In my experience, many businesses underutilize an important way to build credibility with prospective customers — asking their current clients for reviews. If approached correctly, however, having positive online testimonials can be one of the most effective ways to convert leads into sales.
Below, I explain effective review strategies to help you not only reach your target audience but also convince them to reach back out to you.
The Problem: Having Few Or No Customer Reviews
When a consumer is looking for a particular service or product, they frequently go online to conduct research. Indeed, recent statistics show that
81 percent of retail buyers conduct research online before making their purchase.
GE Capital Retail Bank
If they are examining your brand and don’t see any positive reviews from happy customers, then they’re likely to turn to one of your competitors. If that rival does have positive testimonials, then your competitor will gain the business you just lost.
As e-commerce becomes more and more prevalent, having a robust online presence that includes positive customer reviews will only become more and more important. In my experience, however, some people feel uncomfortable asking their customers for this public support. This reluctance is understandable since some cultures condition people not to boast about themselves or engage in self-promotional behavior.
If you are one of these people, you might worry that asking for reviews is self-serving and hesitate for that reason. The good news, however, is that most people love to be asked for their opinions.
The Solution: Asking for Customer Reviews
While it might seem too hard to face all of your customers and ask them to give you five stars, rest assured these tactics are unnecessary. In fact, they aren’t even a good idea because it’s not always appropriate to ask every client for a review. Some will have just started working with you and will need to gain experience with your brand, for instance.
Instead, identify your happiest customers and ask them to share their honest opinions. Since they’ve had positive experiences with your team, you can rely on them to grant you your best reviews.
While it might seem unnerving at first to surrender control in this way, remember that trying to dictate to them will only backfire on you. Instructing the customer on what rating to give you is likely to result in them raising their eyebrows, but those aren’t the only tricks that can help you grow your best list of customer reviews.
Tip #1: Choose The Right People To Make The Request
First and foremost, the people on your team who should ask customers for reviews are the ones who have the closest relationship with them. These are the people who might spend time with them on video calls or see them on a regular basis.
These team members are your best chance because most consumers will feel particularly attached to them and have the most trouble saying “no” to them. These are also the people who can help you identify the right customers to contact in the first place.
Tip #2: Solicit Their Feedback First
Before asking the customer for the review, the designated team member should solicit their feedback. Your employees might believe that a given client is one of your most satisfied, but they won’t know until they inquire, which is why the first step in any such conversation is asking the customer for their unvarnished opinion about your business.
Your brand ambassador might be surprised by what they hear. If that’s the case, then you might need to work on your relationship with that customer before asking them for a review. Make a note of any issues, create an action plan to fix them with the customer, and make sure to follow up accordingly. Once those issues are resolved, it’s time to repeat the process and ask for feedback again.
If the client has only positive things to say about your company, then the time may be just right to ask them to leave you a review.
Tip #3: Pick The Right Time
Timing is vital when asking for a review, so look for signs that the client might actually have the bandwidth to do one. If they seem distracted, stressed, or busy, then refrain from adding a task to their proverbial plates. Make a note and wait. When the time comes that they seem focused, laid-back, and open, it’s the right time to ask.
Tip #4: Use The Right Method
Always personalize your request as much as possible. Engaging with clients one-on-one while asking for reviews generates better results than sending out a mass email. While a form letter might seem like the more efficient method at first, most people don’t actually read these. For the most part, they’re actually a waste of time.
Personalization should also go much further than just putting the recipient’s name in the first line of the email. Again, the more personal the approach, the better. If one of your team members sees the client in person, then they should ask in person, or even if the closest you get to them is a video call, then ask them before the video call ends.
Tip #5: Show Your Appreciation
Once your customer has given you that glowing review you asked for, don’t forget to thank them. Remember that leaving the review took their time, and everyone has a limit to how much energy they have during the day. The fact that they used their limited resources to boost you is worthy of appreciation.
Neglecting this step can make people think twice about helping you out in the future, while explicitly thanking them will affirm their decision to leave a positive review.
Customer Reviews Grow Your Business
73 percent of shoppers use multiple channels while researching products and services online.Harvard Business Review
To convince today’s savvy consumers that your brand is the best, it will need to perform well across contexts.
That’s why you should not only pursue customer reviews, but also try to place them on as many different platforms as practicable, including Google and Facebook, as well as Yelp and TripAdvisor if applicable. In my experience, when customers give their reviews over video, it’s particularly valuable.
While acquiring a long list of positive customer reviews can take a while, the effort is more than worth it. Start boosting your business’s online profile and watch your business grow.
Take the Next Step:
Google provides guidance for small businesses on asking customers for reviews on its platform: