You’ve heard the old saying, “You don’t get what you don’t ask for.” Well, that definitely applies in the case of asking for reviews. Recently in our companies, we decided to set our focus on increasing the number of online reviews we receive from our customers. We were so successful that we actually increased the number of online customer reviews by 300% in a mere six weeks.

Before I explain how you can achieve similar results, think about this: Why are reviews so crucial to our companies? Reviews have made our industry transparent. Anybody can get on a computer and write anything about anyone they want, largely unregulated. They can say whatever they want. They can share good things; they can share bad things. Review writers can range from actual customers to “trolls” pretending to be customers and trying to tarnish our good reputation.

Reviews also can originate from those few customers you’ll never be able to satisfy. But they have a voice and other people pay attention to that voice. The occasional bad reviews will inevitably show up but the point is to bury them with lots of great ones — customers talking about what a positive experience they had with your company.

Here’s another question for you: Why don’t more reviews get posted online? It’s simply because technicians aren’t asking for them. It sounds simple, and it can be, but a system needs to be put in place to ask for these reviews. In our Service Sales Success School, asking for the review is the last step in our 12-step process. It should happen on every single call, but the techs need to be prepared with the right approach.

In order for your techs to be prepared, they must be trained on the process and figure out how to word the review request so they feel comfortable with it.

Hold a meeting discussing the importance of reviews and give your techs a basic idea of how to ask for the review. Help your technicians craft their own review statement; they will have more of an attachment to the outcome. One example of a statement you can use is:

“You just told me that I did a great job in your home, I exceeded your expectations and everything went amazingly well. I’m asking you for two sentences online to share your experience. It will help me out, because it lets my boss know I’m doing what I’m supposed to out here.”

We have a technician who implemented that wording. We were actually running a contest at the time in our company, so he kicked it up another notch and said, “You know, Ms. Jones, it’d really help me out if you could write a quick online review for me. I get a lot of calls from repeat customers and reviews online. Right now my company’s running a contest and I’m winning. It’d really help me out if you could post a review, because I really want to win this contest.”

Guess what? The client actually wantsyou to win the contest. She wants to help you out because you just helped her out. Between the client and the technician, the Law of Reciprocity is in action. As the technician, I’ve done something good for you. I’ve exceeded your expectations; now you’re somewhat intrinsically on the hook to help me out a little bit, right? Most customers truly appreciate great service. If that’s what they received, they will not mind writing a review to help the person who provided this exceptional service.

Five review strategy tips

As you are discussing the review process with your technicians, here are five points to focus on:

1. Awareness. Be aware of how many reviews you are getting and what your online presence says about your company. Track your progress and pay attention to what the reviews are saying. Look for consistencies in wording and what people are saying. You’re going to get reviews all across the board; what’s important are the similarities.

2. Importance.In order for your techs to really buy into asking for reviews, they should understand the why behind them. There’s something in our world called third-party verificationthat we use in our sales and service processes, and we can use it to our advantage. If people read a review from a third party, they are more likely to believe what it says than if it only comes from someone at our company. We want the general public to make an educated decision about doing business with our companies. That’s why we need a lot of positive reviews.

3. Desire.Techs will do much better at getting customer reviews if they actually want to, rather than being forced to. If they can understand that reviews lead to more calls, more repeat business and more revenue for them, they will begin to want to ask for reviews. When techs are providing great service, why wouldn’t they want potential customers to know about it?

4. Decide and focus.  Have your entire team decide they will focus on improving the review process. Just focusing on increasing the number of reviews and getting everyone on the same level will help immensely.

5. Execute.This is where the system comes in. Make asking for reviews part of the sales system that you implement in your company and have it become part of every call, every day.

I highly recommend running a contest to incentivize your technicians to ask for more reviews, especially at first. After they start to include their review statement in every sales call, it will become habit, which is the goal. The contests don’t have to offer major prizes — anything from a Starbucks gift card to a day off helps add some fun competition.

You won’t get more reviews until your techs start asking for more reviews. You won’t get rave reviews by meeting expectations; you must exceed them. Have your technicians develop a review statement they are comfortable with, then make it part of every service call. When you do this, you will exponentially increase your online review presence.