Getting online reviews for your school is not a rocket science but you have to make conscious efforts to achieve real success in it. The alternative to it which most school owners do is to leave it and do nothing about it – the consequence is grave and the risk is high.
For those who want to give it a try, here are 11 tips for achieving it.
1. Ask, Ask, and Ask: The truth is that if you don’t ask, you are not likely to get it. Customers are more prone to writing negative reviews about products than writing negative reviews. When last did you go online to tell the world how great this dress you bought looks on you? It is just natural.
Cultivate the habit of asking parents to review your service. You’ll be surprised by their willingness to do so.
2. Make it simple and seamless: If you are requesting your parents to drop a review for your school, be sure that you don’t make it complex – send them an email or SMS and make sure the message contains a link to the exact place where to write the review with clear instructions. Avoid a situation where they have to navigate there themselves or figure out what to do.
3. Tell them what to expect: Unfortunately, most review sites require users to log in before they can write reviews. This is to prevent ‘spamming’ or any other automated and unwanted inputs but most users detest it.
If users are required to login before reviews are made, let the users know beforehand so they expect it and psychologically prepare for it. It is OK to manage such expectation, otherwise, it could be a roadblock that could get them irritated and leave the sites without writing any.
Take advantage of happy their moments: When they come to you telling you how their children have improved academically under your tutelage and singing praises of your school. Take advantage of that moment, ask them to prove it by writing a review for your school.
4. Don’t ask for positive feedback/review, ask them for honest feedback/review: Asking parents directly for positive reviews has automatically defeated the purpose of asking in the first place. There is a huge difference between ‘Positive’ and ‘Honest’ feedbacks in the mind of your customers. ’ You don’t want to come across as being forcefully or telling them that, ‘I know I don’t merit it, but do it for me’. That alone is negative, be careful with your choice of words.
5. Send email reminders to willing parents ONLY: It is very possible that some busy parents genuinely forget to write the review as promised, take time to check online to see if they have not done so and sent them a gentle reminder or SMS to nudge them to do so. In order not to appear intrusive, make sure you send to only parents you have had a conversation with before.
6. Start with your circle of friends: A good place to start your request for online reviews is your good friends among the parents who are not likely to say NO. This is called ‘low hanging fruits’. With this, you know what works in your approach and also what does not work. Perfect your strategy of reaching out and then launch it to other parents.
7. Take advantage of special events: Get a series of internet-ready devices on your special event days like PTA, inter-house sports and all that and politely asking parents to OPTIONALLY drop a review the same way you ask them to register their arrival. You may not get all of them to oblige but remember that reviews are not a game of numbers. One or two positive reviews could be all you need.
You may also decide to go ‘manual’ and offline to achieve the same purpose if you don’t have the resources. ’
8. Create a memorable and newsworthy event or scintillating performance: According to James Hadley Chase, ‘Goldfish have no hiding place‘. Try to organize a newsworthy event that attracts the attention of everyone in the space- even the government. This would definitely trend and fetch your school some ‘Accolades’. ’
Imagine one of your pupils wins N1M on ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ programme or had A1 in all his/her external examination.
Naturally, every parent of your school would like to identify with it, they likely go online themselves telling the whole world that they also have children in your school that are doing great – This give credence to the fact the success has many families but failure is an orphan. Take a deliberate effort to be extra successful and innovative and watch the magic!
10. Introduce incentives: Many parents see an online review as stressful that they don’t want to go through or make time for. As a school owner, putting yourself in their shoes will also have the same feeling running through your mind.
Naturally, customers behave like children and creating a review and reward promo in any of the school events by offering incentives such as simple chocolates, sweet, biscuit, tickets to watch films etc to parents can ease that stressed feeling and make reviewing your school sound exciting and simple to parents.
11. Be honest with it: Let parents know that this is to your benefit and it is just a favour you are asking from them. Don’t package it as if they are also benefiting from reviews when they are not.