Getting great online reviews is intimidating, especially for small business owners. According to a Brightlocal survey in 2014, as much as 88% of customers will trust a user review, especially if the opinions are well-thought out and effort was put into them.
Many online business owners feel like these feedbacks are something that they can’t control. There’s a way to push people to eke out positive reviews; it only requires an extra kiss of effort.
Asking for Reviews
Forbes has once noted in an interview with Daniel Vivarelli, owner of US reputation management service Starloop, something important: if you want reviews, you need to ask for them. Whilst many customers have a tendency to leave a review unasked – which is both positive and negative, it’s still better to ask for them.
This is where the ethics of it comes in. A lot of business owners don’t ask their customers for reviews outright because they feel that customers don’t respond well to “asking” for it. The truth is, they’re right; as a frequent customer myself, I tend to overlook a request for product review because the wording is not right.
This leads into knowing how to properly request a review from a customer. There are different ways to do it.
Have Real Employees Ask For Reviews
Sometimes, people get motivated to review when real people ask them. For businesses with a local presence, it’s important to incentivise employees to request a review from clients. This helps push people to care about your product and add the human factor in the mix.
If the clientele is intimate, meaning you get a number of people going in and out at a manageable rate, you would want to have real people sending actual requests to your client-base. Have somebody from your team to specifically take care of requesting reviews. This requires, however, that your business sets up a review request standard. The tone, style and type of wording needs to be agreed upon.
Use Auto-Responder to Request Feedback Upon Purchase
If you are a purely online-based business, the smart way to do it is create a couple of accounts with real, actual employees’ names added onto it together with their positions in the company. Craft messages that converse with the client and use an auto-responder once a purchase happens. Let the account provide a link or steps how to provide a review.
This works in similar vein to automated mailers that send updates to clients about the brand, but in a way that creates a humanistic approach. Set it to no-reply or provide a different link for inquiries and you should be good to go. Create a few versions and you should be good to go.
Do not do this request on the same confirmation email once the customer purchases. Initiate this countdown either a couple of days upon purchase or a couple of days after the product was shipped. This gives the clients enough time to enjoy the purchase and see the good things in it before giving you their opinion.
Use Review Cards or Online Product Links
Another way to ask for reviews is to provide review cards and review links to your clients. A review card is a physical card that you give to your cashier so they can slip it in your customer’s product bag at checkout. This is great for items that give instant gratification to its owners. If they’re happy enough with what they get, they will provide a review.
Review links besides products or in the product purchase history are easy and simple. People have a tendency to look at their purchase history and if it’s significant enough, they will give their feedback.
There’s a number of ways to encourage feedback. Most of the work comes from the way your request is worded. It needs to be short, honest but subtle. For one, listing the review as asking for “feedback” or “opinion” is a neutral way to make people think you need their honest feelings.
Provide small discount codes, vouchers or a free product. As an example, Subway Sandwiches provides a free cookie every time you provide a survey to them. Following this as an example, a small ethical bribe should be a good way to encourage customers to not only keep buying but keep providing reviews.