Reviews are the lifeblood of any business online, and good reviews are what get customers in the door. Studies have shown that 90% of customers will read an online review before going to a location, 92% of customers will use a local business if it has a 4 star or better rating, a good review could mean up to 31% more in sales, and 86% of people will hesitate to shop at a location with bad reviews. But we’ve all had the experience of having a pushy salesperson shove a receipt or form in our face and ask for a survey. If you even remember that you had a survey, you might be so turned off from the experience that you could give a bad score out of spite. So, how do you square the circle of getting good, organic, and happy customer reviews from your customers?
Surprisingly, it isn’t that complicated. There are seven things-with some warnings-that you can do so that customers will provide you with more reviews and more good reviews that drive traffic and customers to your business.
First, get them at the height of their joy. When the customer is the happiest-once you have confirmation that they’ve received the product you have shipped, finished with a long but happy spa session, have just finished ringing up their purchase-is when you should ask for a review or survey request from your customer.
…but don’t be pushy about it. Everybody has horror stories of finishing their shopping experience and being ambushed by a salesperson with a credit card application or a bottle of perfume to spray in their general direction. Be clear, offer, but don’t push.
Second, make it personal. If you’re sending the customer a survey, make sure to address them by name, what services were provided, and have your questions as relevant as possible. People can tell when they get a form letter or an automated request for a review, and that turns potential reviewers off.
…but avoid being creepy about it. This is a fine line to walk, and one of the biggest things is to not try and upsell or generate additional sales directly from the review. If you want or have to put information for future sales in the review, put it at the end. Never put it at the front or in the body of the review request.
Third, make it easy. The more steps that your customer has to do to complete the review, the fewer reviews you’ll get. The more customer reviews you get-and good customer reviews-help with your scores and appearance to your customers.
…but, don’t make it too easy, that you don’t learn anything. Customer reviews are an important part of how you determine what worked and what didn’t with your customers. Five to ten items or questions for a customer to answer is a good “middle of the road” target to aim for when asking for customer reviews.
Fourth, make it quick. Five to ten minutes, at most, is what your review process should take. The longer it takes-or the longer it seems to take-the fewer reviews you will get and the fewer good reviews that you will receive.
…but not so quick that the customer breezes through it. Customers should take a little time looking through your questions, and one of the best ways to do this is to make a review request about them. Make the review process and your questions about them and their time buying your product.
Fifth, make it rewarding. From discounts on the next purchase to deal coupons to upgrade a future purchase, letting a customer know that completing a review will be rewarding will help to get more reviews on your product. If you’re going to do offer a reward, let your customers know up-front in the request for a review.
…but, be very careful when offering rewards for reviews. Poor wording or implications in your reward program could cause people to think you’re paying for good reviews. On a number of sales websites, such as Amazon or eBay, paying for good reviews can get you in a lot of trouble. So, make sure that if you are to give rewards for reviews, the review itself gets a reward, regardless of how the review is.
Sixth, engage with existing reviews. If a customer thinks that their concerns will be addressed when they post a review, they will put a review in. Customers want feedback, as much as retailers, and having a good feedback mechanism means that you can learn more details about your customer base.
…but don’t engage in an argument with the reviews. If a customer has a legitimate issue, ask to take it somewhere private, like a phone call or e-mail. Back-and-forth arguments in a review or comments section of your website look bad and have potential customers asking questions about your business that maybe they shouldn’t ask.
Seventh, and finally, always follow up. If your customers have concerns or issues that they asked about in the review, follow up with them. Address their legitimate concerns, if you can, and make sure that they have a chance to hear more about you and your company.
…but don’t be pushy about it. We come back full circle here and this is something you should be careful about. Don’t automatically sign them up for your e-mail list or spam their phone with ads. Offer them a chance for future follow-ups and ads, but don’t automatically sign them up for something that they don’t want.
Reviews and survey requests are part of a complete marketing plan for your business and are just as important as an easy-to-use website or a well-targeted SEO campaign. And, this is where Boylan Point can help. Check out some of our other articles and see if we can help you today.