People's perception and awareness about their personal health, wellness and safety are stronger than ever. There is now much more consideration going into everyday activities especially if it can impact their health in some way. This includes returning to public places like your gym or studio. To help alleviate this hesitation amongst fit, fitness facilities and owners are working overtime to assure their customers that it is safe and secure to return to their facilities. But if you really want to encourage people to return and newcomers to explore your business, customer reviews and referrals are the way to go.
The power of customer reviews and referrals
Post-lockdown, your customers' return will heavily rely on these things:
- Their level of comfort to return to in-person classes and facilities
- Whether or not they were vaccinated
- How confident they feel about your business
and if they are new potential customers:
- How they found you and where
- How comfortable they feel about your business after doing their homework
- If they were directly referred by an existing customer or member
A positive review not only has the power to make a person feel interested in your business or service but also help them feel secure and comfortable with the experience you offer based on how an existing customer describes your business. When a person sees a positive review or testimonial that review can now influence their decision on whether to sign up for your memberships or services. Even if that person didn't subscribe or purchase in the end, they will still be influenced by that review and be more inclined to investigate your business before others again in the future.
Reviews also add another level of professionalism to your business and can help your brand reputation. Whether you have many reviews or a few really great ones, they can make all the difference in whether a potential customer will choose your business over a competitor. It helps when those reviews can be easily found on your social media, website, and on the internet when searching for businesses like yours. With that in mind, let's learn how to earn reviews.
How to earn customer reviews and referrals
There are many different avenues you can explore to build your collection of customer reviews and referrals. It never hurts to start with your most loyal customers.
Ask your customers
If you have customers who love sharing how much you have helped them and how much they love your business, those customers are great candidates to ask for reviews. You can let them know you are trying to get more people back in the door as you re-open and work on growing your business and that their positive review can help. If it seems awkward or too formal, you can open it up to your whole class or facility and remind them that every review counts and you'd be thrilled if they left you one online (where everyone can see). You should feel confident that your customers who are coming back to class feel safe and secure about your business, and thus they will be happy to leave you a positive review or refer a friend or two to your business.
Customer referral programs
Customer referral programs are one of the best ways to incentivize your customers to refer you and your business to their friends, family, and peers. Rewarding them with a free class or account credit when they bring in a new face to class can help them save on their membership and help you grow your customer list. This will especially help them with their own transition back to the gym and having a friendly face in class will feel even more comforting. Your customers will love that they have the opportunity to not only earn value by being your customer but also earn credit and classes by spreading that value to other potential new customers. Remind them that their friend or family member will also receive a little something extra for their first class or membership when they sign up directly through them.
Post-class notifications and newsletters
If you send your customers post-class notifications or a regularly scheduled newsletter, you can include a request to leave you a review. Your customers who sign up for your classes and your newsletter will automatically receive your content and request, which will eliminate your need to have to ask them again and again. You can also include in your request that by leaving a review they will receive an incentive when they come back to class or sign up for their first class.
Your customers won't want to miss out on the benefits and you don't have to overextend yourself to get your customers to leave you a review. Don't forget to include the links or tell them where you want them to leave a review. You can also remind them about their customer referral codes in your notifications and newsletters and encourage them to use them to receive an extra free class or credit.
Getting sent the links directly to their phone or email inbox will make it easy for them to leave you a review right then and there. It takes no time at all and you can even mention that their reviews directly and referrals to their community help you gain exposure. Which brings us to our next point.
Marketing your customer reviews and referrals
Once your customers start leaving you reviews, you can use them to market your business and services. Sharing your reviews across multiple platforms and encouraging your customers to share their reviews will give you the boost you need and create shareable content that will lead everyone right to your business. Here are some of the places where you can ask your review and where potential new customers can find them:
Review websites including Capterra, Trust Pilot, Google, and Facebook are very well known and highly searched pages for business reviews. Your customers can leave reviews directly on each of those sites if they already have an account or once they create an account. You can also invite customers who are you are confident will write a review from your own accounts on each of those pages.
Some review sites including Capterra will even award you with badges or banners based on your reviews that you can share on your website and social media. When searching for fitness facilities to join, these pages will often appear high up in search engines and catch a new customers' eye. Make sure that if you want to be found and highly ranked on the internet, you have a decent about of reviews on the top review websites.
Sharing your customer testimonials and reviews on your social media pages can be very valuable and helpful in reaching more people. When a customer sees their testimonial featured on one of your social pages they will then want to share that with their own audiences. This will then create some intrigue among their followers and help attract even more eyes to your social pages. It helps when you are able to add an eye-catching design that matches your business and website's branding and makes it easy to associate those testimonials and reviews with your brand.
Your customer will be excited that you gave them a shout out and you can show your audience how much you appreciate your loyal members. On Instagram, you can also add your testimonial stories to your highlights right at the top of your page to make it easy for new visitors to find and view, and on Facebook, you can create a photo album and add all testimonial images.
If your customer organically shares a review of your business on their social pages, don't forget to share. Pass the love and appreciation back and forth.
On your website
Another place to add your glowing reviews is on your website. You can create a testimonial page dedicated to your customer reviews and link your page right at the top of your website where it is easy for your customers to find. Your customers will love being featured right on your website and you can even give their business a search engine boost by linking to their website.
If you are a tech and website design genius and some of your customers have really gone the extra mile and left you video testimonials you can share those on your YouTube Or Vimeo channels and embed them into your website to view in either location.
Blogs and case studies
If you have customers who have shared a review and given you some great feedback you can ask if they’d like to expand on this review and participate in a case study or blog post. Case studies are well known for being great tools for attracting potential new members. Reading your customers’ success story can help someone to put themselves in those shoes and envision how your business could help them succeed too.
Whether you have a case study structure that includes you interviewing your customers or have an automated survey format that your customers can fill out via your website, social pages, or newsletter, having a few case studies on your site is definitely a great way to boost your business reputation and create more shareable content that your customers will feel proud to be a part of.
Ready to start asking your customers for reviews?
Our Community Happiness tool can help! With community happiness you can send your customers automated notifications after their classes or appointments to review your services and share straight to Google (and Facebook coming soon!) for new potential clients to find. 90% of online consumers rely on reviews to make their purchasing decisions, and enlisting your clients to help simply by automating a request for their review will get you one step closer to attracting new members to your gym or studio.
Get a sneak peak of Community Happiness with TeamUp in action, here.
To sum it up
People are not making quick decisions right now, especially when it can impact their health and safety. When a friend or family member or even a stranger makes a strong recommendation for a business that person is now influenced by what the people they listen to are doing. Having positive customer reviews and referrals will save you a lot of time and energy and ensure that the people coming in trust you and the services you provide. Not to mention they are a great way to get your customers involved in helping your business grow beyond attending classes and being your member.
As you prepare to reopen your business to welcome your customers back to class, don’t be afraid to ask your customers to leave you a review and share their experience back at your gym or studio with their friends and family, and social audiences. That review can be just the thing to help your business thrive over the coming months and future.
To learn more about the power of reviews and marketing your business's re-opening, check out our marketing and post-lockdown resources, here.
We’d like to thank all of our amazing customers and community for taking the time to leave us a review, share a kind word about TeamUp with your community, and provide us with a testimonial. We wouldn’t be where we are today without each and every one of you! If you’d like to share your own experience with TeamUp, please feel free to leave a review on our G2 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.