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3 Steps To Get Your Customers To Write Reviews

Customer reviews are one of your greatest sales tools. Here’s how to get your customers to write them.

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When making the decision to purchase from or visit your business, customers will consider a variety of factors.

No matter the customer or the business, one thing is for certain – reviews are important when it comes to making that decision.

However, just because you provide an outstanding service or product doesn’t mean customers will leave reviews. Persuading somebody to take time and effort out of their day to leave a review is an art form, and we’re here to help you sway them. 

You’ll need to put time into asking customers for reviews, but the result will be worth it. Nearly 95% of customers will take a look at reviews before making a purchasing decision. 

People trust people over brands, so getting word from other customers’ is a safety net when it comes to purchasing a product.

Our guide takes you through everything you need to know about building a review request strategy, from what to include to examples. 

Why Are Customer Reviews Important?

Potential customers want to see what others have to say about your product or service. A handful of positive reviews from years ago isn’t going to cut it either. 

Consumers tend to look for lots of new, updated reviews that will indicate whether they should purchase from you.

Consider this: all things equal, which restaurant are you likely to eat at…this one?

Or this one?

There are so many reasons to encourage customers to leave online reviews: a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue. And it’s a well-known fact that Google reviews help your search rankings.

The bottom line is that whether you like it or not, people discover and buy from you based on what others are saying about you on review sites. You can either take a passive approach and risk never getting reviews, or you can get actively incentivize happy customers to leave reviews. 

With this in mind, here are three things that can help you generate more good reviews–whether you want to get reviews on Amazon or reviews your Tripadvisor page.

How to Get Your Customers to Write Reviews

Many businesses focus on what to do about one or two bad reviews, but the most effective way to combat a few negative words is to load up on glowing reviews. 

Here are three steps to get your customers to write reviews.

1. Make It as Easy as Possible to Leave a Review 

Customers who have a bad experience are two to three times more likely to write negative reviews than customers who had a great experience. 

Not only is it a poor reflection of your business—it also takes 12 good reviews to cancel out the nasty side effects of one bad review. Talk about rubbing salt into the wound.

So, you need to get reviews from happy customers. And a passive “feel free to leave us a review” won’t cut it. Richard Thaler, a famous British behavioral economist, said once that “if you want people to do something, make it easy.” 

To illustrate why making it easy matters, imagine two hotels with different approaches to getting customer reviews. 

In Hotel A, when guests check out in the morning the desk clerk invites them to leave a review and points them to an iPad sitting at the edge of the desk counter. They even make it easier by opening to their hotel’s page on Yelp, Google My Business, or Facebook—switching it up every day.

Hotel B sends out an email a week later asking the guest, if they’re happy with their stay, to leave a review on “social media” and Tripadvisor.

Which hotel is likely to generate more reviews?

An iPad on a front desk is not going to work for the vast majority of businesses. So, how can you make it easy for your customers, regardless of your industry? 

Send an SMS asking them to leave a review, and include a link. 

People ignore emails, turn off push notifications, and throw away paper forms, but they almost always read their texts. Not only will people see your request, but response rates for SMS marketing are also 7.5x higher than email. Here’s an example of a text you can send:

Thank you for being a customer! If you have a minute we would love it if you filled out a review. Sharing your honest opinion would mean a lot. You can leave one here:

Remember, any friction will decrease the likelihood of a review.

2. Offer an Incentive for Them to Leave You a Review 

By simply making it easy for customers to leave a review, you’ll see a bump in the number you collect.

But if you want to take it up a notch, offer incentives. Research suggests that no matter the interaction with a product, customers are more likely to leave a review if offered an incentive or reward.

You can find ways to do this without breaking the bank, such as offering a discount on their next purchase with you. This way you are protecting your cash flow while also motivating repeat customers. 

You can do this by:

  • Tapping into an existing loyalty or reward programs (i.e., offer additional loyalty rewards to people who leave reviews)
  • Offer free shipping or discounts
  • Share a sneak peek of upcoming products in return for reviews

Be clear that the reward is simply a thank you for feedback—it’s not payment for a positive review.

Thank you for being a customer! If you have a minute we would love it if you filled out a review. Sharing your honest opinion would mean a lot! In exchange for your feedback, we’d love to give you 15% off next month. You can leave one here:

💡 It’s worth checking out specific review sites terms and conditions when offering incentives. For example, Trustpilot says “it’s fine to give incentives as long as they’re offered to everyone in an unbiased way regardless of the customer feedback.” 

3. Get the Ask Right

You know what they say, timing is everything—in life, in business and particularly, when it comes to asking customers for reviews.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes: If you buy something online and a  month later receive a request to leave a review, how likely are you to do it? 

On the other hand, if you bought a pair of running shoes and are asked for a review before you get home, you won’t have had a chance to run in them and benefit from the purchase.

