Customer reviews can be powerful marketing tools, but they don't just happen by accident.
You'll need to learn how to encourage customers to write reviews to see the biggest benefits.
Studies show that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as though they came from personal friends. Most people use reviews to make informed buying decisions.
But perhaps most telling is that the majority of consumers rely on reviews to gauge the reputation of a business.
Are you putting online reviews to work for you? Let's explore your options.
7 Tips on How to Encourage Customers to Write Reviews
Oftentimes, reviews take a little encouragement. These seven tips can help you put the right idea into their minds:
1. Offer an Incentive
It's frowned upon to pay for reviews, but offering a little incentive never hurts.
Offering a high-value incentive for every review can undermine the whole point of collecting online reviews. Instead, you may want to offer a contest that rewards one person who submits a review in a given time.
Or, you might try to gamify the review process. Offer some free swag or content for leaving their review.
Customers will be much more likely to leave a review if they know what's in it for them.
2. Let Them Know Why Reviews Are Important to You
Every business has their own reasons for collecting online reviews. Some businesses want to build credibility and trust. Others want to highlight products to increase sales.
It's clear that reviews offer plenty of benefits to customers and businesses alike. But customers don't always see the value in leaving a review, which could be why they may not think to do so unless you ask them.
To combat this, let them know why you're asking for the review and how it helps your business. Your fans will be more likely to help you if they realize their actions are useful.
Make sure they know what's in it for them when they leave a review. The biggest benefit to the reviewer is that you use their comments to make improvements, which can encourage them to be honest about their experience – even if it was negative.
3. Remove Any Potential Barriers to Leaving Reviews
If you want customers to leave honest reviews, they shouldn't have to jump through hoops to do so. You can collect more reviews from your fans if you make it easy on them.
Unless a customer has had a particularly bad experience, they won't want to make any extra effort to give their feedback.
Having customers leave reviews is a favour to your business. It's important you remove any barriers to the process that could prevent people from leaving a review.
For example, lengthy forms that require open-ended explanations aren't as likely to be completed as a simple star-rating.
The more you ask for, the more you might be disappointed. Stick to the things you really need to know, such as their satisfaction and the likelihood they'd recommend you to a friend.
Anything beyond this should be optional.
4. Ask for Reviews Via Email
There are two easy ways to collect reviews through email marketing.
The first is obvious: after a purchase or interaction, send them an email asking for their feedback. You can create a short, simple review form that you can use to craft a testimonial for your website.
Or for product-specific reviews, you can ask them to rate the products they purchased and leave some feedback.
Shortly after a purchase makes an ideal time because the product is still on the top of their mind. If they love it, they'll want to share it with others. If they hate it, they'll want to warn others not to waste their money.
The other option is to leave an open-ended request on all your email correspondence that asks for feedback.
This might be a simple “How are we doing?” with a star-rating option. Or, it might be a call-to-actionÂ at the close of the email.
5. Post Your Reviews Where People Can See Them
Reviews aren't just to boost your internal operations. They can also help customers make informed buying decisions, so make sure you make them public.
Customers may be more likely to share their experiences if other buyers can benefit from them. If reviewing products isn't an option, you can always turn their feedback into testimonials for your homepage.
6. Don't Delete the Negative Reviews
Not all reviews will be in your favour, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't use them. If a customer leaves negative feedback and you don't share it, it could seem like you're trying to cover up the incident or aren't concerned about their experience.
People want to see the good and the bad of a business or product. Seeing only positive reviews can be hard to believe, and might bring down your credibility.
If you're afraid that negative reviews will kill your business, don't be. There are ways to handle negative reviews to mitigate any damaging effects and still earn your customers' trust. In fact, negative reviews usually can't be trusted.
Usually, the way you respond to a negative review can help turn the situation into a positive experience.
7. Never Skip an Opportunity to Get a Review
There are tons of ways you can ask for reviews, and you should exercise as many as possible to boost your chances. Ask for reviews via invoices, social media, email, on your website, or on purchase receipts.
Every time you don't ask for a review, you won't get one. The key is to ask always and often to see the best results.
Let Online Reviews Grow Your Business
Knowing how to encourage customers to write reviews can be the difference between reviews working for you or you working for reviews. Ideally, you can automate the process of encouraging and collecting reviews so you never miss an opportunity.
We can help! Reach out today to learn Rocket Reviews takes the labour and guesswork out of online reviews.