Online reviews have never been more prevalent than they are today. Just take one look at the popularity of review websites such as TripAdvisor, Amazon and Which?, and you’ll see that their influence is immense. There’s no denying that online reviews are an important part of the modern customer journey.
Naturally, every business wants good reviews, and fears bad ones but there’s no escaping that reviews are important to your business because most consumers today rely on them when deciding whether to make a purchase.
In fact, over 50% of customers say that online reviews factor into their decision to make a purchase and 84% of customers say they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. So, love them or hate them, every business that wants to be successful needs to learn how to solicit reviews.
To help you better understand what reviews can do for your company and how you can improve the number and quality of online reviews, we’ve put together a practical guide to help you create a winning customer review strategy with proven ways of how your business can increase the number of customer reviews it receives.
If your business is ready to generate high-quality reviews, read on for our list of ten proven ways to get reviews for your business.
Why Online Reviews Are Important
Online reviews provide potential customers with a lot of important information about your business from trusted sources – that is, other customers!
The truth is, while your salespeople and marketing team are important, some of the best advocates for your business are other customers. Prospective customers find your other customers’ reviews to be credible, unbiased, and useful in making their purchasing decisions.
According to research, 85% of consumers broadly trust online reviews, indicating that reviews add credibility to your business in the eyes of consumers.
Why Asking For Reviews Can Be Awkward!
Most businesses recognise that good reviews are useful and important, but still feel uncomfortable asking customers for them. Businesses often do not want to be seen as opportunistic or feel that they are annoying their customers by soliciting reviews.
However, the truth is that asking for reviews is unlikely to be a bother to customers. Most love giving their opinion and feedback about their experience with your business. Asking for their reviews shows that you care about their experience.
That said, do take care with how you ask for customer reviews. Always make sure a transaction is fully complete, with any outstanding customer issues resolved, prior to sending an email, text message, or social media message asking your customer for a review.
Not only is this the professional way to conduct review solicitations, but it will also benefit your business, because a customer who is satisfied and has no outstanding issues following a transaction is more likely to provide a fair and positive review of your business.
To take the awkwardness out of asking for reviews, you can put automated systems into place using eDesk Feedback, where customers are only asked to leave a review once all transactions have been completed.
10 Ways To Get More Online Reviews
Now that we’ve discussed why online reviews are important and how to ask for them in ways that are professional, here’s our list of the top ten ways that you can maximise the quantity and quality of the reviews your business receives.
1. Make It Easy For Customers To Review
As a customer, would you leave a review about your experience with a business if the business made you jump through hoops to do so? The likelihood is low, especially if your review was a positive one. This is important, as customers are 21 percent more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than a positive one.
The easier you make it for people to leave reviews, the more reviews you’ll get. Don’t make people navigate multiple pages or cumbersome login pages to leave a review. The lower the barrier and the shorter amount of time it takes for someone to leave a review, the more likely they will be to do so.
As a business owner, you must put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about how you can make leaving reviews easy and convenient for them. Once you do, you’ll find you get many more reviews, especially positive ones.
2. Follow Up With Email
After a sales transaction has been completed, it’s a good time to send an automated email following up with the customer and asking them to share a review. Many companies take this approach, asking for reviews from customers right when the experience is still fresh in their minds.
That said, you can also run an email campaign that reaches out to a large number of recent previous customers at once, asking them to review their experience with your business.
An email campaign can target every customer for the past month or two, for example, but try to keep it recent! Reaching out to customers who transacted with you more than a few months ago can be awkward and come out of nowhere.
It’s a good idea to also make sure that the emails you send asking for reviews are simple and easy to respond to. As mentioned in point one, you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to leave reviews.
3. Leverage Customer Happiness
Happy customers are often willing to shout about their experiences, with surveys finding that 87% of customers will tell their friends and family members about a good shopping experience with a company.
Why not leverage those positive feelings by encouraging your customers to go beyond just telling friends and family and telling the world by leaving an online review. When a customer is happy, it’s a good time to encourage them to share their experiences by leaving a review for others to see.
For example, if a customer service representative has a positive conversation with a satisfied customer, this presents a good opportunity to ask that customer to share a review and give them an easy way to do so right then and there.
4. Use Retargeting Campaigns
In addition to reaching out to your customers directly and asking them to leave a review, you can also leverage the power of online advertising by using retargeting to get your customers’ attention.
Retargeting works when you run digital ad campaigns on Google or social media websites like Facebook or Twitter, specifically targeting your own customers, rather than the public at large.
