When you run a business, asking your customer base to leave a review can feel awkward and uncomfortable. You don’t want to seem like you’re asking them to become your newest poster child, and you don’t want to seem callous if you address someone who’s had a bad experience with you.
Fortunately, there are several strategies you can employ in asking for reviews. Here, we cover not only how to address the subject but also why you even need reviews in the first place.
Why Do You Need Reviews?
There are two main reasons to receive and publish reviews for your business. The first is to learn how consumers are responding to your business. The second is to help potential customers decide whether or not it is worthwhile to become a customer.
How consumers respond to your business and its products can influence your future decisions. Feedback, whether positive or negative, can motivate improvements in any field.
Reviews are a great way to learn what consumers think of your product, your customer service, your fees, and more. They can help you know what you are doing right in your business, as well as what elements you might have overlooked. And best of all, they can encourage more consumers to look into your services.
Building Your Customer Base
While knowing how well consumers receive your business is a top priority, the greater advantage of reviews is that they can easily sway a consumer’s decision about whether or not to trust your business. Reviews that are positive and explain why the customer had a good experience will encourage potential customers to invest.
The more positive reviews you have, the more trustworthy you will be in the eyes of a potential customer. Similarly, if you have a good track record of responding to both positive and negative reviews, you will showcase your business as one that is transparent and open to communication.
A business that is easy to communicate with is far more trustworthy than one that ignores both compliments and complaints.
How To Ask for Reviews
Just because someone uses your services doesn’t mean that their first thought will be to leave a review. Therefore, asking for a review is a common task. Many people find this particular job uncomfortable and don’t know how to go about inquiring about their customers’ experience.
Fortunately, there are several strategies available to make the process less tedious. The more reviews you have and the more up-to-date those reviews are will help encourage your customer base to grow and will help your business become easier to find online.
Employing multiple strategies at once is a good way to get the most reviews possible from your current clients. These strategies include in-person, social media, and email approaches so you can reach as many people as possible without bombarding them with review suggestions.
Some strategies to consider:
- Reviews page
- Over the phone
- Social media
- Thank-you pages
- Snail mail
- Vendors and partners
Asking for a review in person can be incredibly intimidating, especially if you don’t want to seem like you’re demanding praise. But in-person interactions have been proven to work, so it’s important to keep them in your repertoire.
This tactic is best employed during a sale. If you can see that a customer you are serving is having a positive experience and is expressing gratitude, you can ask them to leave a review without seeming too forward.
It’s essential to remember that when asking a customer to leave a review, you don’t want to sound like you’re demanding praise. The best method for how to ask for reviews while in person is to simply be polite and suggest the idea. For instance, saying something like “If you had a good experience today, would you mind leaving a review?” is more effective than saying “Have a nice day, and don’t forget to leave a review.”
If a customer is willing to review your business, there are several ways to record their thoughts. You can direct them to a link online or offer review cards to fill out in the store. You could even write down their words verbatim (with their permission) to post on your website or corkboard later.
Having a reviews page on your website is a great way to offer first hand experiences from your customers and ultimately sway potential clients. Since these prospects are already looking at your site, it’s beneficial for them to see how others were treated and cared for by your services. Since the reviews are conveniently located directly on your site, they won’t have to take the time to look at another site such as Yelp to hear from your current customers.
With a reviews page, you can easily post real customers’ experiences and also ask for more customers to share their thoughts. This is an especially hassle-free way to gain feedback for services that are mostly online.
Keep in mind that if you rely solely on a reviews page without any prompts, you probably won’t get as many reviews as you want. After all, no tall websites have a page for reviews, so you can’t assume your clients will find yours on their own. Why not? Because it’s not their number one priority. They likely won’t search through your site to see if you offer a place to view and add reviews.
In short, if you don’t ask for reviews, your reviews page might look a little bare.
Over the Phone
If your company has a customer service branch that utilizes the phone, you can easily ask for reviews over the phone. However, it’s important to remember that the first priority in these scenarios is to help your customers, not pump them for praise. If a customer feels they have been helped by the customer service and they express gratitude about that, they will be much more open to the suggestion of leaving a review.
Sending a text message to invite your clients to leave a review is a gentler way to prompt over the phone. Similar to email, a text message should express gratitude for customer loyalty and then suggest leaving a review through a helpful link.
There are numerous ways to ask for reviews via email. If you have access to your clients’ email addresses, you can formulate several strategies to ask for reviews without repeating yourself.
Automated emails give you a chance to reach all your customers at once. For a more personalized approach, you can customize each email so that it addresses each client by name.
