Build an Online Review Incentive Program for 2017

1.    Reviews will have customers running to you, or running away from you

2.    Personalise where you can

3.    Provide subtle reminders

 When Life Gives You Lemons... ha!

When Life Gives You Lemons... ha!


Ever googled a restaurant before booking, only to find out its Trip Advisor rating was 2 out of 5? Then you decided to go somewhere else. Aside from Google Ad words, online reviews should be a top strategic priority.

It’s no secret positive reviews increase the chances of new customers. The question is, how do you actually get customers to write a review? Most importantly, a positive one.

Firstly, you have to provide exceptional customer service at every touch point. From the first hello, to ‘how was your meal’, it’s a no brainer one neglected customer can eventuate into a shitty review. Every customer should feel like Prince William or Oprah when they walk into your business; because you’re only one review away from winning or losing 10 new customers.

Secondly, you have to make it an easy feat. At the risk of sounding like a bribe, what’s in it for your customer? With only 10% of customers actually leaving a review, how do you get the larger customer base (the peripheral of your loyal customers), to spend time recommending your business.  

Here’s THREE things you can do:

1.    Identify Your Assets

What do customers go to you for? List what assets you can trade with. Consider these:

·      Café: One review, free muffin with coffee

·      Beautician: One review, free eye brow wax

·      Barber: One review, free beard trim

·      Restaurant: One review, 2 complimentary glasses of wine

·      Deli: One review, complimentary 100g ‘cheese of the week’

·      Bakery: One review, free pie with any order

The great thing about using existing assets, is that you get to test new services or products for free. You’d be surprised how far a complimentary glass of wine goes.


2.    Personalise

 “Hey Lucy, you’ve been coming here for more than 4 months. We’d be ever so grateful if you could leave a review on our Facebook and Trip Advisor page. We usually treat our customers with a free coffee, but for you we’ll throw in an extra almond croissant… we know how much you love them!”

If you know Tim is a vegetarian, you’re not going to offer him a free meat pie are you? The same with Lucy, if you know she loves almond croissants you’re not just going to offer her a piece of toast. Personalisation goes a long way. For me, I’d do almost anything for some Nutella donuts.



I’ll give you an example, I used to work in the CBD of Sydney. Let me tell you the coffee competition is TOUGH. With so many places to go to, you end up choosing a place in which you’ve gained rapport with. Georgie Boys became my go to for coffee the whole 6 months I was contracted to work in the CBD. It started off with one Nutella donut for an online review…. over time I ended up brining the whole office to the café! Because they knew the key to my heart, they got not one, but more than 10 new customers because of it.


3.    Remind

Provide subtle reminders where you can. It could be an iPad at the counter, on a sticker next to the bar pot plants, cards near the serviette box or signage on the mirrors of your salon. Think about the places where people spend idle time and remind people to support you. Regular customers feel like family, and chances are they would be more than happy to leave a positive review.


Online reviews are just as important as first hand referrals. But it all comes down to the service and experience you provide. There’s no short cut to getting great online reviews. But what you can do is encourage more people to share their amazing experiences. So whether you’re a local deli, a 4th generation winery or a new café on the block, start implementing an online review incentive program for 2017. It’s an investment that’ll pay dividends for your online brand and in-store foot traffic. 



Liz Pal1 Comment