Reviews are a powerful marketing tool and a source of unstructured feedback. The more you collect, the easier it is to quickly identify and solve product issues and uncover patterns.
We’re all well aware of the fact that reviews are a pretty big deal. 97% of online shoppers say they’re influenced by reviews, and another 88% say that reviews are the most important factor when it comes to making a purchasing decision.
For brands, reviews are a powerful marketing tool and a source of candid feedback. The more you collect, the easier it is to quickly identify and solve product issues, uncover patterns, and pick up on the things that inspire rants and raves among customers.
Here, we’ll go over some ways that you can get customers to leave more (positive) reviews.
1. Give Customers a Reason to Care
Encourage customers to leave reviews by giving them a reason to do so. You might try offering coupons or discount codes in exchange for writing a review or participating in a survey. Or you could encourage customers to leave feedback to qualify for a drawing or giveaway.
That said, you don’t always need to give something away to make people care. Take this example from Nest with its direct, yet appealing headline. When you read the copy, you won’t find any mention of a contest or cash prize. Instead, they make a point of directly tying this small favour to a better experience with their Nest device.
Keep in mind that while offering an incentive in exchange for feedback is fair and acceptable, it is not okay to buy reviews or reward only those who share positive feedback.
2. Make it Easy for People to Share
Convenience is a big part of creating a customer experience strategy that drives results. So, naturally, if you want someone to leave a review, convenience is one of the first things you’ll want to think about before you start asking for feedback.
Amazon, of course, is the shining example here, providing star ratings with unstructured feedback, along with the ability to sort comments by sentiment or search for specific keywords.
Now, we don’t all have the resources or the reach that Amazon does, but there are a few things you can do to make collecting feedback a bit easier.
- Add calls-to-action on confirmation pages, in follow-up emails, and product pages.
- Use a Simple Rating Function.
- Highlight Multiple Places to Share Feedback.
In this example, customers get a clear CTA, specifically sending them to review their hotel experience on TripAdvisor.
3. Allow Customers to Remain Anonymous
Oftentimes people might not mind leaving reviews, but don’t want to publish public-facing posts under their real name.
While Google and others have moved away from this approach, letting customers know that you won’t publish their information may make them more likely to share their thoughts. While we get the sentiment behind the “trust network” idea, not everyone wants to be a public brand advocate.
While reviewers are at the mercy of the third-party platforms they use, you might want to make a point of allowing customers to post directly on your site with a custom user name or ask for feedback via email.
4. Claim Listings on All Relevant Channels
Building on this idea of making things easier for your users, you’ll want to make sure that you claim accounts on any channel where someone might want to review your brand.
To maximize your reach, register with any platforms where you’re eligible for reviews like Facebook, Yelp, Google My Business, and Trustpilot. If you sell on Amazon, claim your page there, too.
Additionally, make sure you don’t forget about niche sites for your industry.
Once you’ve set up your business on these various channels, let website visitors know about it. Just making a mention like “we’re now on Trustpilot” can encourage users to pop-by and leave a review.
5. Make the Ask
Another stat we run into all the time is that 70% of people say they’re willing to write a review after a purchase. But just because someone is willing to do something doesn’t mean they’ll be proactive about it.
You’ll also need to think about how you ask for help. Be polite and make sure your message aligns with your brand’s voice.
A few ideas:
- Would you mind taking the time to leave feedback?
- We would love it if you shared your thoughts.
- Tell us about your experience.
- How did you like your purchase?
If emailing your “ask” use the following best practices:
- Make sure the email comes from a real person (ie, [email protected] vs. [email protected]). Bonus points if the email comes from someone that the customer has worked with before.
- Write the email as a personal request from the sender.
- Keep the CTA simple. A button that links to the review site works like a charm here.
- Stick to plain text emails, as they feel more personal.
- Make sure you followup with an automated seqeuence to increase review completion rate.
6. Ask for Feedback at the Right Moments
Collecting feedback also depends on timing.
Asking at the wrong time could really rub the customer the wrong way. If that happens, they might write a review, but it probably won’t be a glowing five-star comment.
