How to Encourage Customers to Write Reviews: Our Top 12 Tips

We’ve given you a general idea of how to ask for Google reviews, Yelp reviews, and other customer feedback. Now, let’s talk about actionable steps – because that’s what you’ll need to see real results.

Here are a dozen of our best tips for getting customer reviews, all of which are tried and true strategies our marketing team uses regularly.

1. Just ask. (No, really – it can be that easy.)

Often, figuring out how to get more customer reviews can feel like a mystery that’s impossible to solve. But actually, many business owners make it more complicated than it needs to be. 

Start by just asking your customers to write reviews – don’t be surprised to discover that many people are happy to share a few positive words about a good experience. Of course, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve already done the work of providing excellent customer service and quality products and/or services.

There are many different ways to request customer reviews, including:

  • Include a link to your preferred review platform in the signature of every email you send.
  • Reach out to your social media followers with a friendly invitation to leave reviews.
  • Create a QR code that connects customers directly with your review page, then add it to your business card, receipt, or another printed material.

2. Set up a process.

There’s a lot to be said to seize every unexpected change to encourage customer reviews. But equally useful is developing a clear process for “the ask” and then making sure you (and any employees) stick to it.

For example, let’s say you are a professional wedding planner. After a client’s big day has come and gone, perhaps you send them a small memento (like a picture frame inscribed with their wedding date) as a thank you gift. You can include a small card that asks for a review in the gift package. This process can serve as a closing act of sorts for every client. Before long, it will be a virtually effortless method that produces a steady flow of reviews.

3. Automate your “ask” wherever possible.

There are so many automation tools you can use to streamline your business operations, including options for automating the process of asking for customer reviews. With review automation, it becomes much easier to stay consistent through even the busiest periods of your business. As your business grows and expands, automated tools make it simple to scale your efforts as needed.

There are various ways to automate the review request process, including:

  • Pop-up forms that appear after a customer makes a purchase on your website
  • Automatic follow-up emails are sent after a customer completes their shopping experience
  • Customer feedback request emails are sent at regular intervals (for example, monthly)
  • Online booking systems that feature automated messaging for scheduling future appointments and leaving feedback

4. Concentrate your efforts on satisfied customers.

When a customer makes a positive remark during an interaction, don’t let the opportunity pass you by. It can truly be as simple as thanking them, then asking if they would mind sharing their thoughts in a quick review.

Another way to capitalize on these opportunities is by utilizing customer surveys. When a customer positively responds to a brief survey, you can then invite them to write a more detailed review.

Surveys can also let you turn an unhappy customer into one that has nothing but great things to say about your business. If there’s a customer who answers your survey with less-than-thrilled feedback, make an effort to ask how you can improve their experience. Take action whenever possible, going above and beyond to show that you’re determined to do better. Then, if the customer is pleased by the results, encourage them to leave a review.

5. Add a personalized touch.

Automation can be a handy tool, but you also don’t want to make your customers feel like they’re just another face in the crowd. Find ways to personalize the ask, and you’re likely to see your success rate climb. And as an added bonus, you’ll be building stronger, more lasting relationships with your customers.

Personalization can take many different forms, largely depending on the type of business you run. For example, a wealth management firm that has developed deep connections with its clients might make a personal phone call to ask for a review. 

6. Communicate why reviews matter so much.

Many customers might not realize why reviews are so important, so educating them can make a big difference in their willingness to provide feedback. Explain that reviews help your business connect with customers just like them, specifically those who are searching for a quality experience – which you’ve just proved you are capable of providing. 

A customer is more apt to take action once they understand that reviews don’t just help your business but are actually incredibly beneficial for their fellow consumers. 

7. Make the review process hassle-free.

You’re a business owner, but you’re also a consumer – so you already know that an overcomplicated review is one you’re unlikely to complete. One of the fastest ways to lose reviews is by expecting customers to spend too much time or energy on the process. Your goal should be to get rid of any possible friction points that would discourage your customers.

