Online reviews have a tremendous amount of power these days. A good one can bring in droves of customers and a negative one can drive away potential clients. As a small business owner, how do you inspire your customers (especially the happy ones) to write online reviews of your business?

“I was at my tailor the other day and he straight up asked me, ‘Micah, when are you going to write me a review?’” says Micah Solomon, customer service expert, consultant, speaker and author of High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service. “I’d been going to him for years and it had never dawned on me to write something about him online. I went home that night and was pleased to write him reviews.”

Just ask


Solomon’s experience can be applied to any business. As he now recommends, business owners are smart to come out and ask their customers to write reviews. It is best to do this in person, he says, but it can also be done over the phone or even email.

“Look at your client list and identify the people who spend sizable amounts of money with you every year,” he says. “We aren’t talking about a shop owner contacting someone who came in one time and spent $10. Asking them probably isn’t the best idea because it will come off as a random solicitation call and may annoy them.

“Instead, focus on your repeat customers, call them up and simply ask them to help you out.”

Solomon adds that it is important for business owners to explain the importance of such reviews to customers. Tell them that it can make a world of difference for your business and your personal life and try to make a unique connection when contacting them.

“When calling, talking to or emailing someone, make reference to the last thing they purchased and thank them for their business,” recommends Solomon. “Explain how much it means to you and how much it would mean to you for them to write a review online.”

Make it easy

Not all customers are savvy on the web. If you really want a client to review your business online, try making it easier for them to find your Yelp, Facebook and/or TripAdvisor page by emailing them a link.

Suggests Solomon, “If you are in person, print up a few cards with the web addresses of your review pages and give these cards to your customers at checkout.”