How To Ask For Customer Reviews Of Your Business
Most business owners are scared to ask for reviews, fearing rejection or denial. Here’s how to get over it and ask customers to review your business!
Why Ask For Customer Reviews?
In short, good online customer reviews help you grow and manage your business.
Without customer feedback, how can you be sure your service delivery is meeting the expectations of your customers?
You can’t be sure if you don’t ask.
Online reviews are one of the best ways for customers to share their experience with your company with others.
It’s important to remember that most industries can benefit from customer reviews. For businesses that belong to a trade outside of the norm, it’s important to reach out to your customers and let them know just how important their opinion is. Let them know that leaving an online review would be appreciated – both by the business and the community at large who also benefit from online reviews.
Is It OK To Ask For Customer Reviews?
Most business owners are scared to ask for online reviews, fearing rejection and denial. But, the good news is that customers are happy to leave feedback. They enjoy sharing experiences, it gives them the power to influence.
Therefore, all you have to do is ask.
Most customers will willingly leave a positive online review after a pleasant service experience. Look for cues in their conversation with you, indulge them. If they use words like excellent service, good job, happy experience, they are your candidate. Hence, it’s OK to ask!
More and more businesses ask for customer reviews now. In 2017 Bright Local reported that 74% of consumers (up from 70% in 2016) were asked to leave a review for a business.
And, out of these 74% consumers, 68% left a review when asked.
Hence, it’s OK to ask for customer reviews, and for the most part, the customer will oblige.
And you won’t get 100% of the customer reviews you don’t ask for.
Don’t Pay For Online Reviews
Many businesses offer incentives and free products in lieu of positive online reviews.
Google is against it! They have a clear guideline for consumers who write reviews, stating “do not offer or accept money or product to write positive reviews about a business or to write negative reviews about a competitor. Please also do not post reviews on behalf of others or misrepresent your identity or affiliation with the place you are reviewing.” They have methods in place to automatically remove reviews that they believe may have violated their guidelines.
Yelp, another important review site has an even tougher policy. They say it’s illegal.
Ask Satisfied Customers To Give You A Review In Person
It can be hard to get customers to review your business – outside of restaurants, cafes and other hospitality businesses.
Don’t hesitate! Don’t wait too long!
Anytime you come in direct contact with a satisfied customer or client, ask them personally in the conversation for a review to let others know how you are doing. Asking them in person makes a distinct impression that you are taking the time to ask for their input on the services they were provided. Asking in person shows that you are appreciative of their efforts and creates a higher perceived level of commitment than via email.
Asking your client or customer for a positive review is as simple as, “If you have a few minutes, can you give me a good review? I’d really appreciate it!”
A checklist before you ask for customer reviews:
- Ask for customer’s permission for a review.
- Ask when they seem happiest with your service.
- Tell them how much time it’ll take.
- Tell them it’s a favour.
- Tell them the benefits of this favour to you and others in the community.
- Tell them how much it means to you.
- Ask for their email address.
- Tell them you look forward to reading it.
You could ask for reviews for yourself, or for others, by simply telling the customer how important his reviews are and how much they mean to you. Appreciate his or her time and effort, and politely ask if they are willing to share their email address for an online review. Let let them know the relevance and impact of his positive review for your business. Make him feel like he is doing you a favour. Show gratitude.
Example- “Could you please do me a favour by writing a review for me? It will take only a few minutes, but it will give others an insight of what we are offering. May I send you an email with the link to where to review us? Would that be OK? Can I have your email address, please? Thank you so much. It means a lot to me. I really look forward to reading your comments.
It’s easiest to ask happy customers for reviews. When they appreciate you, let them know how happy they have made you and how great it would be if they could share their experience online for others to read it. Sound genuine in your endeavours. Don’t oversell! Don’t force it!
The worst is when you cut the person 0ff in the middle of the conversation and ask for a review right away. Don’t do that. Let them finish, and ask for a review only after they have completed their conversation. If they seem interested, carry on. But, if their response is curt and short, take the cue and back off. It’s important to be able to read your customers.
Let the Customer Know You Get A “Bonus” If They Use Your Name In The Online Review
A happy customer will be more likely to give you a review if you stress that it will help you, as their service person in some small way. Let them know if that if they mention you by name, it’s even better! All they have to say is “Mark was very attentive and extremely professional!”, or anything that describes the service they received.