So, this means you’ll need to take a hard look at your process through the eyes of a customer. How can you streamline it? Here are a few suggestions:

  • When you send a review request (email, text, or another medium), a link should take the customer directly to the platform or fillable form. Under no circumstances should the customer navigate the platform and then find your business.
  • Keep your requests short and to the point while still expressing your appreciation. Avoid too much “fluff” so that you don’t lose customers’ interest before getting that click.
  • If possible, find a review service that allows customers to skip the step of signing up for an account on your platform of choice. 

8. Provide an easy-to-use template to guide reviewers.

Given the choice between writing an entire review from scratch or working from a helpful template, what are you most likely to choose? If you can develop a template that outlines exactly what you’d like the review to contain, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process for your customers. 

For example, your review request form can include a few ideas to get the customer started:

Thank you so much for choosing Clarkdale Designs for your home renovation project. We would appreciate your feedback on your experience so that we can continue to provide the very best in interior design and remodeling services!

How did your personal design team go above and beyond to meet your needs?
When did you realize you had made the right decision in working with us?
How would you describe the experience to a friend?

A template can be advantageous in more ways than one. As you can see, the example above makes it much easier for the customer to share detailed feedback without having to think too hard. But in addition, it gently guides the customer to provide answers that will make for an outstanding review. 

9. Actively engage with new and existing reviews.

When customers see a business interact with online reviews, writing and submitting their own feedback can be a major motivator. Regardless of whether you’re responding to positive or negative reviews, expressing your appreciation can go a long way. And when you show that you aren’t just skimming over reviews but actually absorbing the feedback, that can be even more encouraging to customers.

In addition to responding to each individual review, another way to demonstrate your engagement is to share some reviews via social media. You might pull a few sentences to use as a quote for a single post or even collect several pieces of positive feedback centered on a specific product or service. 

Customers want to know that the time and effort required for writing a review will be appreciated. More than likely, you genuinely are grateful for customer feedback – you just need to be sure to actually show it.

10. Offer an incentive to sweeten the deal.

Providing an incentive to reward reviewers does not mean bribing customers for good reviews. It’s important that you carefully consider your approach to this tactic so that you don’t come off as unethical in any way.

Simply state that you’re offering an incentive as a “thank you” for customers that choose to write a review for your business without putting pressure on the customer to say only positive things. You can certainly say something like, “Did you have a great experience with one of our team members? We would love to hear about it! Take a few moments to write a review, and we’ll send you a 15% off coupon to say thanks!”

Some ideas for customer incentives for reviews are:

  • Discounts
  • Store credits
  • Account upgrades
  • Free product or service
  • Charitable donation made on their behalf
  • Publicity via a social media share
  • Free content, such as an ebook relevant to the products/services you provide

11. Use review request emails, but with impeccable timing.

We already discussed the general guidelines for when to send review requests so that you can use that as a starting point. But in terms of the big picture, when is the best time to ask for a review?

For the most part, your timing is going to depend largely on the type of business you have, as well as the sort of products and/or services you offer. If you are a personal fitness trainer and nutrition coach, you probably aren’t going to ask for feedback after a client’s first week of working with you. Rather, you would have much better luck timing your request after achieving a major milestone or successfully completing a full program.

When it comes to product reviews, try to reach out to the customer while you’re still fresh in their mind and they’ve had ample time to actually use the product in question. The type of product will affect this timeframe, so take that into consideration.

Service reviews are typically best requested at the completion of the service. So, once you wrap up the project or job, you can ask for the review as a part of the payment process. Or, if you work with customers on an ongoing basis, use key milestones as a “trigger event” for a review request.

12. Don’t forget to follow up.

Our last tip is also one of the most important and one that many businesses don’t use. Asking for reviews can be slightly awkward (at least at first), largely because many business owners perceive it as a “bother” to their customers. So, the prospect of following up and asking again is something that plenty of business owners would rather just avoid.

But remember, you’ve already set up a system that makes it easy, fast, and possibly even rewarding for your customers to write a review. It’s true that they are being extremely helpful and generous in submitting a review, but you’ve been very careful to take a friendly, non-pushy approach to begin with. That means that if you don’t receive a response after a certain period of time, you can feel completely comfortable sending a gentle reminder.

We all have things on our to-do lists that we forget about or put off until later, and your customers are no different. So, a subtle nudge might just be what they need to get it done.

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