Does your Staffing Firm Have an Online Review Strategy?

According to the ASA, only 1 out of 3 staffing firms has an online review strategy. And, for those that do have one, that strategy is generally reactionary. Having worked in marketing for the past decade, I've seen how review sites have grown from underutilized side projects to the incredible marketing tool that they are today: they generate brand awareness, website traffic and LEADS!

Particularly for the staffing industry, where firms are in no short supply and everyone is trying to cut out their corner of the market to stand out, online review sites can validate your unique positioning and make it more visible to the people who would benefit most from working with you.

What's more, firms that get on-board with review sites now will be WAY ahead of the game once everyone else realizes that they've been missing out on this marketing tool. So, if you want to get more leads and get ahead of the game, this post is for you. Read on to learn more about why online reviews matter and what you can do to jump start your online review strategy.

Why Online Reviews Matter

  1. They can sway the opinions of potential clients and candidates. According to the CareerBuilder Opportunities in Staffing Report, one in four clients and candidates will review your firm's online reviews before deciding if they want to work with you. So, even if they have a great referral from a friend or colleague, they may move on to another firm if you have negative reviews. However, if they like what they see, they'll be more likely to reach out and want to do business with you.
  2. They can help you do more business with Generation Y. If your clients and candidates tend to be between 18-35 years old, they're more likely to read online reviews than the generations before them - so be sure to put an extra emphasis on your online reputation if you work with Gen Y.
  3. They can help new clients and candidates discover your firm. Google search results favor local businesses with great reviews, and show them prominently at the top of search results - increasing your visibility and helping you generate new business. What's more, Google will show your firm's rating on review sites to help your search engine listing stand out above your competition (especially if you have great reviews!).

How To Get Started with an Online Review Strategy

If you're just getting started with an online review strategy, the first thing you should do is take a look at your existing online reviews. If you already have some positive reviews, you're in a great place, but if you have negative reviews, you have your work cut out for you - it's more difficult to get positive reviews when the overall sentiment is negative. However, it's not impossible!

The next thing you should do is take the time to address your current reviews. Thank people who have given your firm positive reviews and let them know how much you appreciate their business and support. You may also want to dedicate a wall in your office for these messages, to keep your staff motivated to continue providing great customer service. If you have negative reviews, thank the reviewers for their feedback and try to offer an apology and a way to make it right. For instance, if a client was upset that their recruiter was non-communicative, offer your personal attention on their next job order. Your best bet with negative reviews is to turn the client or candidate's negative experience around so that they will update their review with the more positive experience they had afterward. You should also keep in mind that negative reviews may need to be addressed company-wide if you see recurring themes - so be sure to continually gather feedback and use it to improve your firm.

Finally, you should put a system in place to regularly ask your clients and candidates to review your firm. A great time to send a review request is right after a successful placement is made. You could have your recruiters send a personal note to the client and candidate, expressing congratulations, wishing them well, and requesting an online review - or you could automate an email from the recruiter or firm's CEO, thanking them for working with your company and encouraging them to write a review on your preferred sites. You just want to be careful to send these requests sparingly at first, and then send small batches of requests in frequent intervals thereafter, rather than blasting this request to your entire list at once - if you receive several reviews at the same time, the review sites might flag them as suspicious and block them from publishing.

Here are a few other tips to get more online reviews:

  • Include review sites with positive endorsements in your standard company email signature.
  • Link to review sites with positive endorsements from your website.
  • Share your review profiles on social media, and ask your followers to endorse you if they've had a positive experience.
  • If someone sends positive feedback via email or social media, thank them for their feedback and ask if they would mind adding a public review online.
  • Ask your clients and candidates how they heard about you - if they say they found you on a review site, make a note to ask them to endorse your firm on that same review site after you've done business with them.
  • Check your website analytics to see which review sites send you the most traffic, and keep a focus on keeping your rating up on those sites.
  • Train your team to always ask for a review from clients and candidates after a successful placement.

What NOT to do:

  • Do not overreact to negative reviews. Treat each reviewer with respect and always try to find out how you can correct their bad experience. While some people just like to complain, kill them with kindness, always strive to provide a great experience, and hope that your other clients and candidates will step in and defend you.
  • Do not incentivize your clients or candidates for reviews - this is against the review policy for almost every review site and you can be penalized. Instead, focus on providing great service - and the reviews will follow.
  • Do not ask clients and candidates to review your firm while they're in your office. You can be penalized by the review sites if all of your reviews come from the same location. Again, do your best to provide great service, request a review, and leave it to the client or candidate to review you if they wish. 
  • Do not work with companies that charge you to generate reviews. This is spammy and, again, can be detected by review sites. Everyone wins when a review is genuine, so do your best to get reviews organically.

What does your firm do to encourage reviews?

This post was originally published on Hirabl.

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