Being straightforward about your goal is the best route when sending an automated email. Ask your client base what they think about your services and then direct them to an easy link to share their views.
With an automated email, you don’t have to convince anyone, Simply offer customers the chance to express their opinions. Be sure to add a thank-you at the end and tell your clients how much you value and appreciate their thoughts.
If most of your services are online, an after-sale email is a great way to follow up on a customer’s purchase. You can use the email as a way of checking in to ensure that everything went according to plan.
Before asking for the review, be sure to say that you are following up on the purchase. Then allow your customer to ask for assistance by laying out how to reach someone if they didn’t receive their purchase or if it arrived faulty. This way, you can offer help without assuming their experience was smooth.
At the end of the email, suggest that they give a review if they found their experience positive. Add an easy link for them to use so they can reply at their convenience.
Using social media to ask for reviews is a common method, especially since so much of our lives are affected by it. No matter what social media platform your company uses, you can send out requests for reviews to followers, friends, and connections.
When your customers are already online, they’ll be more inclined to click an easy link to do a quick review for their favorite company. Showcasing how little time it will take also appeals to those with busy schedules, so using social media to promote the link for reviews and how quick the process is will bring in more feedback.
Utilizing LinkedIn is perfect for B2B or B2C companies looking for reviews. Because LinkedIn is meant to be a professional space as opposed to the more casual platforms of Twitter and Facebook, any request you post should be more professional than not.
LinkedIn posts are also typically longer than other platforms, so people are more willing to take the time to read what you have to offer. When crafting your LinkedIn review request, keep it formal and a little longer to provide the reader with the most information possible, including an appreciation for your customer base.
If you use Twitter a lot, you know that information gets passed on, and missed in a very short period. So if you’re trying to reach your audience with a tweeted request, you’ll have to send out multiple tweets to reduce the likelihood that your request is overlooked.
Making the most of the limited space you have on Twitter is also crucial. A short, polite invitation to leave a review is enough to capture attention and garner a response, especially if you include a helpful link.
When using Facebook, your messages don’t need to be as formal as LinkedIn or as concentrated as Twitter. Facebook is an especially helpful platform if you regularly use it to connect with your client base.
A simple, direct message will let your customers know you’re looking for reviews. Invite them to share their experiences via a handy link. For further incentive, let them know how little time it will take to complete a review.
A thank-you page or a purchase confirmation page is an often-overlooked place for a review reminder. Usually, this is because many feel that the moment you are confirming a purchase seems like too soon to ask for a review. After all, the customer doesn’t have their product yet.
But the great thing about reviews is that they focus on more than just the product—they focus on the services provided,as well. If you want to know how easy—or difficult—it is to navigate your website, a thank-you page review prompt is a great place to nudge customers to leave that type of feedback.
Similarly, if you want to know how easy it was for them to find the right product—or if they had to settle for their second favorite—then asking for their input directly in the purchase confirmation can give you the feedback you need to help tweak online shopping processes.
If you have access to your clients’ home addresses, you can send out requests for reviews with things such as review cards. Your customers can simply fill out the cards and mail them back to you at their convenience.
While an older tactic, this method still has some merit. Many magazines and other mail-ordered products use these types of review requests because they can easily be placed inside the pages.
This strategy works best for a certain demographic of people and relies on their willingness to return something by mail. As such, if your client base is older and not on social media, snail mail is generally a better method.
Including a quick note on the review card—something as simple as “How are we doing? Tell us.”—can easily prompt a mailed reply. However, keep in mind that this method takes longer for feedback to reach its destination. Also, many customers will overlook a review request in the mail unless they have a complaint.
Vendors and Partners
If your business normally works closely with vendors or partners, asking them for a review can boost your ratings. If you can showcase your business as a likable company through your partners, you can bring in more clients and investors, especially if your partner is already an established, trustworthy company.
Asking a vendor or partner for a review is best done face-to-face, usually at the end of a business meeting. Since you already have an established relationship with the vendor, it’s important to be personable in your request.
At the end of your business meeting, politely ask if the vendor or partner would consider giving an online review of your business. Asking is best done if you feel the meeting has gone well.
A partner or vendor shouldn’t have any reason to turn you down if you have created an enjoyable experience working with you. Moreover, writing a review for you will mean they are doing you a favor, which could benefit them in future endeavors if they have the need to ask something of you.
However, if they seem reluctant about the idea, don’t push them. If your attitude changes and you seem perturbed, it could deter them from doing business with you in the future.