The fact is, asking for customer reviews, after having spent the last hour with them is not a problem. They are more likely to be appreciative of your efforts and provide you with exactly what you ask for. Once they know you will be rewarded for your service, many will go online and leave you a glowing review.
You could ask for customer reviews over the phone as well. In fact, for businesses with an awesome customer support service, it’s much easier to ask for reviews over the phone. The key is, to be able to judge who to ask. Customers who show gratitude – who proclaim satisfaction, are the best bet here. Tell them how much you appreciate them and how glad you are to be of help to them.
Let them know the importance of their reviews, emphasise how important it is for prospective customers see feedback on your business before they make a decision.
Let them know of their power, the power to influence others. Make them feel important and valued, this will not only encourage them to leave a review but make them loyal to your business as well.
Email Requests For Reviews
Email requests for reviews may be a little harder to snag, but it can be done. It’s better to ask them face to face after your service event is completed. But if you don’t get time to discuss it or you are a little shy, you can alert the customer that they will get a review request by email.
You can say, “are you happy with what we have done for you today”?
When the customer says yes, you can say “the boss likes to keep track of our customer service so you might get an email later today, to ask about the service we have delivered today…is that OK?”
Painless enough. 9 in 10 customers will say that’s fine and expect it. They have made an implied commitment to do it. As a result, they are much more likely to complete it when it arrives compared to just sending it cold without warning
Best Practices For Email Review Requests
- Review Request Email- You could start with a catchy line like – Positive reviews from awesome customers like you make us what we are, and continue with requesting feedback by asking them to click on the shared link. Or, go the conventional way by asking how they liked their recent purchase or service from you, and if they could share a review.
We are awesome because of awesome customers like you! And to remain awesome, we need you. Please share your experience with us, by clicking on the link below. Your feedbacks mean the world to us.
- Personal Email- A personal email can make the customer feel appreciated and valued. Let them know they are treasured and how their opinions matter. Ask them for a few minutes of their precious time, to let you and others know how they feel about you.
As one of our favourites, you and your feedback matters to us. We are what we are because of customers like you. And to keep doing better, we request you to share your feedback with us. Please take a minute to click on the link below…… We really appreciate it.
- Organisational Email- Involve your employees by asking them to share short and sweet personal correspondence with customers. Let them know how much value it can bring to the organisation. Make them feel empowered by being a part of this culture.
Your Email Design
If you are using emails, find out whether a plain text or a more corporate email works best. Make sure that getting reviews is a primary concern. This gives your employees the initiative to push for a powerful, positive review, whether they are working with the customer in person or online. Offer bonuses and incentives for employees who are able to get the best reviews, consistently over time.
A checklist to send emails:
- A personal request by a real person- use a real person’s name, someone recognised, someone they have worked with.
- A must have a clear call to action button, i.e., link to the review page.
- Test both plain text vs HTML email.
- Test different subject lines. For some using their name may work, but for others, it may not.
- Test multiple email copies to know what works best.
Make Online Customer Reviews Important For The Organisation
Getting reviews should be the goal of the entire organisation and not just the marketing department. To truly adopt it, one must-
- Make reviews top to bottom approach, i.e, executives must communicate the importance of reviews by emphasising on its impact on the business as a whole.
- Hold training on how to ask for reviews for all employees.
- Maintain a scorecard to track reviews by location.
- Offer incentives in the form of bonuses and awards for locations with best online reviews.
- Put the C-suite behind the reviews initiative, to get maximum action.
Train Your Employees
Train your employees to watch for signs that will show whether or not the person will be willing to provide you with a review. A few of these include:
- Asking for your name
- Complimenting you on your service
- Telling you they will be recommending you to friends and family
- Maintains conversation with you
Asking for reviews and getting them online, is the first step in controlling your advertising power and putting the reins of your business back in your own hands. The more online reviews you get, whether you are a landscaper or an accountant, the more people will be drawn to you and the services you provide.
If you would like to get more reviews AND save your time and your online reputation, find out more about RepBuilder – a system that helps your business efficiently collect and manage customer feedback.
There is no better parameter to judge your efforts than the number of customer responses you get. You will know where you stand. You will learn from your mistakes, and you will get better with time. Have patience. It will pay eventually.