In reaching your own customers on the websites they visit the most, you’ll be able to engage with them, grab their attention, and hopefully convince them to easily click through and leave a review for your company, as your business is a brand they’re already familiar with.
Unlike email marketing, retargeting requires an advertising budget so it’s not free, however, it is important to bear in mind that retargeting is one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising and it can be very effective as well.
5. Use In-App Review Prompts
If your business sells products or services using an app, in-app prompts can be one of the most powerful tools in your toolkit.
In-app prompts are the messages that pop up within an app, giving customers useful perks like offering discount codes and, you’ve guessed it, asking for reviews.
Companies like Uber and Deliveroo use in-app messages to ask their customers to review their experiences straight after a transaction has been completed within the app.
This is an opportune time to get your customer to leave a review, as the experience is fresh in their minds right at that moment.
6. Ask For Reviews On Social Media
Today, most companies and brands have social media presence in the form of engaged followers on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok accounts.
If you’ve built a strong presence with numerous followers on social media, then using your social media channels to ask for reviews is a good idea, because you’ll be able to reach mass audiences and chances are high that those who follow your company on social media do so because they have had a positive experience with your brand.
These engaged, happy social media followers are likely to be willing to leave positive reviews.
7. Use A Third-Party Reviews Service
Did you know that 91% of customers between the ages of 18 to 34 say they trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations?
The power of online reviews is huge, but there’s also concern about the existence of ‘fake’ reviews where unscrupulous business owners hire people to pose as genuine customers and write positive reviews.
Such illegitimate actions cause harm across the industry and can cause consumers to lose confidence in the reviews they read.
A great way for your brand to overcome any scepticism about customer reviews is by using a third-party review service, such as TrustPilot, which handles customer reviews by verifying that the customer leaving the review is someone who has purchased a product or service with that particular business.
Such third-party review services are useful in building credibility for your business by assuring your customers that each review is genuine. When you partner with a third-party review service, they will also automatically reach out to each customer following a transaction to encourage the customer to leave a verified review. This is very useful in that the service takes care of doing the reviews solicitation for you!
8. Offer Rewards For Reviews
Everyone loves to be rewarded for their efforts. Customers often don’t leave a review because they don’t have the time to do so. By offering them a reward, such as a discount code on future purchases, for a review, you can show your customers that you care about both their feedback and their valuable time.
Offering rewards needn’t be costly either. Vouchers, discounts, or even donating a small amount of money to charity for every review can be a small investment that yields a big return by resulting in a sizable number of reviews.
9. Respond To Every Review
When customers leave reviews, it’s because they want to be heard. Whether the review is good or bad, they want to know that someone at the business on the other side of the review is paying attention.
You can show your customers that reviews are important to your business by leaving replies to every review. If the review is favourable, you can simply reply by thanking the customer for sharing the review and thanking them for their business.
Should the review be a negative one, you can reply by showing regret, asking for more information to see how you can rectify the situation. This shows customers that your business takes customer feedback seriously and wants to improve.
If new customers can see that prior customers’ reviews matter to your business, they’ll be more likely to leave their own reviews.
10. Share Positive Customer Reviews
When you receive positive reviews from customers, highlight them! It’s a good idea to share positive reviews from customers because this shows prospective customers that they are also likely to have a positive experience buying from you.
Reviews websites like Google, TripAdvisor and Yelp allow businesses to mark reviews as ‘helpful’, and those will be the reviews prospective customers see first when they look for online reviews of your business on those sites. You can take advantage of this to highlight your best customer reviews.
Additionally, you can use customer quotes in your own email and social media marketing activities. For example, your marketing emails can include quotes from satisfied customers, or you can design Instagram posts with these quotes.
Doing this not only presents your brand in a positive light to your followers but showcasing customer reviews is also a powerful way to encourage other customers to leave their own reviews.
Reviews give your business a competitive advantage! As you can see, collecting reviews is important for a number of reasons, including building your brand reputation and as part of your customer acquisition strategy.
Given that today’s customers turn to reviews before they make purchasing decisions, ensuring that you have a good number of reviews available will strengthen the bottom of your marketing funnel.
Having a strong number of reviews will also help your business stand out from the competition, both in terms of credibility and SEO. By employing the tactics above to increase the number of reviews, you’ll improve your brand positioning and begin to increase your competitive advantage quickly.
eDesk is the only eCommerce helpdesk software that includes review automation for Amazon, eBay, Trustpilot and Google My Business. Book a demo to learn more or try it FREE for 14 days (no credit card needed).