No matter why someone opens a bank account, the reputation of the bank they open it at will play an important role. Even Dave Ramsey suggests that people strongly consider a financial institution’s online reputation before opening an account.

But how do you develop an online presence that will build trust and ultimately help you increase your clients? 

How Do Reviews Influence Your Patrons? 

It can feel awkward to ask a client for a review or referral, even if they have been your client for years. Maybe you are worried about sounding pushy. Or maybe you worry that your client will feel like you are using them as a marketing tool. 

But you know that you still need to ask. The following statistics help highlight the importance of reviews for your financial institution: 

  • 85% of consumers are influenced by reviews when looking at local financial institutions 
  • Reviews are the third most influential factor when choosing financial businesses
  • Compared to loyalty, reviews are 1.8 times more likely to influence choosing a local financial institution
  • Compared to traditional marketing, they are 8.8 times more likely to influence the decision 
  • 47% of consumers use reviews when deciding which local financial institution to use 
  • About half of consumers will pay more and travel further to work with a business that has better reviews 

If the statistics aren’t convincing enough for you, consider that even expert Neil Patel highlights their importance. He suggests that your main local SEO focus be getting as many reviews as possible. 

SEO and Reviews

Neil Patel’s advice is backed up by facts—Google rankings depend on many factors, including reviews. Having more reviews and a higher rating brings you closer to the top. Google looks at the quantity, quality, frequency, and recency of reviews. 

Importantly, 83% of consumers feel that reviews need to be recent and relevant for them to matter. 

5 Steps to Generate More Reviews. Fast. 

With the importance of reviews for your financial institution in mind, how do you go about generating them?

1- Claim Your Google Business Profile (Formerly Google My Business) Listing

Start by claiming every single one of your locations on Google Business Profiles. This will help you respond to reviews with ease. Doing so shows customers that their journey matters to you. As a bonus, claiming your profile can increase revenue by 58%. This is because users are more likely to act from their mobile devices. 

To claim your listing, start by searching for your brand on Google. If you find a listing, claim the account and update the information. If you can’t find an existing listing, create a listing via Google Maps. 

google business profile

2- Verify Your Google Business Profile Listing

Google has safeguards in place to prevent users from being scammed by businesses. One of these includes listing verified businesses higher than those that aren’t verified. As such, it is crucial to verify your listing. This will also help it appear on Maps and in Search. 

The most common verification methods for small businesses include email, Search Console, and phone. The process of verifying is incredibly easy. 

If you want to do so by phone, do the following: 

  1. Log into Google Business Profile on your computer. 
  2. Select your business. 
  3. Select “Verify now” and then “Verify by phone.” 
  4. Answer the automated call and enter the code. 

If you prefer to verify by email, follow the same steps, but select “Verify by email” instead of “Verify by phone.” You will receive a code in your email. 

After verifying your account, expect Google to have you review the existing information. Once you adjust anything that is incorrect, select “Done editing.” 

Remember that verification is quick and easy, and it is crucial to help you appear as a legitimate business to both Google and locals.

3- Ask for Reviews via Text

Statistics show that 97% of people look at reviews for local businesses. And both customers and Google’s algorithm prioritize finserv brands with more frequent ratings and higher average reviews. Remember that when you have a larger number of positive reviews, each negative review has a smaller impact on your rating. 

But to get more reviews, you have to ask for them. Luckily for you, 76% of customers will gladly write a review when asked to do so. 

Start by letting your customers know that reviews are helpful for your branch and why. If you want them to highlight anything specific in their review, let them know. For example, maybe you want them to mention the personally tailored steps of the journey, how easy it is to open a new account, or how the online and in-person experiences blend. 

When it comes time to request a review, you want to use your customers’ preferred channel, texting. Emails are a traditional option, but they often get filtered or ignored. By contrast, 98% of texts are opened. And 95% of them are opened in just three minutes or less. 

text stats

The following statistics further highlight how much customers prefer texting: 

  • 65.6% of consumers say texting makes it more convenient to work with a local business
  • Consumers are 1.8 times as likely to prefer texting over other communication methods
  • 40.5% of consumers will switch businesses if the new one offers texting for communication 
  • Over a third of consumers who receive text invitations leave a review
  • American 1 Credit Union surpassed 1,000 reviews and saw its rating go from 3.9 up to 4.6 stars after switching to text for review collection 

As a side note, texting isn’t just good for reviews. You can also use it for other parts of the customer journey. Consider incorporating it into the following processes to boost customer satisfaction: 

  • Opening a new account
  • Making or attending an appointment
  • Closing on a loan
  • And more

4- Respond to Reviews

You don’t only want to gain more reviewsyou also need to respond to them. This shows customers that you care about their reviews and value their feedback. 

In fact, the support page for Google Business Profiles explicitly recommends responding to reviews. The page says it will show “that you value your customers and their feedback” and “build consumer trust.” 

Don’t forget that potential clients will consider your reviews and how you respond to them. Your replies can show your responsibility, responsiveness, and caring. In fact, 56% of consumers say business responses to reviews changed their opinion of the business. 

In an ideal world, you would respond to every review. Realistically, you will want to choose a feasible review-to-response ratio that you can achieve. We suggest aiming for at least one response for every four reviews. 

In positive reviews, be conversational, authentic, and personal. This shows your engagement. Good responses include thanking the reviewer and expressing hope that you see them soon. 

Your response is even more important for negative reviews. Do your best to respond within two to 24 hours. The best practices for negative review responses include: 

  • Apologizing 
  • Staying calm and collected
  • Offering a proactive solution
  • Asking to continue the conversation privately 

woman texting a business

5- Improve the Customer Journey

As you focus on improving the customer journey, you’ll likely see an increase in positive reviews. Some great ideas for improving the journey include: 

  • Getting a textable landline
  • Scheduling consultations, gathering feedback, and more via text
  • Offering webchat for FAQs and real-time help
  • Optimizing your landing page to convert leads 
  • Personalizing every single interaction, both online and in-person
  • Embracing financial techs, such as biometric security and mobile banking
  • Providing employees and customers with accessible, helpful financial information 
  • Sending occasional surveys or feedback requests 

Get Started

Podium can help your financial institution get more reviews. We help more than 90,000 businesses of all sizes boost their online reputation. In addition to collecting and managing reviews, we help you modernize your customer journey and drive and convert leads. 

Ready to learn more? Check out this demo.

Logan Wooden
Logan Wooden Product Marketing Manager, Retail

Logan Wooden is a Product Marketing professional at Podium, the premiere marketing and communications platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

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