We all know that client reviews and testimonials can be an important part of growing the business, but leaving an awesome review isn’t generally at the front of a client’s mind when they have been with you for months or years. (Read time 2:37)
When I get a nice note or comment from a member I'll say "Thank You! Actually, do you know what would be a huge favor? If you could leave a review on Yelp or google or whatever. We want to let the world know how much we helped you!" (or something to that effect). These reviews are great because they are genuine and don’t feel weird at all. Review sites like these reviews because they don’t like it as much when a whole bunch of reviews show up at once (like when you post a big notice to your private gym group). Sites like Yelp will filter reviews when the flood in over a short time, their ‘bot’ will flag the reviews as suspicious since some companies pay to have fake reviews.
It is also good to build up a member who left an awesome review in your private group. DON’T ask others to do a review, just highlight and thank them. Reward the behavior with acknowledgement and a very public thank you. Mention it the next time they are in class too!
By publicly thanking and rewarding behaviors like reviews and bringing in friends (I like the circle question: “Who brought you into the gym (or who did you know before coming) and who have you brought into the gym” – it makes it feel more like an extended family)… you will build these behaviors into the culture and your community will thrive.
On the negative side of reviews, check this out: Lifehacker “Yelp is Awful for Everyone Involved”
I’ve had decent success addressing ‘not awesome’ reviews with the following formula:
- Thank them for taking the time to provide feedback and acknowledge their complaint/issue
- Ask for clarifications if needed
- Address their experiences with what you are doing to remedy the situation or clarify where there was a disconnect between expectations and what happened
- If possible, offer some sort of remedy directly to them, or mention that you will reach out privately to offer them something (then do it).
It is important that this is done timely and publicly. People will scan reviews for the negative ones just to see where there might be a reason to not go to you. By doing the above, you show that you are responsive and that you care about your customers. It also gives you a chance to give more details about your business and your culture turning a negative review into a positive!
(Even if they never respond, your thoughtful, nice, response will still send a message to new people reading that review for years to come).
And you are member at a gym that you love and haven't written a review (or written one lately), make sure you say a few words about your experiences and your coaches. It really does go a long way in helping the business long term!