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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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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 or not they should purchase from you.

Source: Search Engine Land

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 sit on the sidelines and ignore this fact, or you can get involved by getting 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 in Three Steps

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 acquiring 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 page, or Facebook–switching it up every day.

Hotel B sends out an email a week later asking them if 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 not ignore 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:

Today 8:00 AM
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, you can offer incentives. More than half of consumers indicated they would be more willing to write reviews 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 gift card (or whatever incentive you choose) is simply a thank you for feedback–it’s not payment for a positive review.

Today 8:00 AM
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 T&Cs 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 six months 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.

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 three tips listed above will help. It’s not a once-off project though. Collecting reviews needs to be part of your overall marketing and sales strategy.

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