18 Aug How to ask customers for reviews & why they are so important
Whether your business offers a product or a service, ensuring you have genuine customer reviews available online is a vital part of doing business. In a world where buyers are both empowered and influenced by what they see when they search Google or scroll through their social feeds, what your existing customers have to say about you can make a big impact.
But simply having the option for customers to leave a review isn’t enough. If you want to make the most of this simple but powerful tool, you need to encourage customers to write reviews.
There are a number of ways customer reviews can help your business shine, including:
- Influencing prospective customers
- Improving your local search ranking
- Building relationships with existing customers
How to encourage customers to write reviews
To some people, asking for a review might feel unnecessary. After all, if a customer truly enjoys a product or service (Or doesn’t, for that matter), wouldn’t they feel inclined to let you know? The truth is, you shouldn’t have to rely only on the customers who feel you went above and beyond (Or the ones who feel like you fell short) — many people are more than willing to leave reviews, they simply need to be reminded that the option is there.
There are plenty of clever ways to ask for reviews, but sometimes keeping it simple is the best approach. Some factors to consider when deciding how to ask your customers for reviews should be:
- What kind of people are your customers? Do they mostly engage with your business online, or do they prefer a classic, face-to-face transaction?
- What kind of tone do your customers expect from you? Can you be playful and casual with your customers, or do they expect a more formal experience when dealing with you?
- Do you have any way to incentivize customers to leave an honest review? Promo codes and discounts on future purchases in exchange for a real review—good or bad—can be helpful motivators!
- Where should the reviews go? Do you have a dedicated place on your website for reviews, or does most of your traffic come through Google? Choose a strategic place where you’d prefer customers to leave their reviews and point them in the right direction.
When and where should you ask?
One best practice is to make your ask shortly after a purchase is made, while the experience is still top of mind for your customer. As for where to make the request, there are a number of avenues you can take when asking for a review — just remember to choose a method and tone that makes sense for your customers. Here are some suggestions:
- Email: Following up with customers after a purchase is direct and simple, plus it allows you to share links and track customer behavior. If possible, don’t forget to personalize your message!
- In-person: If your business allows you to interact with your customers face-to-face, use that time to make your request. Draft a template that outlines how to ask for reviews with a few sample statements as a reference tool for employees, and encourage them to ask during every transaction.
- Cards: Include a card with purchases or a line on your business cards that asks for honest feedback from your customers. Don’t forget to tell them where you’d like them to leave their review!
- Social media: Posts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as convenient ways to regularly remind your followers to review their experience with you.
- Invoices and receipts: Much like your business card, invoices and receipts are free real estate that you control. Craft a concise request for a review and place it where your customers are sure to see it.
Considerations for high volume industries
If you have a business in an industry where there is a high volume of customers, a good way of managing the review process is to utilize email automation. This is the best way to ensure you are efficiently using your time and also not letting any customers, or their experiences, fall through the cracks.
Receiving and managing the review
Once you’ve made your request for reviews, remember to keep an eye on your platforms. If you happen to receive a negative review, don’t panic — these instances are great opportunities for you to identify and fix gaps in your customer service. Reply promptly (And politely!) so your customer knows you’re listening, and take steps to ensure their next experience with you is a good one.