Online reviews are a way for customers to see how others have rated you, and to get a better picture of whether or not they want to use the services of your business. Ideally, the online reviews that you get should all be positive, but it is impossible to make everyone happy, so they should at least have a consistent positive review rate, so that even when the dissatisfied customers write something, it will not affect the overall image of your company.
Make it easy for current customers to see where to leave reviews
Did you know that your customers are actually the most likely to leave a reviews when they are not happy with your services? Shocking but true. People who loved your business will come out feeling very happy, and will mention you to their friends and family, but rarely take the time to write a great review about you. However, if you manage to disappoint someone with the the work that you do, the customer is fueled with anger and wants to let everyone else know just how angry they are as soon as possible. Some businesses do not understand this, and their online reviews end up being more negative than positive, specifically because they allowed too much time to go by before asking thir guests to review them. There are many ways you can do this. You can have links of review spots on your business card, you can have posters on your business walls reminding your customers to write reviews, or you can ask them kindly yourself if they could spare a few minutes to say what they thought of your business.
Make sure that you reply to the reviews!
Getting people to write a positive review about your business is great, but it will not do anything positive for your business unless you actually take the time to reply to them and say how glad you are that they took the time to write about you. Not only does this make the people who write the reviews feel good, but it also shows the potential customers who are reading them that you are really grateful that people are using your services, and that you hope that many more people will use them in the future as well. You can even offer a small reward like a discount to the people that take the time to write reviews for you. This is a great way for people to get motivated about writing reviews and to make them more interesting as well.
Return the favor and write some reviews for other businesses (but maybe not in your own niche)
If your customer have their own business, which will probably be in a different niche from yours, then return the favor and write a good review for their business as well if you happen to use their services. Yes businesses are competitive, but it more important to forge good bonds with other people than to think that you are above everyone else. With so many potential customers available, there surely is enough space for everyone. Build a reputation for yourself that will be a positive one, and that will make people want to work and partner up with you.