Good customer reviews keep your business’s doors open. When you’re trying to grow your business, you need good word of mouth to bring more customers into the shop, and once you’re established as a business you need to maintain a relatively positive ratio of good to negative reviews online in order to keep customers coming in.
But obtaining those reviews can feel like pulling teeth sometimes. Customers are often far more motivated to leave a negative review than a positive one. It would take an intensely positive experience - rather than just a satisfying experience - to motivate most customers to write up a review of your business unprompted. That doesn’t mean customers aren’t willing to write reviews - it’s just not a priority for most of them. A company that takes the time to thoughtfully ask customers for review, and makes it easy for them to do so, can position itself to receive a steady stream of thorough, and hopefully positive, feedback.
Ask customers after they shop
When customers show up in your store, go through the process of shopping and get rung up, take that opportunity for customer interaction to ask them to leave you a review. You don’t necessarily want to phrase it that way - try inviting them to leave online feedback, instead. But by inviting them rather than asking them, they feel like they’re being given a choice rather than an imposition. By calling it feedback instead of a review, you don’t make them feel like they’re being pressured to compliment you and instead make them feel like they’ve been encouraged to share openly what their experience was.
Customers aren’t opposed to leaving reviews, and a customer who’s made to feel like their opinion of the experience matters might review your business more favorably. By reaching out and asking for a review, you exponentially increase the chances that you’ll get one than if you just hoped they would leave one themselves.
Although a word-of-mouth request may inspire some customers to action, most will forget if they cannot complete the form immediately. An email request sent a few hours or days after the purchase will have the most impact, since customers can easily find it in their inbox and fill it out whenever is convenient for themm, just like applying for auto loans using an auto loan calculator. Email is significantly more effective in producing a response, which means you should take the time to ask your customers for email information and then shoot them an email several days later for feedback.
Make leaving a review easy
Although customers want to help your business and leave a review, they don’t want to do work for you. That means you have to make sure the review process is clear, straightforward, easily accessible and simple to complete. Creating a profile or a login account is out of the question for most customers, as is requiring a complicated or long code to enter your review.
Instead, you should prominently feature a simple review process on your website or in your email. Give your customers a multiple choice option and a long form feedback option to briefly or elaborately describe their experience with your business. If you collect a survey, keep the questions to a minimum - no more than 2 or 3 pages of questions, or your customer will get tired and quit.
In order to make the review process simple, you should also ensure that it’s mobile friendly. Although most customers may open their email and complete a survey on a computer, more and more people use smartphones and prefer to work on the go. If they receive a survey and realize it can only be completed on a computer, they may dismiss it and forget to come back to it. A mobile-friendly survey, however, can encourage customers to quickly fill it out and complete it anytime.
When you need feedback for your business, you should take steps to ensure that the process is straightforward and easy for your customers. Feedback benefits you, not them, so you should minimize their work as much as possible. Positive reviews keep your business running, so it’s important not to underestimate the value of good feedback.
A social media marketing executive and entrepreneur, Alex has led the marketing divisions of some of the UK's leading advertising and PR firms. He specializes in usng the power of big data and business analysis to deliver actionable metrics.
As head of social media strategy, Alex is directly responsible for the customer experience and long term engagement with the brand. He believes this can only be achieved through a methodical approach to processing customer feedback and conducting A/B testing during all campaigns. This way, the marketing strategy team can grow from one campaign to the next.
Outside business, Alex is a keen videographer and music producer, living and working in Brighton, UK.