Instead, make a point of asking for feedback at specific touchpoints where customers are likely to be satisfied. Often, these points involve some sort of trigger action, which could include any of the following:
- After they’ve referred another customer to your business.
- After making a repeat purchase or reorder.
- After demonstrating success using your product/service.
- After following or tagging your brand on social media.
- If you notice they’ve been spending time looking at multiple pages.
These actions signal that the customer is pleased enough to continue interacting with your brand, and they’re probably satisfied enough to leave you a positive review if you ask.
With that in mind, make sure that you avoid asking for feedback at the wrong moment. This includes asking for feedback when a new visitor arrives to your website.
7. Publish All Reviews
As mentioned, your reviews function as a marketing tool and volume matters. The idea here is to keep the momentum going by inspiring other users to share their experience or join in the conversation.
As such, make sure you publish all reviews—good, bad, questionable—all of them. Consider adding testimonials to your website or even on social media.
You might try something like what clothing brand Everlane has done here and turn positive reviews into an Instagram campaign.
This example might prompt other people to comment on the post or share something themselves.
And while we get that positive reviews are better material for your social media presence, keeping negative reviews around isn’t always a bad thing. According to the Harvard Business Review, businesses that kept their negative reviews online and made an effort to respond actually improved their overall ratings.
8. Respond to Reviews
According to BrightLocal, 89% of consumers read business’ responses to online reviews.
This means that people are watching, and choosing to ignore customer reviews can mean big trouble for your brand. It sends a message to prospective customers that you don’t care.
Here’s the thing: customers are people. They like to feel validated and be acknowledged. As such, if they leave a negative review, they expect a response. People that complain on social media expect a resolution right away.
Make sure that you approach the situation in a positive manner. One approach is to ask what you can do to improve the situation. And be sure to close the loop after your attempt to make things right.
You’ll also want to respond to positive reviews, too. Make sure you thank them for their positive feedback, so they feel appreciated.
So, how do responses breed more reviews? Well, for starters, it proves that you’re listening to your audience. They’ll feel that whether they leave a complaint or a compliment, their voice will matter.
9. Respond to Customer Demands
According to Microsoft’s 2017 State of Customer Service report, 77% of customers have a favourable view of brands that actively ask for customer feedback—though only 68% of people believe that brands do anything with the feedback they receive.
You might put in a ton of effort creating hyper-specific buyer personas or pouring over analytics from Google Ads or Facebook. But what’s the point of “knowing your customer” if you don’t use the information they give you as a way to improve? Customer feedback often provides the why behind the score and guides how to move a metric in the right direction.
As brands assess the customer journey and identify specific points where they can make improvements, more and more companies will recognize that responding to reviews helps eliminate the guesswork otherwise involved in learning to satisfy customers.
10. Encourage Unstructured Responses
Even just a single comment can offer up four, five, or more insights about one touchpoint in the buyer’s journey.
The customer is telling you in their own words what matters to them, which is more powerful than a multiple question survey. A multiple-choice survey, no matter how well-designed, open up the risk of question bias.
You end up trying to second guess what’s important to the customer rather than the customer telling you in their own words what matters.
In contrast, if you’re looking at the types of reviews, you might find on IOS or Android App store, Amazon, or G2. Reviews provide the potential to pull insights on multiple topics at once. One review response might contain 3-5 topics with differing levels of sentiment. To achieve these results from a survey might otherwise require 20+ questions and a 10+ minute time investment. Such a time commitment will inevitably decrease the number of customers who finish the survey.
Structured data is useful for gathering demographic information or other statistical data with an assigned value—think customer satisfaction scores, average deal size, customer lifetime value, and so on.
However, you need unstructured data to uncover more about the actual people who use your business. What do people say on social media? How do they respond to email marketing campaigns? Which issues keep coming up in support tickets?
Unstructured data allows you to get to know your customers. It provides context for numeric ratings, the “why” behind their reactions, and a sense of how brands can make things better.
When your brand has access to a deep pool of reviews, mentions, support requests, and survey feedback, you’ll develop a complete picture of what needs to happen in order to boost customer satisfaction rates—and by extension, your ROI.
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