How to ask for online reviews

How to ask for online reviews

Reviews are essential to every business in the modern age. To secure great reviews, and to ensure you have an adequate number of them in your back pocket, companies must be proactive in the user/review process. Your company will need a plan to ask for and gather reviews so that it brings in more business and attracts potential customers.

Reviews are valuable now because they provide “social proof” of your company’s success, quality, and commitment to customer satisfaction; that is, potential customers will be more likely to use your products or services if they know others have already used them and reported a positive experience. In fact, in a recent poll, nearly eighty-five percent of Americans said they seek out recommendations from friends and family when choosing which products or services to use. In addition, eighty-four percent of those polled said they trusted online reviews and would take the word of online reviewers as readily as friends and family.

These numbers sound like just procuring reviews will net your company a slam dunk – but there’s a catch. Online customers don’t just want to read reviews, they want to read reviews which reflect your company in a positive light. This shows in the data, as forty-two percent of consumers won’t buy from a business with less than three stars on ratings platforms like Yelp. Additionally, only five percent use businesses with a one start rating. These numbers express consumers’ desires to buy from a business with a polished record, one they – and others – can trust to provide quality and a high degree of customer satisfaction.

Reviews express a degree of trust to consumers, a factor which can’t be faked or expressed solely through advertisements of marketing campaigns. Aside from customer satisfaction and trust-building, a steady flow of positive reviews from multiple sources will also help your company enhance its SEO and presence on search engines like Google and Bing. With all this in mind, there’s only one question left to ask – how do you ask customers for reviews?

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    Email or SMS?

    There are a few key questions you’ll want to ask to determine how your business will increase its influx of reviews. The first is deciding on which form of communication you’ll want to use with customers – e-mail or SMS. Many companies today are switching over to SMS because they feel it’s more personal and intimate. However, there’s solid evidence that e-mail is still the most efficient and effective method of communication because of its response rate and ease of use.

    Many businesses see the high open rate for SMS and become duped into thinking it’s a better channel, but this is misleading. While SMS certainly has a higher open rate, e-mail has a much larger read through and response rate, meaning customers, on average, are engaging to a larger extent with e-mail. Additionally, those customers who will respond and choose to leave reviews for your company will have a much more difficult time doing so on a mobile device.

    Some customers will preemptively alert your company that they need or like to be contacted by SMS if the situation arises, but these are rare cases. SMS could also be the go-to channel if you need a swift response, especially in service industries like installation or landscaping, but you can always send an e-mail as well to make your request more specific and likely to be engaged with no matter the circumstances.

    ” One effective method is to send out review requests through SMS. Data from the Pew Research Center show 81 percent of Americans own a smartphone, which makes it easy for any brand to create a text survey to quickly gauge the customer experience. ”

    – reviewtrackers.com

    E-Mail Style, Tone, and Presentation

    E-mail is alive and well in the modern communication landscape; just over seventy percent of consumers prefer their business communications done through this channel. While the popularity and ease of this communication method bode well for your company, there are some pitfalls to keep in mind, in order to maximize your e-mail potential.

    Firstly, your company will have little true contact with your customer, which can make any request for information, review or not, more difficult. To avoid the potential mishap of requesting a review from a customer who did not like your service, you should segment your e-mail list into several categories and subcategories. Firstly, the customers you e-mail should be repeat customers or those which have shown the most interest in interacting with your brand.

    Lead tools are a good way to feel around your customers’ satisfaction and request any potential follow up communications, such as a pleasant review.You can also send customer satisfaction surveys for a quick and direct method of consumer gauging. Simply keep an eye out for those surveys which are most positive and well written to contact customers who write the most effective and engaging reviews.

    When crafting the specific text of your e-mail, you should attempt to be highly personable. The most important factor you can exude when requesting reviews is likability, meaning the customer should feel appreciated at all times and look upon every interaction in a positive and unique light; make your customer feel special, as if they’re receiving preferential treatment. Your e-mail text should reflect this mentality: always include a personal “from” name and write the e-mail as if sending it from one person to another, in a friendly manner.