If you don’t have much information on your customers, such as their email or address, or if you don’t have many face-to-face interactions with customers, getting a review can be a trying task. In these cases, receipts can easily solve the issue of how to ask for reviews.
Asking via your receipts is very easy to do. Simply program your receipt printer to add a little message at the bottom asking for an online review. Add an app, website, or review page to the prompt so your customers know exactly where to go to deliver their thoughts.
The problem with receipts is that many consumers only glance at their contents before discarding them. Because of this, it’s good to have more than one strategy in place so that you’re not solely relying on receipts or invoices to do the asking for you.
The receipt method also is easily transferable to almost any medium if you’re creative enough. For example, coffee shops, restaurants, and other food-based businesses can ask for reviews via chalkboards, menus, and other frequently used items.
How you ask for a review should follow roughly the same kind of format no matter which strategy you are using. However, there are a few tweaks to keep in mind.
When suggesting that a customer leave a review in person, it’s always better to only initiate a prompt once it’s clear that your customer had a positive experience.
After your customer has expressed gratitude, you can prompt a review request by saying “If you enjoyed your experience with us today, would you consider leaving a review?”
In an email format, asking for a review comes at the end. The first line should always address the client. The next paragraph should then address why you’re reaching out. If you want to follow up on a purchase or alert your customers of a new discount, this paragraph is the best place to do it.
The last paragraph before you sign off should include the suggestion to leave a review. Another option is to utilize the tagline of your email for this purpose.
The email format should look something like this:
- First Line: Dear [Customer]
- First Couple of Paragraphs: Why you’re reaching out
- Last Paragraph: Review suggestion
- Last Lines: Sincerely, [you]
- First Line: Dear [Customer]
- Main Body: Why you’re reaching out
- Last Lines: Sincerely, [you]
- Tagline: Review suggestion
For strategies using social media or receipts, quicker is better. This means you should employ a shorter prompt to remind your customers about giving a review. These formats usually use one single sentence attached to a link.
For example: “How are we doing? Let us know at [Link].”
Don’t be afraid to explain your reasons for wanting a review. If you tell your customers you value their opinion and that they could help you expand your business, they will be more likely to give feedback. It’s also crucial that you express gratitude for their help to show what their support means to you.
Things To Avoid
Like any venture, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about asking for a review. Some methods for obtaining reviews are worse than others, but here are a few key tactics you need to avoid:
- Buying reviews
- Offering incentives
- No follow-up
Some companies might believe that their reviews aren’t reflective of their company values or that the reviews aren’t good enough. It can be tempting to buy a review that aptly praises and compliments your business to attract more customers, but it is not a good idea for several reasons.
First, this tactic is dishonest. Lying about how people view your company is never a good policy. Second, buying a review is against policy for many review platforms like Google or Yelp. This practice could get you banned from such platforms.
Offering customers an incentive or discount if they leave a review is against many platform policies. It’s simply too similar to buying reviews, as it becomes unclear if the review is honest.
In addition, some reviewers might leave vague or unhelpful reviews just to claim the incentive, which doesn’t help either you or your potential customer base.
If you don’t follow up on a review, especially a bad one, you’re showing your customers that you don’t care about their experiences. Following up on both good and bad reviews shows that you have an attentive and excellent customer service department, which can be hard to find in a digital age.
Following up on a bad review allows you to directly address a complaint and help turn a customer’s experience around. People tend to be much more forgiving of a company if they admit mistakes and take pains to set them right. Therefore, keeping an eye out for bad reviews is a must.
Even good reviews deserve a response because it shows appreciation for your customers. If you have a good rapport with your client base, they will be more likely to share their experiences with friends and colleagues.
When you’re asking for a review, you might find it tempting to apologize for asking. Apologetic asking frames your question in a timid, anxious way that doesn’t necessarily inspire confidence in your business.
Asking confidently and genuinely will help your customers feel like you truly value their opinions. Most people aren’t opposed to doing small favors for others when there’s no disadvantage for them.
Particularly for in-person or over-the-phone interactions, pushing a client to leave a review could alienate them and result in a lost customer. It’s essential to gauge a person’s reaction to their experience. If they’re having a terrible time, they definitely won’t want to leave a glowing report of your company.
Even pushing a grateful customer could backfire because they might believe you’re forcing them to have an opinion, which will make them feel uncomfortable.
By following these simple strategies, you are setting yourself up for success in gathering the most positive responses. And the more genuine the reviews, the more potential customers will see your business as trustworthy and decide to invest in your services.