Most of us wouldn’t buy from a company with just a couple of reviews. But it’s difficult for a brand to build up a stock of good reviews—consumers and influencers get so many requests that only the best ones even get through.
So we’re here to teach you how to ask for reviews the right way.
Why Asking for a Review Is Worth It
Consumers are savvy. Nine out of ten consumers around the world check reviews as part of the customer journey and almost half say positive reviews are one of their top three purchase influences.
After all, reviews are a trustworthy source of information about a company and the quality of its products or services. Well, more trustworthy than the claims of a company alone in the eyes of the consumer.
Reviews are certainly key to the decision-making process. They represent a vital consumer touchpoint that convinces potential customers whether your offering is right for them or not.
The fact that reviews boost credibility and influence purchase decisions in these ways means more reviews will improve your bottom line. In fact, a meager 0.1% increase in star rating boosts conversions by 25%.
The Investment Needed to Ask for Reviews
Asking for reviews does not require a major investment in terms of time and resources. That is if you use the right tools to streamline the process.
Podium, for example, helps you to manage review requests across channels and automates review invites. You can try a 14-day free trial and paid plans start at $289 per month.
It may take some time initially to put a strategy in place. For instance, crafting invite requests and setting up automated sequences of messages. But once that’s done, you can sit back and watch the reviews roll in, perhaps making the odd tweak to your campaign here and there.
Monitoring and responding to reviews after the fact is a more time-consuming process. Yet, again there are tools that can help you keep track of online reviews in a more efficient way, for instance, online reputation management services.
5 Steps to Ask for a Review
This simple step-by-step guide will help you craft compelling review invites and improve your strategy for gathering customer feedback. Thus, you’ll not only gain more reviews but also find the whole process easier and speedier.
Let’s get to it:
#1 – Know Where Customers Leave Reviews
Listening to and understanding your audience is essential to any marketing strategy. This includes knowing where they spend their time online and using that information to your advantage.
Reviews can, of course, be found in a number of places. Consumers leave reviews on Google and social media business pages, your website, and dedicated review sites, such as Yelp or TrustPilot.
As for the latter, you should be aware that there may be specialist review sites for your niche. For instance, G2 deals exclusively in software reviews.
It’s also worth noting that consumers may talk about your brand in online forums, such as Reddit. Though they may not leave reviews on such channels per se, it’s good to be aware of what’s being said about your brand in all areas of the web.
So, knowing where your customers are likely to leave reviews is the first vital step.
Not only can you respond to existing reviews but you can link directly to one or more of these platforms in your review invites to encourage more customers to leave reviews.
Also, you may wish to take a more tactical approach. Say you have a lot of Google reviews but not many on Yelp, you can direct your customers to the latter to beef up your collection of reviews on that channel. Thus you increase your presence across multiple channels where potential customers may learn about your brand.
#2 – Write a Compelling Review Request
As mentioned above, it can be difficult to encourage customers to take action and leave a review. For this reason, you should make the way you ask for a review as compelling as possible to encourage more people to follow through.
One way to do this is to explain how reviews help to shape your business and product or service. This shows customers that you’re not simply looking for reviews in order to make more sales. But rather you’re looking for valuable feedback and this feedback will be used to benefit customers not just the company.
Photography marketplace Moment does just that in the following example:
As you can see, they explain how a review helps them choose the best product catalog. Plus, it helps “other creators” aka the customer’s peer group make better purchases. That’s a pretty appealing review request if you ask us.
By mentioning “other creators” the company also touches on one of the main reasons people leave reviews in the first place. That is a sense of community and the desire to help others.
Another way to encourage more reviews is to provide tips on what customers should include in their commentary.
This is mighty helpful for people that would like to leave a review but don’t necessarily know what to write. Or perhaps those that will use the guidance to get the review over and done with quickly.
Here’s an example from apparel brand Everlane:
They ask the recipient to share their thoughts on “the fit, style, fabric, and quality” of the product. Thus, they help the customer by providing a loose structure for the review.
Furthermore, you can make review invites more compelling through personalization. This shows that you value the customer as an individual and that their opinion has meaning.
This review request example from G2 is super personalized:
It specifically mentions the software that the customer reviewed previously. The email goes on in a conversational tone asking if the customer is still using said software and if not would they review the software they’re using instead. It’s a clever way to keep the customer engaged and bring them back to the site to leave more reviews.
