Reviews are essential for all businesses, but they’re sometimes hard to get. In this article, we’ll tell you how to encourage your clients to support your business by leaving them.
When you need a new piece of technology, how do you narrow your search?
In addition to the model and the price, as a shopper, you probably make your purchasing decision based on the reviews you read online.
As a business owner, you’re even more aware of how important reviews are for your salon. They can boost your reputation, build your visibility, and have an impact on sales.
Yet, some salons don’t get as many reviews as they deserve.
To help you in your quest to get more of them, we’ll guide you through five steps you can take and to boost their numbers.
The most direct way to get more reviews is to nudge clients into leaving them.
Although it may not have occurred to a client to leave a review on their own, they’ll probably be glad to write one if you ask after the treatment.
Keep in mind that, even if you aren’t satisfied with the number of reviews you’re receiving, there’s no need to doubt the quality of your services.
Even salons that provide excellent treatments and have great relationships with clients occasionally struggle with a lack of reviews.
However, you don’t have to invest in pricey marketing campaigns to fix the issue.
The problem usually lies in clients simply forgetting about reviews, which means that the solution is just as uncomplicated—you should remind them of how much reviews mean to a business.
A 2020 local consumer survey showed that the act of asking for a review has a big impact on whether a client writes one, as 72% of those who were asked to leave a review did so.
You could ask your clients for reviews in person after the treatment. Another option is to leverage technology.
There’s no need to spend hours mailing clients review requests manually. Our booking app, Zoyya, has an automatic reminder feature that you can use.
The feature allows you to follow up each treatment with an email thanking the client for their visit and asking for a review.
Of course, you only need to set up the template once, and Zoyya will do the rest.
If your salon has a website, that can also be used as a powerful tool.
For instance, in addition to actively seeking reviews, you can also place a permanent note on your website that encourages clients to leave them, as this English beauty salon did.
Asking for reviews on social media is another popular strategy that can boost your salon’s visibility.
Tom O’Brien, Co-Director of Baroque Hair, always asks the clients to review the service they’ve received and the overall experience through social media.
The practice incentivizes staff to deliver exemplary customer service.
All in all, the quickest way to encourage clients to leave you reviews is to ask them to do so immediately after the treatment.
Automated emails, websites, social media—all methods are valid, so you should find the most convenient one for you.
Requesting reviews is only part of the job; you still have to make it as easy as possible for your clients to do so.
Before so many people had Google and Facebook accounts, salons had to get creative to get reviews. They used to embed comments from what we nowadays see as obsolete and hard-to-access review websites.
Luckily, you don’t have to put your clients through such an ordeal anymore.
Rather than presenting clients with the task of registering on a site they’ve never used before, nowadays you can simply ask them to use the channels they’re already familiar with, such as Google.
Most salons claim their Google My Business listing as part of their reputation management strategy.
You can ask clients to review you there. Since they probably already have a Google account, that means they won’t have to take any additional steps to register beforehand.
An additional advantage of Google reviews is that clients can access them directly from your website.
For instance, Harringtons, an English hair salon chain, lets clients write reviews on Google and Facebook and then lists them on the salon website.
Similarly, let’s take a look at an example of a good practice from another industry that can get you inspired.
If you’ve visited any restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have seen a novelty in the way menus are presented.
To reduce the number of surfaces customers touch, many restaurants have introduced QR code menus.
This method of presenting information is also quicker and more convenient for the customers.
We’re not suggesting that you start serving manicures with a side of fries in your salon, but you could look into implementing QR codes to make reviewing even easier.
For instance, this permanent makeup artist has posted a QR code on Instagram, which takes clients directly to a review website she uses.
Some business owners also encourage customers to leave reviews by giving them small handouts with QR codes linked to their Google My Business page.
So, whichever channel or method you choose for collecting reviews, make sure your clients can review your salon effortlessly.
Writing a review may only take a few minutes, but it’s still an effort the clients make to boost your business.
As a way of saying thank you, you could implement small rewards.
Before we get into this, a word of caution needs to be said straight away:
Don’t offer incentives before asking for reviews!
On most review sites, such behavior is prohibited. Google will find you and penalize you, drastically reducing your online visibility.