    Don’t try to forward brand synergy or spread a sheen of corporate whimsy over the e-mail. Additionally, if you can find an employee that the customer has worked with, met, or interacted with in a satisfying manner, your customer will be far more likely to leave a positive e-mail. This method is so effective it can even work with a chat bot, or another inanimate service rep the customer spoke to at some point in time. In addition to the more formal tone, make sure to skimp on the flashier elements of e-mail; don’t include any pop-ups or images to distract the customer. A nice, professional body of text is all you need to request a review.


    How to Ask for a Review Via E-Mail

    Typically, you’ll ask for the review in a response to a business transaction you’ve already had with the customer. Thank them for their business and make them feel valued and appreciated. Next you’ll move into the body of your text. A great way to “break the ice” is telling your customer you’re showcasing businesses like theirs on your website and would like their input or feedback. You can even include them in a video or formal testimonial to increase the “prestige” of your request.

    It’s also a great idea to assure them that they’re business came to mind quickly when deciding on which customers to choose for the review; remember, anything you can say to add value in the customers’ mind will make a positive review more likely. You should always provide all of the information the customer needs to make the review during your request. There’s no need for a series of e-mail exchanges, as you’re really just looking for a simple yes or no before the actual review is submitted. With this in mind, you should provide a link to the desired destination and any additional information your customer will need to write, record, and submit the review. Thank them again for service and time, then leave a warm, friendly parting using a specific name. All of this should go into the body of your paragraph to maximize the likelihood of the customers response and the chances they leave behind a positive, glowing review of your company.

    ” Using email to ask for reviews is a solid approach for businesses. First of all, it’s still a great channel for communicating with your customers: 91% of consumers open their email on a daily basis, and 58% of consumers check their email before doing anything else online. ”

    – wordstream.com

    Automating the Review Process

    Once you’ve decided on the process for receiving and using the reviews which are submitted, the process can be easily automated with a few pieces of software. Review software acts as a way to cut down on costs and time related to customer reviews, as the software can automate drip e-mail, SMS messages, and videos. It can also monitor incoming reviews which helps you respond instantly to both positive and negative sentiment.

    Sophisticated review software like Shopper Approved or Birdeye will allow your company to keep a close eye on every review which is submitted across multiple platforms and channels. Responding to reviews in real time helps keep loyal customers happy and appreciated and can even turn a negative review into something positive if the problem can be adequately solved in a short amount of time. Finally, some software even interacts with customers, asking them to submit photos and other user-generated content which are company can use to market your products and services to a wider audience.


    Additional Tips

    Above is the general process for formulating a great review request process, but there are a few more tips to keep in mind for great results every time. First, never offer an incentive for a review. Platforms like Google and Yelp frown upon solicitations for reviews, and your company could even be fined. Secondly, you should look for existing reviews from customers. There are millions of reviews for products and services, and it’s possible your customers have already left your company some feedback which simply slipped through the filters.

    Next, you’ll always want to create a custom, user-friendly webpage for your customers to fill out. Blind reviews can be tricky and frustrating to write, leading to uncertainty and even counter-productivity; by creating a custom webpage, you can guide customers through the review process, asking them to rate their experience on a numbered scale and focusing their attention to certain aspects of their experience. While e-mail and SMS systems are a great way to create a highly prolific and efficient stream of e-mails, ask your customers in person for reviews if possible. Nothing is more personable than real life people!

    Remember to focus on the quality rather than the quantity at all times. It’s great if your company receives ten-thousand reviews per day, but if they’re rated low or poorly written and thought out, they won’t mean nearly as much as one-hundred superb reviews. Finally, always remember to send follow-up e-mails and never forget to engage with customers on your social platforms. Interact with your customer base as frequently as you can and on as many platforms as possible; this ensures your customers are always appreciated and won’t hesitate to spread the word of your brand help you attract new customers from all corners of the internet.

    The best way to get unsolicited positive reviews – establish a strong personal relationship between them and your brand. People love supporting and promoting friends.

    – tacticalsocialmedia.org


    Reviews are a critical part of any business in today’s breakneck world

    Requesting reviews can be difficult and taxing for companies, but the process is really quite simple and effective. Remember to be personal, know your audience, craft a specific message and tone, and always make your customers feel appreciated. Follow these guidelines, and you’ll be swimming in positive reviews before the end of the month.

    Let Bold Eye Media make getting reviews a breeze!


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