The right timing will depend on the product or service you sell. For a restaurant, the sooner the better. However, if you sell a product that requires a complicated set-up, it might be best to wait several days after it’s delivered or purchased. 

Here are two other tips on getting the ask right:

1. Beyond timing, don’t send a request asking for good or positive reviews. It’s a surefire way to lose credibility.

2. If you want good reviews–and who doesn’t–then ask customers who are likely to praise your business. You can look at social media mentions to see who is saying things about you already, or reach out to repeat purchasers.

5 Examples of How to Ask a Customer to Leave a Review

Now you know what goes into asking a customer to leave a review, you can put your newfound knowledge into practice. 

Here are five examples you can use to persuade customers to leave you a great review:

1. Offer an Incentive

Whatever you may think, nobody is above a good incentive. Whether it’s a discount, a random draw for a free meal, or a cash prize, giving people a self-serving reason to leave a review will almost certainly bring up your ratings.

Obviously, never do anything that is going to leave you out of pocket. ut encouraging customers with an incentive is a good way to show just how much you care about their opinion. 

You’re telling customers you want to know their feedback so much you’re willing to give them something to do it, and that speaks volumes. 

PHONESHORTCODE: ‘We hope you enjoyed your meal today! If you’d like to leave a short review of your experience we’d love to offer you 15% off your next meal. Use this link!’

We hope you enjoyed your meal today! If you’d like to leave a short review of your experience we’d love to offer you 15% off your next meal. Use this link!

2. Build a Post-Purchase/Visit Process

We did say it will take time and effort to encourage reviews from customers. We always recommend building a process rather than sending out messages haphazardly half-way through the year.

There’s nothing worse than realizing your review numbers are taking a dip and scrambling to bring them up again. Instead, have a thorough process that lets you send out post-purchase/visit messages following up on their meal and asking for a review.

These campaigns only need to be two or three texts long, but having them in place as part of your general marketing strategy will reap the benefits long-term.

We recommend using a business texting platform to build the process out and write each message accordingly. You can even create a campaign specifically for those who have recently visited your restaurant and trigger post-purchase/visit messages to be sent out automatically.

3. Let Them Know Why Reviews Matter

As we’ve said from the start of this article, reviews matter. You know it, we know it, and the customer knows it too. 

That being said, sometimes all you need to do is express the importance of a review on your business. Reviews can be make or break, so it’s no exaggeration to say this to your customers.

Tugging at the heartstrings a little (without too much pressure—that’s key here) is a great way to encourage customers to leave a review.

Don’t scare them away with intensity, but do let them know why you care so much about their opinions.

We hope you loved your Cookies & Crumble delivery! Did you know we’re a small business relying on word of mouth to spread the word about our delicious cookies? We always want to improve for you, and reviews really help!

4. Follow-Up on Review Requests

Life is busy, people may just forget to leave a review even when they really wanted to. This is why post-purchase campaigns are a great idea, but we want to emphasize the importance of following up. 

Even if it’s just one text message or email, sending out a quick reminder to leave a review is an easy way to get back onto the radar of customers. If you go about it in the right way (and don’t pester too much), your follow-up could get even more results than a first try.

Here’s what we suggest: 

Hi Alice! You visited us last week and we hope you had a blast! We know life can get in the way but we’d love to ask once more for a review of your experience if you have the time:

5. Provide Outstanding Service

Here’s the thing: if you offer an outstanding service or product, it’s way harder for customers to ignore review requests.

While there’s a consensus that negative reviews are more common than positive ones, people do want to share their positive experiences.

While this isn’t an example per se, we do think it’s one of the most important points to make when it comes to requesting reviews. How can you expect customers to want to leave a review if their experience has been less than ideal?

Occasionally, instead of a specific review request, all you need to do is check-in with your customers. Show them you care about their experience in order for them to take it upon themselves to leave a review.

Sending a message like the one below can encourage more reviews simply because you’ve taken the time to show you care about them (and reminded them that you exist!). 

Hi Alice! We just wanted to check in and see how your enjoyed your Festive Cookie order! Was it as delicious as you’d hoped? Have a great day! C&C Team 🍪

Closing Thoughts

Positive reviews don’t just happen–they come from businesses that provide a great customer experience.

If you’re doing all the right things, but not seeing the volume of reviews you’d like, the tips listed above will help. It’s not a once-off project though. As we’ve mentioned, collecting reviews needs to be part of your overall marketing and sales strategy.

If you’re a business looking to find new ways to reach your customers and get more reviews, why not try a two-week free SimpleTexting trial? No credit card is required, and you can use our service to test the water before sending out those review requests via text! 

Drew Wilkinson
Drew Wilkinson

Drew Wilkinson is the Head of Marketing at SimpleTexting. Drew has more than a decade of experience managing successful integrated marketing programs to build brands, raise awareness, and generate demand.

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