How to Get More Online Customer Reviews For Your Business

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The keys to getting more online reviews for your business are timing, visibility, and honesty. Learn how to master all three and start collecting feedback.

Ahhh, the internet. A beautiful collaborative space that connects strangers from around the world in unbelievable ways. When it comes to business, this has had one surprising effect— the opinion of strangers is now almost identical to recommendations from friends and family.

According to recent research, 84% of people trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations.

The good news? Consumers aren’t looking for perfect. In fact, perfect 5/5 businesses often come across as too good to be true! Researchers at Northwestern University found that across product categories purchase likelihood typically peaks at ratings in the 4.0 – 4.7 range, and then begins to decrease as ratings approach 5.0.

For you, this means that it’s all about averages. And the best way to build out a well-rounded, consumer trusted profile, is by getting more honest reviews.

Tips For Getting More Online Reviews From Customers

The obvious answer to “how do I get more reviews?” is: just ask for them! But it’s not always that simple. There are a few things you need to be sure of if you want people to follow through with your request.

1. Claim All Your Available Listings

It’s important that you claim your business across all relevant review sites: Amazon, Trip Advisor, Google, Angie’s List, Glassdoor, Facebook, Twitter, G2 Crowd, and every other platform.

The process of “claiming” your page involves either creating a new one for your business, or identifying yourself as a rep from the brand. This will allow you to add information like photos, contact information, hours, and “About Us” sections. The more anchoring information you add to your page, the easier it is for people to find you (or stumble on your page if they’re looking for products/services you offer).

This step is important even if you have people submit reviews through your website! People can and will find your brand elsewhere, so it’s important you always put your best face forward!

Claim your business listing on Yelp to start receiving customer reviews.
Today 1:00 PM
Hi Cody! Thanks for purchasing the Ruffwear active dog vest. We’d love for our community to hear your honest thoughts on the product. Would you mind taking 2 minutes to leave us a quick review? Thanks for being a pawesome customer! http://txt.tf/QuwLna

2. Know When to Ask For a Review 

When you’ll send out your request for a review depends on the subject matter. As a general rule of thumb, you want to make sure your customer has had enough time to experience the product and develop and opinion. This window of time varies for everyone.

Here are some general guidelines that will help give you a clearer picture of when you should aim to reach out.

  • For a classic retail situation, aim to send your request 3-5 days post-transaction. For e-commerce, this translates to 3-5 days post item delivery.
  • In a customer support scenario, you’ll want to follow up immediately after a conversation to evaluate satisfaction and problem resolution efficacy.
  • For a software company (or any subscription based service) a good time to check in is after a customer upgrades to a larger or paid plan.
  • Restaurants with online reservation systems generally send out a request for review the day after someone dines with them.

Should You Offer Incentives in Exchange For Reviews?

Business experts have mixed feelings (to put it lightly) when it comes to offering things in exchange for reviews. We’ll put our official opinion forth as this: wso long as you make it clear that customers get the reward no matter what they have to say!

Before you decide to offer rewards in exchange for reviews there are a few things you should check up on:

A great model of a company who has mastered the art of the product review is fitness/athleisure company Fabletics.

Customers can opt to become VIP members for no extra charge and begin earning points for all their purchases. These points translate to discounts and free gifts down the line.

In addition to earning points from purchase, Fabletics also offers points for leaving a review on every product you purchase. They proudly display product reviews all around their website and under every product’s photo. They also make it abundantly clear that they want all kinds of reviews (not just the good ones).

Messages come a day after product delivery with an easy link out to a straightforward review form.

This system is not only incentivizing for customers to leave reviews consistently, but it produces thousands of reviews that drive their narrative of being a clothing company honestly loved by real people.

Example of a strategy to incentivize online customer reviews.
Photo Credit: One Strong Southern Girl
Examples of online customer reviews.

How to Handle Bad Customer Reviews

Bad reviews are inevitable. It’s not impossible to turn a bad review into a positive reflection of your business. It’s all in how you handle it.

If you’re face to face with a negative review on your site, here’s how you should address the problem:

  1. Do not delete it! By erasing the bad feedback you look like you have something to hide. It gives folks the impression that they can’t trust the other reviews on the site because they too might have been censored. In extenuating circumstances of horribly obscene language or inappropriate content, you may have grounds to delete the review. But you should always accompany that action with a statement of reminder on your page that you will not allow that language or content to be seen, but you respect everyone’s honest opinions.
  2. Craft your response. You don’t want to come off as defensive, so it’s best practice to stick to the facts. Avoid any emotion in your response that isn’t remorse or apology. Explain what might have caused the grievance, apologize for it, and offer up a proportionate reparation. Be it a new product, refund, or any other demonstration of value.
  3. Engage with your other reviewers. Be sure you aren’t only responding to the hate! When it’s possible, be sure to comment and thank your positive respondents as well. Not only does this show that you pay attention to everyone equally, but it also adds activity to your page. A potential lead who finds your site will appreciate that you read these reviews and take action on them.
  4. Follow up. Don’t just fall out of contact with the negative review after your initial response. Especially if you offered them something for their trouble. Follow up and demonstrate that you do really care about their satisfaction. Who knows, it’s not uncommon for negative reviews (when dealt with correctly and turned around) to become edited to reflect positive feelings!
Example of an online review influenced by good customer service.
Photo Credit: Grade.Us
Example of a positive customer review.

Good customer service is an art, and having a product that people love is only half the battle. We hope you found this piece to be helpful. And hey, if you’re a SimpleTexting customer reading this, feel free to give us a review too. We’d love to know how we’re doing 😉.

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