll be able to start focusing again on what it is you do best: making customers happy.

Broadly Online Reputation Management