Having online reviews can often help potential customers make their decision while searching for the right thing. Asking for reviews can feel awkward, but when asked in the right ways, often customers are happy to do it if their experience has been good with your brand.
In this article, we will go over the do’s and don’ts of asking for a review.
Email and Text
Email is a classic way of contacting your customers. The key is getting them to open the email. It’s a lot harder than you think now that inboxes are inundated. If you’re going to send an email, be sure that your headline is eye-catching. Here are a few suggestions.
1) “At (your business name) we value your feedback on how to make us the best provider in your area.”
2) “Help someone else find the best (product/service)”
3) “How was your experience with (your business name)”
Those same subject headlines can also work as copy for text messages if you have a texting platform to contact your customers. Texting is a more direct form of contact so you don’t want to use it often, but your message is more likely to be seen due to how many emails come into the average person’s inbox.
If you want to ask for reviews via email, there’s no need to send a paragraph.
A few lines acknowledging the business you recently did, whether it be buying a taco or a house, and asking for their honest feedback on it so other people can experience the same satisfaction is all you need. Followed by a warm thank you, of course!
Here’s a template you can follow:
“Hi (Name), We hope that you are enjoying your (product/service). We hope you enjoyed it and your experience so much so that you might encourage someone else to come see us by taking a moment to leave a review at (link). Thank you so much for supporting us. It means a lot.”
Social media is a great place for spreading the word. You can even utilize it as its own separate review forum by reposting reviews and posts from clients. Sometimes people will naturally post about what they love, but they may forget to tag your business account.
The way to get more reviews you can repost or send to a specific place is through hashtags. Having a custom hashtag for your business is always helpful but looking through specific hashtags in your field and industry might reveal some more posts you hadn’t seen before. Be sure to always ask if it’s ok to repost the image and text before doing so.
If you will be using the review in any sort of paid advertising, you’ll need them to sign a release form drafted up by a lawyer.
Asking for a Review in Person
This is likely the most intimidating option of all, but if you have a very relational business, like food service, hospitality, real estate, coaching, counseling, etc., it is likely the most authentic option for you. Here’s how to go about it.
If a moment feels right toward the end of their experience, simply state how much you have enjoyed the experience with them, and you would love to give that same gift to someone else. Then let them know that they can leave an encouraging note to someone else looking for the right business to work with by leaving a review.
How Not to Ask for a Review
There are a few things that can rub people the wrong way and make your reviews seem unauthentic. For example, if you give your customers a particular template in which to send in a review it will be obvious that those comments were manipulated.
Another thing that will cause people to leave lackluster reviews is by paying them or offering something for their review. Incentivizing for reviews can get you kicked off of many review sites, and it doesn’t produce an authentic review.
People are quick to sniff out lackluster reviews provided out of obligation.
Sometimes offering an incentive for leaving a review can actually violate some websites’ policies, which can get you in trouble with the places people use to find your business.
Additionally, you never want to demand customers leave reviews or shame people into filling one out.
Here are the main problems with those options. Someone can always go back and edit their review. While under pressure they may leave 5 stars, but later they can go back and complain about the pushy experience. Shaming has never helped anyone either. It often looks like using the “we are a small business and need your help to survive” line.
You don’t want sympathy reviews from customers that feel sorry for you and don’t provide you valuable insight into your business. Instead, aim for getting reviews from raving fans who are willing to boost your brand’s appearance and suggest ways to improve your product or service.
Overall, you don’t want to give anyone uncomfortable “car salesman” vibes by manipulating them to say what you want, how you want, and when you want. Let your customers be who they are and report on their authentic experience.
Getting this valuable feedback will help you identify problem areas in your customer experience and give you the insight you need to make operational changes.
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