Even the Federal Trade Commission has strict rules against undisclosed paid endorsements, and incentivizing clients to leave reviews can be considered bribery.
There is an option to disclose that you’ve given a discount or free service to a person who wrote a sponsored review, but that’s not the best marketing practice; it could damage your authenticity.
However, there is a way to reward the clients for making an effort to write the reviews.
The essential part is that you do it after they’ve written them.
And while responding to positive reviews is an excellent way to maintain client relationships, but it’s also expected.
You need a more tangible way to show appreciation.
We’ve already mentioned that some businesses choose to reward reviewers with discounts for future services. If you go for this method, you should award discounts randomly and exclude your friends and family from the incentive plan.
Similarly, you could enter reviewers into a prize draw, as this Glaswegian hair salon does.
However, note that this particular salon doesn’t have to comply with the Federal Trade Commission regulations because of the location.
Therefore, always check your local regulations before implementing an incentive policy.
To be on the safe side, you could go with a small complimentary service, such as a scalp massage, the next time your reviewers return.
That way, you’re not risking breaking review policies.
If you can see a client is satisfied with the service, there’s already a good review waiting to be verbalized.
As we’ve said before, directly asking your clients to write them is the best way to amass a bulk of reviews. This will get you an authentic representation of how your client base feels about you.
However, you may receive some reviews that grade your salon with fewer than five stars.
Nevertheless, as we’ve written in our post on handling complaints, an occasional negative review shouldn’t concern you.
Most clients find businesses with perfect reviews untrustworthy, so a three or four-star review here and there could actually be beneficial for your salon.
Still, we know that positive reviews fuel a beautician's motivation for work.
The magic of working at a salon is being able to see the joy on your clients’ faces when they see their new pedicure or shake the tension off after a satisfying massage.
That’s an opportunity for getting a positive review.
The key to getting positive reviews is asking for them when clients are still excited about your products or services.
“If you ask for reviews at the right time—when customers are feeling positive about your product—they are more likely to leave them” — Kim Kohatsu, Charles Ave Marketing
Don’t forget to adjust this strategy according to the services you provide.
For instance, if your salon specializes in laser hair removal, it might be better to wait after you’ve done several sessions with a client before asking them.
That way, they’ll be able to see the results better.
To stay in Yelp’s or Google’s good graces, you shouldn’t ask a satisfied client gushing over their nails to leave a five-star review.
Instead, simply remind them that reviews help with salon reputation tremendously.
If the client then goes on to write one, you can be sure it will be a positive one because they’re visibly happy with your service.
A subtle way to get more reviews for your salon is by showcasing other reviews. Nothing like team spirit to motivate the clients, right?
The quality of your service makes a new client return the second time. However, the sense of belonging may help them become a loyal client.
Loyal clients feel the connection with the staff, but more importantly, they also feel like a part of the salon’s community, which includes other clients.
That feeling is your opportunity to get more reviews.
For instance, the famous British chain of hair salons Toni&Guy showcases their community on Instagram.
They regularly dedicate posts to their stylists and post pictures of clients. However, they also make sure to include client reviews on their feed.
So, whenever someone visits their Instagram page, they can see that clients have a voice in Toni&Guy.
Sharing reviews on social media also sets the tone for clients who haven’t left reviews yet.
Everyone wants to be part of the pack, and if you share one person’s thoughts, others will want to be in the spotlight too.
Don’t forget that people place trust in reviews; some even believe online reviews more than their friends’ recommendations.
Therefore, showcasing reviews can help you attract new clients.
Posting reviews of first-time visitors who were immediately amazed can help you paint a positive picture of your salon. However, the reviews left by loyal clients are especially valuable.
Displaying reviews of long-term clients will help you build stronger ties to them, but also let all clients know that the level of quality provided by your salon has been consistently high for years.
The most straightforward way to get more reviews is by asking. However, there are nuances to making those requests.
If the review process your salon uses is too complicated, the clients won’t bother with writing them, which is why you should go with more approachable channels, such as Google or Facebook.
The timing of your request also matters; try to ask for reviews while the results of the treatment are still fresh in the clients’ minds.
Finally, remember to steer clear of shady marketing methods such as promising discounts in exchange for reviews.
If you decide to reward reviewers, you should do so after a review is posted.