#3 – Send Your Request via Email or SMS
Email and SMS are the two best channels when it comes to asking for reviews. Both have an extensive reach and deliver good ROI on any kind of marketing campaign. What’s more, they allow you to easily automate your review requests.
For instance, you can set up an automated post-purchase email sequence. This has a number of benefits from improving the customer experience to nurturing customer loyalty.
But, for our purposes, it’s through this sequence that you’ll ask for a review. For instance, your email sequence may look something like this:
- Order confirmation/thank you
- Delivery update
- Shipping confirmation/cross-sell
- Review request
As such, your review request becomes a natural part of ongoing communications with the customer and thus something they’re more likely to respond to.
Asking for a review via SMS has different benefits. It makes the process super quick and easy for both you and the customer.
Plus, it’s an excellent channel through which to increase the number of reviews you receive as research shows SMS open rates can be as high as 98% and response rates as high as 45%.
Though Podium helps you manage reviews on multiple channels as mentioned above, the platform actually specializes in automated SMS review invites.
Podium allows you to send review requests for major platforms, such as Facebook, Google, and more, at the right time. You’re able to capitalize on recent interactions and transactions to get more customers to leave reviews while the experience is fresh in their memories.
#4 – Make It Easy to Respond
According to BrightLocal, 18% of consumers didn’t leave a review for a local business in the last 12 months even when they were prompted. And 30% left a review less than half the time when they were asked.
These figures aren’t promising. But when you know what prevents customers from leaving a review in the first place, you can work on remedying the problem.
JungleScout’s Amazon Community Expert, Becky Frost, says the top three reasons people don’t leave reviews are:
- They forget
- They don’t know where, or how, to leave a review
- They don’t have time
This indicates that if you want to get more reviews, you need to make the process as clear, quick, and simple as possible.
The first thing you need to do is link directly to the web page or review platform upon which you want the customer to leave a review. You can’t expect customers to go on the hunt for the precise product page related to their purchase for example.
Another option is to have users respond directly to your invite with a review. You can achieve this, for example, via an interactive email or SMS. So the customer doesn’t even need to leave the screen they’re on to make the review. Talk about simple!
You’ll also want to keep the review form itself clean and simple. A star rating and feedback box will suffice.
You can indeed ask for more information or for customers to rate certain aspects of their experience. However, you need to make it easy for users to skip sections if they don’t have the time or aren’t willing to complete them. Thus, you prevent them from abandoning the review altogether.
Consider the approach of Deliveroo, for instance, where you can rate each individual item you received or simply skip that page and continue.
To this effect, make sure you place the most important feedback questions at the beginning. With Deliveroo, there’s a clear hierarchy. They ask you to rate the restaurant and then the individual items of your order.
Clearly, that’s the most important information the company wants to receive. So that comes first before users potentially get fatigued with further questions.
#5 – Monitor and Respond to Reviews
It’s vital you monitor and respond to both negative and positive reviews as part of your overall review strategy.
When you respond to reviews you prove that you value customer feedback. This shows future reviewers that leaving a review is worthwhile and that what they say won’t simply fall on deaf ears. Thus, when you ask for a customer review the recipient will be more likely to go ahead.
There are several things you can do to maintain a good relationship with existing customers that leave negative reviews and turn their frowns upside down. All the while you show future potential customers that your company is still worth purchasing from.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Respond to reviews in a timely manner
- Thank the customer for their review and acknowledge the issue they’re having
- Direct them to an appropriate help page or customer service rep
- Explain what you’re doing to fix the issue
- Treat each reviewer as an individual and personalize your response
Here’s an example of a personalized and helpful review response from IKEA:
Here the customer has an issue with the materials provided to build a flat-pack product. The company responds well by apologizing for the issue and providing information on how to resolve it. But IKEA could’ve even gone a step further by linking directly to the order form for replacement parts.
Once you begin to receive reviews at scale, it may be difficult to find the time and resources to keep track of reviews on all of the different platforms.
If this sounds familiar, then you may wish to consider working with an online reputation management service. These companies take care of managing reviews for you and ensure that the sentiment around your brand remains positive overall.
Take a look at our rundown of the best online reputation management services for more information.