How to Ask for Reviews From Customers
These days, online reputation management is more important than ever before. Did you know that 84% of people put as much as trust in online reviews as they do a personal recommendation from someone they know?
If you have a few negative reviews, or you don’t have any online reviews at all, you could be turning off potential new customers and compromising your business growth. This may leave you wondering how to ask for reviews from customers. First step: just ask.
By asking your customers for reviews, you can boost your online reputation and also increase your website’s search engine rankings, since Google takes reviews into consideration when ranking websites in search results. However, asking customers for reviews — and getting them to follow through on writing reviews — isn’t always easy.
In this article, we share some tips to help you solicit reviews from customers and start boosting your business growth.
Seize the Moment
Have you ever had a customer personally tell you that he or she had a great experience interacting with your business? If you’re trying to figure out how to ask for reviews from customers, that moment right there is your signal to push forward.
That’s a great time to ask the customer to formalize their compliment by writing a review, right when the praise is top of mind. In that moment, you can remind the customer how important reviews are for the continued growth and success of the business. And don’t be afraid of looking needy — customers understand you’re running a business, and if they’re satisfied with your service, they are usually happy to share those positive feelings.
This is where a solid CRM strategy can really help you track customer moods and feedback. A well-organized, detailed CRM has proven to increase customer relationships and open up these dialogues in the long run. A better customer relationship also provides more of these moments to seize — after all, the more at ease a customer is with you, the more likely they are to tell you the truth about your product or service, and to feel comfortable doing it.
The long and short of this kind of exchange isn’t necessarily just to boost your business, It’s also to retain customer loyalty. Did you know that asking for a favor actually endears you to the person you’re asking? It’s true! Humans actually get a psychological boost from helping others.
A happy customer is a loyal customer, and a loyal customer is worth 10 times as much as their first purchase. Plus, you get a review out of the favor. Everybody wins.
Offer a Discount Code
Thanks to email automation, you can immediately follow up by email with every customer who does business with you.
In the email template, you can thank the customer for his or her patronage and then ask the customer to write a review in exchange for an exclusive coupon code that isn’t available to other customers. Then, you can post the reviews and testimonials on your website, or simply point your customers to an existing product page on a popular website (like Amazon) where they can review it there.
Be careful here, of course. Offering things like money or gifts can be tricky, and can flag larger companies (like Amazon) into deleting the reviews. This is more “an incentive to give an honest review,” not an incentive to give a good review. So, maybe only take this particular tact when you know the customer is already relatively happy with the service.
Start a Conversation
The best and most effective business owners always want to know about the customer experience. It isn’t just a matter of how to ask for reviews from customers. It’s why you ask and when to ask for reviews that truly matters.
Are you following up with customers personally? If not, now’s a great time to start doing that. Pick up the phone and call some of your recent customers. Start a conversation about the customer’s experience with your product or service. Then, take an opportunity to ask what the customer likes best about working with you. Encourage the customer to put that feedback in writing — in the form of a review.
Does your company collect and publish success stories? They should. Not only because success stories have boosted lead generation and subscriber rates, but also because they serve as a perfect moment to ask for a review. The customer is right there, they’ve agreed to share feedback in an official, documented capacity — why wouldn’t they agree to clicking a “star” rating on your website and typing a sentence or two while you have them?
The Customer Review Tactics to Avoid
Beware: there are limits to how far you want to push your customers, or how you want to reward them for those reviews. Even if you feel tempted to offer customers free products or services in exchange for Google My Business and Yelp reviews, don’t do it out of desperation. Offering compensation in exchange for reviews is against the rules.
And the last warning: don’t respond negatively to negative reviews. Instead, contact the customer if you can and ask them about their concerns — and, of course, offer to immediately remedy the situation however you can. If the review is one you didn’t solicit, and thus you have a harder time contacting them, apologize and offer amends in the review interface. Don’t go on the defensive — remember, you’re not trying to convince the reviewer, you’re trying to convince everyone reading your response that your business is listening.
Whatever you do, don’t be shy! You’ll be surprised by how many customers are willing to support you. All you have to do is ask.