Acquiring customers is one of the most difficult things for companies to do. In each industry, you’re competing against other people, companies, and media outlets clamoring for the attention of the consumer you’re trying to reach. Today, the best way to acquire new customers is to show that your current customers love you for what you do.
Customers can share their affection for your business by leaving customer reviews online. It is now customary for new customers to check these reviews before giving your business a chance to speak for itself. Needless to say, this makes accumulating positive reviews extremely important for today’s businesses.
Why It’s Important to Trust Strangers
This noisy world requires a way to establish trust, which online reviews can certainly support.
People are more likely to take stock in what their friends, family, and acquaintances say over anyone else. This statement has been repeated, retweeted, and reiterated millions of times during the Social Media era.
However, our circle of trust does not end there. While we can’t always rely on our closest advisors to give us their own take on each and everything we need or do, online ratings and reviews can.
According to a 2017 study from Bright Local, 85% of consumers give as much credence to online reviews as they would a recommendation from a friend or family member. Incredibly, this increase in trust is up 12% from 2010; growth undoubtedly fueled by the rise of mobile devices.
People trust people, whether they know each other personally or not. If you’re interested in generating more leads and attracting more customers, it’s vital to connect on a personal level. Creating a successful review program means that while you’re connecting personally, you’re also implementing a system that will allow you to manage all communications across your organization.
How to Ask for a Review From Your Customers
Getting reviews from your customers doesn’t need to be a complicated process. We know this works since we’ve already done it ourselves. Let’s take a look at 7 of the best practices you can follow on how to ask for reviews on Facebook, Google and beyond.
Establish a Template for How to Ask for More Reviews
Before you even get to managing your new glut of reviews, you’ll need to establish how you’re asking people to leave reviews for you.
The easiest way to accomplish this is usually through email since it’s an evergreen one-to-one connection. Provide the link to your desired review sites in an easily accessible email template for your customer.
If you’re a physical location, like a grocer, diner, or auto-body shop, it’s best to leave signage up in highly visible areas and include review requests and instructions on receipts. Having something tangible makes life much easier for you and your customer to take the next steps. Whether analog or digital, the easier you make your review process, the more likely you’ll get that coveted review!
Some people are better at interpersonal communication than others. Other business owners are better with scale and logistics. Each of these personality types is not disparate, nor are they the same. They are, however, essential ingredients to making your customers and prospects know you care about both your current and future customers.
We recommend using tools like Google My Business, Trustpilot, and Yelp for soliciting, replying to, and managing reviews. Each tool has a dashboard designed for businesses to be able to see, reply, categorize, even share the reviews they receive on their website or social profiles. Trustpilot does have a fee but for most businesses, Google and Yelp reviews are the best options.
Time Your ‘Ask’ Properly
Whether your face to face, on the phone or email with one of your customers, knowing when and how to ask for a review are equally important. You can’t just interrupt the conversation you and the customer are sharing to ask them for a favor. This may actually have the opposite effect.
Timing your ask properly means asking your customer to leave a review when they seem most likely to respond to the question in a positive way.
Ask Face to Face
A simple way on how to ask for a review without seeming desperate is to work it into your employees’ scripts. If your employee feels like they have done a good job portraying your company’s values and feels a connection with the customer they’re working with, asking them to leave a review at the end of the transaction is a natural face-to-face way of doing so.
This can also play in your favor because, depending on your business, your customer is probably leaving your store happy they found what they needed. For example, let’s say your customer just purchased a piece of merchandise they were having trouble finding until they found your business. Following the transaction, while you still have their attention, ask the customer if they’d mind leaving an online review on the help they received. You’ll be surprised by how effective this can actually be.
A happy customer is much more likely to agree to a survey so if your employees are providing your customers with good service, they should be able to get your business a fair amount of reviews along the way.
Ask via Email
There is no ‘asking for a review’ template. What works for one company won’t always work for the next. It’s important to try different things and not simply search ‘how to ask for Google reviews’ on your laptop. Consider the best way to reach your customers and what they might respond to best. For many companies, this answer is email.
How to ask for a review from your customers by email will depend on how your business collects this data. If email is something you ask your customers for every time they shop at your store, then your database is probably oversaturated and may be annoying to some of your one-time customers.
If your company only records customer email addresses when they’re signing up for special offers, then the results of an email driven review campaign might be more to your liking. These customers are already conditioned to check their inboxes for your offers. Sending an email thanking them for being loyal customers and asking them to leave a review so you can better serve them might land you few positive reviews.
Give Customers Options
Giving your customer options so they can pick how they’d like to leave a Google or Facebook review can be an effective way of asking. This allows the customer to feel more in control and feel more comfortable participating.
If the reviewer would like to leave a written message about their experience, allow them to do so. If they’d like to answer specific questions about the service they received, provide that option as well. If they’d prefer to just leave a star rating, there’s no shame in that either. The more options you have available to your reviewers, the more you’re likely to receive.
Make It as Easy as Possible
No one is going to leave a review if your process for doing so is complicated. Once you ask a customer to leave a review, the following steps should be so simple that the only question they could have is “how was that so easy?”
The hardest part of making leaving a review easy is knowing where to provide the link for your customer. The easiest option is either through email or text. When a customer purchases something at your store, train your cashier to collect data like their phone number and email address. This will allow your business to send your loyal customers special offers and even ask them for a review when appropriate.
Make Generating Reviews Part of Work Flow
As we’ve touched on throughout this article, training your employees to make reviews part of their daily responsibilities is the best way to get more reviews. Having your employees engage with your customers can leave a positive impression on them when they’re sitting down to leave a review.
When it comes to how to ask for a review, the answer is whatever is right for your company. Consider how your customers like to be contacted and how you acquired their contact information. These two factors alone can tell you a lot about how to ask for reviews.
Thank All of Your Reviewers
Thanking all of your customers who leave reviews, good or bad, can go a long way. They may feel more inclined to stop by your store soon or even tell a friend to leave a survey. Show appreciation the same way you do when they step in your store.
Encouraging Customers to Write Reviews Starts With You
Reviews come with great service, great systems, attention to detail and being ready when the customer needs you. There is no surefire ‘asking for a review’ template that guarantees more customer reviews for your business.
The best way to generate more reviews is to understand your customer, what you know about them and how you know it. Keep pushing yourself and your company to offer a great experience for your customers and they’ll respond by sharing their experience with friends or even a sparkling review.