Getting no reviews is just as bad as having negative reviews. Read that again.
Without any positive feedback, your sales can suffer as a result. The reality is that 9 in 10 people read online reviews before purchasing from a brand. Fact. Reviews are all part of your online reputation management, they demonstrate social proof and integrity of your business. Potential customers want to know you're real and whether your service/product/website is any good.
However, it's difficult to collect customer reviews without a strategy. You need to be creative when it comes to review requests. Yet, 88% of happy customers will leave a positive review if their experience was memorable.
So how can you ask for online reviews, without coming across as needy or demanding? It's simple: you don't ask. Confused?
Customer feedback is like a dance; it takes two to tango. So everyone needs to be dancing the same dance. Now, gaining positive reviews is all in the style, or in this case, the way in which you build customer relationships.
Why are online reviews important?
There are three big reasons why online reviews are a fundamental part of business:
- Social proof - People are more likely to do business with a company that others have had good experiences with in the past
- Sales - Businesses with higher reviews have higher sales than their lower reviewed competitors
- Conversions - Marketing and paid ads might attract potential customers but a positive record of reviews will make them more likely to convert in the end
According to BrightLocal, 68% of customers believe positive reviews increase trust in the business. These reviews then drive sales and conversion rates on your site. In short, customer feedback means fresh potential customers are five times more likely to purchase online.
The aim is to personify the brand and understand it in the eyes of others. What people say matters, to the point where it will either deter or persuade someone to buy from you.
A negative review can be harmful, but new customers want to know how you respond, which can eventually persuade them to buy. That's why having negative reviews trumps having no reviews at all.
However, you want more reviews that genuinely reflect the essence of your brand and service – which requires clever ways to ask for reviews.
What review sites are being used the most?
Since the dawn of online shopping, a plethora of review platforms now exist. From Google reviews to Better Business Bureau reviews of local businesses, it’s integral to earn your social rating.
Google is the most popular, with over 81% of customers checking out reviews, followed by Facebook at 48% (although this dropped from the year before). Perhaps this also gives us an insight into which sites we trust more as people: Google is more established, whereas social media platforms may come across disingenuous.
The ethics of asking for reviews
There are a few do’s and don'ts when it comes to asking your customers for feedback or reviews. It’s not black and white, and we also need to factor in behavioral psychology.
Asking for reviews can seem a bit icky. In general, it all comes down to timing.
If a customer has literally just bought a product on your site, they’re unlikely to have an opinion right away. You also can’t solicit positive reviews, pay for reviews or get fake feedback only – remember that a perfect 5 star rating doesn’t win over a potential customer. Especially if it’s a lie.
Sending an email with the subject line “Tell us what you think” as soon as the customer checked out is counter-intuitive. You need to factor in the teething period: delivery day, whether they’ve even started using the product, whether that product sorted their problems, and so forth.
We’ve covered the basics when approaching the necessity for positive online reviews and the ethics involved. The next step is how to suggest the subject of leaving a review to happy customers. So here are 7 cunning and clever ways to attract reviews like bees to honey.
7 Clever ways to ask for reviews
1. Send targeted and personalized emails
The priority is using your customer data to your advantage. Start with your email list and be direct, but nonchalant.
Look at the language your customers are using: how do they speak? What’s their tone of voice? Mirror their language when asking for customer feedback.
For instance, if your brand is less corporate and more tongue-in-cheek, use a phrase like “Tell us what you really think?”
Adopting a colloquial phrase that will resonate with the language and your customer is more appealing, and far less irritating than “Please give us a review”.
2. Monitor your social media platforms
A goldmine of positive reviews could be gathering dust right under your nose. Check your instant messenger and comments on your social posts from satisfied customers. Use this free and easy information by transforming them into reviews on your website.
Have you checked the group Facebook page lately? There could be hundreds of testimonials and great material that you can use to shout about your brand. Go a step further and use these comments to create a giant collage of reviews, then share this user-generated content on various social media platforms. These more positive reviews will look natural and trustworthy.
3. Take snippets from a conversation
One of the most clever ways to ask for reviews is by taking notes on a conversation. Whether it’s a phone-call or if you’ve been tagged in a post on Instagram, take the human approach.
What would you naturally do if you were a protein supplement brand and conversationally, someone said, “I just tried the new salted caramel flavour today.” You’d likely reply with something like, “That’s great! How did you like it?”
You’ve caught them at a good time, so they’ll say, “I love it! Tastes exactly like pudding, but healthy.” Boom. That’s your review.
Make it less complicated and use the resources at hand. Call on the art of conversation and genuine interest, and watch the reviews come flooding in.
4. Leave your business card
If you’re a local business, much of your trade will come from Google Maps reviews. When people are new in the area, they’re quick to scout the best cuisines and will base their decision on the sentiment of reviews.
Find a way to give customers your business card with a QR code, which will direct them to the exact page to leave reviews. Make it simple and attractive for people to boost your rating in the moment.
5. Send an SMS
We can get spammed with emails but it’s unlikely we’ll ignore a text message. The sheer number of emails that ask for a review is overwhelming. It’s hard to choose who deserves a good review or not – and often we have little time to spare. It’s like standing at the back of a concert and trying to snake through to the front: impossible.
If your service encourages customers to enter their phone details, then drop them a text with a link attached. This will get their attention and make them feel chosen. It’s quick, simple and effective.
6. Get a B2B customer testimonial
A great way to get testimonials from business clients is to ask if you can do a swap.
And, no, it’s not cheeky or unethical. If you’re working with another business or company, politely ask whether they’d like to leave you a review in return for one. It could be about the brand’s character, a particular interaction with employees or general satisfaction. Simple!
7. Get a video testimonial
More than ever, we are consuming video content, and this includes testimonials and reviews. Collect testimonials from customers' social media accounts like a product review or a shout-out from an influencer.
These visual reviews lead a prospective customer towards a more intuitive decision. It's like a modern day advertisement, but much more authentic and raw.
The key takeaways
- Customer feedback reviews are integral to driving business, sales and improving the quality of your service/products
- You can get reviews in clever ways that doesn't bombard customers, specifically like a simple text message or online review tracking tools
- Generating positive reviews will likely become some of the best marketing materials you could use in upcoming campaigns