Positive customer reviews are a crucial part of modern-day marketing and reputation management. They help you make business decisions that your customers will appreciate, and they can greatly increase awareness of your brand.
But you won’t become a review-generating machine overnight if you don’t understand the basics. In this article, we’ll tell you how, where, and why to ask for reviews.
Reviews Are Crucial for Improving the Customer Experience
In today’s world, reviews aren’t just a nice cherry on top of an online presence sundae; they’re a make-or-break tool that your business needs. After all, you can’t improve your customer journey if you don’t know where there is room for improvement in the first place.
Reviews are also crucial when it comes to attracting new customers. People trust online reviews and use them in the final stages of deciding where to shop or what company to get a particular service from. The more five-star reviews you have, the better your reputation will be and the more customers you will attract.
Asking for Reviews
Online reviews are important, but how do you ask for them? It can seem awkward, and you don’t want your customers to feel like you are taking advantage of them or asking for too much. You also want to ask for positive reviews at the right point in the customer journey, as this will give you the best results.
Let’s get into the where, when, who, and how.
WHERE to Ask for Reviews
One of the first things to decide is where to ask customers for positive reviews. There are a few choices—nearly every one of the channels you already use to interact with customers can be a place to ask for online reviews. The key is to use the right channel at the right time.
We’d recommend taking advantage of the following channels when asking for reviews:
- Phone calls
- Text messages
- In-person (at brick-and-mortar locations)
- Your website
- Social media
- Receipts or invoices
WHEN to Ask for Reviews
You want to ask for the online review at a point in the interaction that the customer has valuable insight to provide. Remember that you have two main goals with online reviews:
→ Getting feedback so you can improve the customer experience
→ Improving word-of-mouth marketing
There are a few points in the customer journey when asking for a review makes sense, such as:
- After a customer receives a product or service
- After a consultation or conversation
- After a customer tries out a new product
- After you receive praise from a client
- After you receive payment for a service
Keep in mind that when you ask for customer satisfaction feedback will depend on the type of feedback you want. For example, if you want to know about someone’s shopping experience and how you can improve it, you could ask immediately after their purchase. If, on the other hand, you want an online review of a product’s quality, you should wait to ask until they receive it and have had time to test it out.
WHO to Ask for Reviews
Your goal when asking for reviews is to gather feedback. Asking satisfied or loyal customers will likely result in positive reviews, which means an improved online presence for your business.
Of course, you can’t control whether someone writes a positive or negative review. Negative reviews happen to even the best businesses, and while they’re not fun, they can provide valuable learning experiences.
HOW to Ask for Reviews
Now that you know why, when, where, and who to ask for positive reviews. Let’s get into the nitty gritty stuff—how do you ask? Here are a few great strategies to keep in mind to accurately gauge customer satisfaction.
→Make Opportunities to Ask for Reviews
Try to look for organic opportunities in the conversation to ask for online reviews. A classic example is cashiers asking if you found everything you were looking for at checkout.
Or you could have your team ask customers something like, “How is that [product]? I haven’t gotten to try it yet.” Then, if they praise it, they can ask for a business review.
It’s also very easy to work in questions like “Is there anything you liked or that we could improve upon?” at the end of a service.
→Never Force Reviews
Remember, you’re asking for reviews, not telling customers to leave them—no one likes a pushy interaction. You can maximize the likelihood of people leaving reviews by explaining to your customers why their reviews matter. Let your customers know that their reviews help you grow your business and improve the customer experience.
→Take Advantage of Texting and Existing Conversations
We mentioned text as one of the channels you can use to ask for reviews, and this is worth repeating. Texts have a high open rate, so clients are more likely to see your request. If you’re already communicating with clients via text, using existing conversations as an opportunity to ask for a review takes mere seconds.
→Send Thank Yous After Purchases
We mentioned that a good time to ask for online reviews is after someone buys a product or service. Consider sending a thank-you message of some sort immediately after a purchase, whether via text, email, or even snail mail. Thank them for their purchase and ask them to leave a review.
Pro tip: if you’re using text or email, be sure to include a link so they know exactly where to leave the review.
→Personalize the Request
Whenever you ask for online reviews via text message or email, personalize the messages as much as you can. The request should feel like it’s coming from a friend. Be sure to address the customer by name, mention the product or service they bought, and maybe even throw in an emoji. 😉
What About Negative Reviews?
Negative reviews happen to even the best businesses. And we get it, it’s never fun. But try to think of these as an opportunity to improve the customer experience and turn unhappy customers into happy customers.
Here are some best practices to help you navigate those tough conversations.
→Always Respond Promptly
The most important thing to do with negative reviews is to respond to them. In the best-case scenario, you can improve their experience enough that they change the review to a positive one. Even if that doesn’t happen, by responding to negative reviews, you show potential customers that you go out of your way to correct any issues that arise.
Your response to a negative review should always be friendly and professional. Remember, it’s not about winning. It’s about turning a negative situation into a positive one—for everyone involved. Being rude will only worsen the situation and lead to more negative reviews or cause you to lose potential customers.
→Take Action and Let Reviewers Know
Take the criticism in the review to heart and let the reviewer know about any changes you’ve made to reduce future customer frustration. Showing that you worked to resolve the issue will improve your reputation and turn a negative review into a positive one for potential customers.
Optimize Review Collection With Podium
Tools like Podium make collecting customer feedback a breeze. With the help of Podium, you can automate the process of asking for online customer reviews. Podium harnesses the high open rate of text messages to gather customer feedback and get you more positive reviews.
Ready to give it a try?