Automated marketing is by far one of the best things to happen to the marketing industry since corporate blogs. Let’s face it, there are a lot of very minor and often tedious tasks involved in marketing, particularly digital marketing where your job may include posting on five or six social media accounts and sending follow-up emails to thousands of leads and customers every day. There are dozens of possible actions to take with every customer from sending birthday greetings discount codes to answering community questions on your social media pages. For the things that can be automated, you absolutely want to do so.

The question is where to draw the line between automation and the personal touch. Some things need a personalized message from a human while others customers prefer to keep between themselves and a computer. Oddly enough, reviews are right in the middle. Customers prefer to be reminded to review through automated means like follow-up emails but they need their reviews to be responded to by a real person. So how then do you achieve the elusive positive 6-month review? By integrating your CRM into the marketing automation mix.

What Are 6-Month Reviews?

For those of you not familiar with the concept, a 6-month review is essentially the way customers can share with each other information about product longevity. That is, how long a product lasts after you buy it. The vast majority of 6-month reviews are currently negative because they only occur naturally (without prompting) when something falls apart on a customer and they feel the need to warn others that a product looks good but doesn’t last. However, if you make incredibly durable products, why not use this same technique to show off that your brand lasts longer and serves customers better than cheaply manufactured competitors.

The key is to know how to get these rare reviews which are usually updates of an unpacking-day review.

Automated Marketing Already Gets Reviews

The first place to start is where most of your reviews are already coming from. While it’s true that some customers review on the platform without prompting, most reviews come from clever automated marketing timing. The best way to automate a review-collecting follow-up email is to key it to your shipment tracking. When a package arrives, send an email about five minutes later after your customer has had a chance to open the box and be happy with the contents. At this point, with item in hand, they’re ready to give a positive review while they’re still excited about the arrival.

Keeping Track with the CRM

To turn your existing review generating automation into something that can encourage 6-month reviews as well, you’ll want your CRM and marketing automation to be integrated. When a customer buys something made to last (not food or cosmetics), make a note in their CRM profile. Every day, have your automated marketing software check the CRM for customers who have a six-month timer ending and then configure your review-requesting emails.

Remind the customer of their purchase with a picture of the item along with a link to their original order details to help jog their memory, then sincerely ask how their experience has been over the last six months. Suggest that if they have complaints, to shoot a message over to customer service who would be happy to resolve them. If they are fully happy with the item, invite them to share their experience and emphasize how important their input will be to help future customers know the difference between products that break quickly and brands you can rely on.

Building Trust with Customers

The best part about using your CRM to generate positive 6-month reviews is how much trust you can create. Customers trust each other to tell the truth about their experiences and the more of that experience is shared, the more informed your customers will be. By asking them to share information that is usually associated with negative reviews, you show confidence, invite customers to be truthful with each other, and you can even reward your 6-month reviewers without ethically questionable incentivization. Simply put another note in their CRM profile marking them as someone who is friendly and incredibly helpful to their fellow customers. Remember to both thank them publically and reward them with superb customer service.