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7 Ways to Encourage Customer Reviews

There’s no better way to gain the trust of a potential customer than being able to point them in the direction of reviews from delighted users of your product or service. What’s more, user reviews are a fantastic way to find out what you’re doing well and find out about the areas that require improvement. But how can a business go about getting these reviews in the first place?

In this article, the UK’s premier company formation agent, 1st Formations, looks at the different methods you can use to encourage your customers to leave reviews.

  1. Deliver impeccable service

The absolute best way to get your customers to leave reviews is to provide them with a fantastic service they’ll want to tell everyone about. If your offering is outstanding, you won’t have to do any work to get your users to share their stories – they’ll often be happy to do this off their own back.

As the widespread use of social media platforms confirms, people want to talk about their experiences. When someone is thrilled about a product/service they have received, it’s like they have joined an exclusive club whereby they want to tell everyone else how amazing it is. Essentially, they become unofficial brand advocates.

Leaving a review is one of the ways these customers will demonstrate their new-found loyalty to you (they’re also likely to tell their friends and family about you and use you again). But remember, it can work both ways. If you deliver an atrocious service, unsatisfied customers will also be willing to share their story, this time with a one-star review.

  1. Ask for it there and then

If your business deals with people face-to-face, get in the habit of straight-out asking customers to write a review, especially if you sense that they are happy with the service that they have received. This might make you uncomfortable – like you are ambushing the customer – but often, the customer will be willing.

When doing this, provide clear instructions on the platform(s) that you want to be reviewed on, and if you’re feeling particularly brave, you could encourage the customer to leave the review there and then (under the guise of showing them how to do it). However, be careful when taking this approach, as you don’t want to turn a positive experience into a negative one.

If this tactic fills you with dread, get started by asking your already loyal customers if they’d be willing to leave a review. Then, when you’ve built up your confidence, you can start asking your new patrons.

  1. Advertise your need for reviews

Sticking with the in-person customer interaction scenario, if vocalising your desire for reviews is just too forthright an approach for you (this is understandable), there are more subtle ways you can make the request.

Put up signage in your workplace, advertising why reviews are so important to your business and providing clear instructions on how someone can leave a review. Print out some business cards or flyers that can be shared with clients at the end of a transaction, providing the key review information.

If you feel that a customer interaction went especially well, take the time to write a short personalised email or text message, including specific details about your exchange (it was so nice to meet you!), thanking them for their custom, letting them know about other products/services you provide, and again, stating the importance of reviews and how they can go about leaving one.

  1. Add a dedicated reviews section to your website

Any business with a website should have a section or page focused entirely on what its customers have to say. As well as showcasing feedback (whilst you should not republish reviews that have gone up on Trustpilot or Feefo, you can add widgets to your site that add them as inserts), this is an ideal spot to ask for new reviews.

With this page in place, you have a central reviews hub under your URL to direct customers to when asking for reviews. From here, they can select the review platform that is convenient for them.

If you have the available resources, as well as using the page to show off the reviews you have received, you can use the page to tell larger customer stories through case studies. These are a fantastic way to give a face to your customers and demonstrate just how your product or service can help in a way that goes beyond a simple 60-word review.

If you are a B2B business, you’ll also find that this is an effective way to encourage businesses to leave feedback about you, as they can gain some free publicity and a link from your site.

  1. Develop an email campaign

When it comes to simply asking your customers for a review, the obvious solution for online businesses is to make the request via email. If you operate a larger business, you will be able to set up automated email campaigns through your CRM, inviting customers to visit the review platform of your choice and leave their reviews.

Smaller businesses can deliver the same email but instead of relying on a CRM to send it (these can be a luxury smaller businesses can’t afford), will need to send the email manually. However, if your business does fall into the latter camp, you must make sure you update your email list accordingly and don’t bombard customers with emails if they have already left a review.

In both scenarios, you need to ensure that your audience has opted-in to such an email to make sure that you’re fully compliant with GDPR regulations. Plus, you need to send the email at an opportune time. Too close to the purchase and customers may not feel ready to provide a fully informed response, too far away and they may struggle to remember their experience.

We recommend waiting 3 days from the purchase and then emailing again 3 days after that if they don’t leave a review.

  1. Get on your socials

If you have built up a dedicated following of loyal customers who regularly interact with your accounts, ask these people to get involved and leave their feedback on your review site of choice (a review on the social media site itself is better than nothing but not as useful as on a dedicated review platform that can generate a review score).

Be careful though. Social media is notorious for being somewhat toxic. If you do find that your social media channels are often used by irate customers as a sounding board for their frustrations, you might be better off making your review requests in a more private place.

  1. Add an incentive

People are more likely to engage with your request if they receive something in return. So, to encourage more customers to leave reviews, why not consider offering an incentive?

Incentives in exchange for reviews are common but there are a few things to be mindful of if you opt for this strategy. Firstly, to ensure a fair process, you should promote all types of reviews, not just positive ones.

Terminology such as “Let us know what you thought to be entered in our prize draw” is fine (provided that you provide clear terms and conditions), however, “Give us an outstanding review to be entered in our prize draw” is a no-no.

Secondly, put serious thought into the incentive that you offer. Discounts on your products and services are a good idea as they’re easy for you to implement but how alluring are they going to be to someone who has already used your service? Great if you have several offerings but not ideal if you provide limited services.

You may find that gift vouchers and products not directly associated with your business are more attractive as an incentive.

And finally, remember what you’re asking for

Not so much a tip but more general advice… As much as you love your business and want to hear how great it is, some reviews are bound to be below five stars. Remember not to take offence and instead, view it as constructive criticism that can help take your business to the next level.

100% positive reviews would look suspicious and untrustworthy to potential customers, so a mixture of comments will make your brand look more authentic. In addition to this, by responding to negative feedback in a considerate, professional manner, you can help showcase how helpful your customer services department is and how receptive your business is to feedback.

So, there you have it

That was 7 ways you can encourage your customers to leave reviews about your business. Implement some of these tips today and watch the feedback come flooding in… just make sure you respond in due course and act accordingly when it’s necessary! Thanks for reading.