9 ways how to get more customer reviews (and 3 ways how NOT to get )

There’s no getting away from reviews in today’s world.

Customer reviews are everywhere – on social media, review websites, company websites, shopping websites and all kinds of internet forums.

Everything and anything can be evaluated –  software, movies, hotels, restaurants or health centers.

Even if you are a renowned brand with years of experience and a large fanbase, you can’t afford to ignore the power of customer reviews. 92% of consumers read online reviews and based on those, they decide what the best product to buy is, what movie to see and where to go for holidays.

Over 40% of US adults say they always check internet reviews before purchasing a product or using a service.

Because people trusts and rely on review sites so much, review sites are usually top results in the search engines and they also can have a significant impact on your website rank.  

Customer Reviews in numbers

If you think that having or not having reviews on your business don’t matter that much, here’s a couple more stats:

  • 68% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more
  • 88% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to ten reviews
  • 26% of consumers say it’s important that a local business responds to its reviews
  • 88% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 48% will visit a company’s website after reading positive reviews
  • 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decision   

But how to get customers to write those reviews?  Today’s customers, unfortunately, have a very short attention span (and too many things to do during the day) so even if they do want to share their experience, they quickly forget about it.

That’s why only one on ten customers actually do leave a review.

Companies end up assuming that their customers don’t want to write reviews which isn’t true (at least, isn’t true for the majority of customers). If you reach out to your customers, they will be happy to share their experience with you!

There are many ways to get more reviews for your business – good ones and few that are not recommended if you don’t want to get into trouble.

How to get reviews for any business?

Just ask

The easiest and the most effective way to get reviews is to ask your customers. 70% of consumers said they would leave a review for business when asked for one – but many companies don’t even do that.

They either don’t bother with reviews, don’t think it’s appropriate to ask their customers for those or don’t even know how they can do that.

One of the best and hassle-free ways to get a review is to ask your customers by using a triggered email a few days after their order is shipped. Having set triggered emails also will help you with next point.

Don’t wait too long

You have a much bigger chance for getting a review if you ask the customer shortly after a sale (for example 3-5 days) than if you ask them a month later or so (though it all depends on what kind of product or service you have).

If you ask for a review of your new product month after the purchase or later, it might turn out that the customer doesn’t really remember the purchase or is no longer happy with it.  

Have accounts on other review sites

Having a review section on just your website is nowhere near enough now. Your company must also be on other relevant for your business pages:  Yelp, Google, Facebook (make sure your account allows for posting reviews – many companies were wondering why they had no reviews on Facebook when they didn’t set permission for the reviews in the first place!) and LinkedIn.  

Of course, there’s no point in creating an account on twenty different review website – pick a few which are the most relevant for your business.

Make It Easy to Leave Reviews

Even if a customer wants to leave a review, he won’t do that if he can’t find the review page, has to make an account just to post a review or there is an error while posting the review (unless he has a very bad negative to share, then he will definitely find a find to complain!).   

That’s why before asking your customers to post a review, you have to make it as easy as possible for them to write one.

The best way to do so is to use links or banners directing visitors to your account on review websites.

And don’t put them only on your homepage or just in your social media profile – use them in your newsletters, or blog posts too!

Make your reviews visible on your website

What’s the point in asking your customers for reviews only to hide them? Making older reviews visible not only will help with conversion (92% of consumers read online reviews!) but it will also nudge new customers to leave one too.

It’s also a good idea to tell your customers where else they can post a review of your company by directing them to your Yelp profile, Google profile or by giving them a link to your social media account.

Reward the customers that did leave a review

It takes time and effort to post a review so rewarding those customers who do leave a review make them feel appreciated and happier.

Even if it’s a small thing like being entered in a sweepstake or a lottery (or even a “Thank you for your feedback comment!”)  can motivate people to leave a review.

However, you have to be very careful when offering discounts or coupons for posting a review on other websites – many of them (including Google and Yelp) forbid giving your customers an incentive like this and might remove the reviews if they suspect you “bought” the review.

Respond to all reviews

Believe it or not but responding to your customers’ reviews (even with something as simple as thanking your customer for the feedback) will get you even more of them.

Customers see replying to their review as a sign of appreciation for their time and effort and that you do value their opinion.

Same thing with “liking” customers reviews or clicking “Helpful” next to the review on Google.

Ask again

Even if the customer forgot about writing a review the first time you asked, you have plenty of ways to remind them about it.

You can add a “Leave us a review” CTA button on your website, ask on your social media account, send a reminder email or if you have a mobile app, ask there.  

Since at some point sending emails asking for reviews and reminding customers of leaving a review can become time-consuming, many companies use email marketing automation tools or review management tools.

Instead of tracking the reviews manually and sending the reminder emails themselves, all they  need to do is to schedule triggered emails and done!

Take advantage of negative reviews

There’s no way to avoid getting negative reviews. Since you can’t please all people all the time, you will get a negative review at some point. You might feel tempted to either argue with the reviewer or delete the review entirely but don’t –  bad reviews can be a great help for your business!

If a customer mentions the reason why they are unhappy, you can use the information to improve your product or your service – and to turn the unhappy client into a loyal customer.

That is, as long as make an effort to respond to the negative reviews. By replying to bad reviews (even those fake ones or the mostly exaggerated ones).

Not only you show yourself as a reliable brand (and if you fix the customers problem quickly, you can expect them to change the negative review for a more positive one), other customers (both current and future ones) also see you will be there for them when there’s a problem and you will do everything you can to help them.

Remember though that the way you respond to the customer’s complaint will influence the way your brand is seen – so keep your cool and prepare an answer first before responding to the review, the last thing you want is a fight on your business social media account.

Don’t delete negative reviews!

You might feel tempted to get rid of negative reviews and pretend you only have 5-star reviews, but customers won’t buy that.

Many customers are looking for negative reviews and are highly suspicious of companies that show only positive reviews, thinking they are either deleting negative ones (so in case they will have a problem, the company won’t bother with helping them either) or that the positive reviews are all fake.

Many companies (even the biggest ones) once tried to “fix” the problem with unhappy customers by deleting the negative comments and no, it didn’t work – it made the issue much bigger.

Taking time to reach out to the unhappy customers and solving their problems is a much better idea.

Share good customer reviews you’ve already got

To show appreciation for customers that already reviewed and inspire others to post a review too, share the positive reviews you already got on your website or social media channel.

This way not only more people will see good reviews of your business, but customers who did write a review will also be delighted to see you appreciate them.   

On many reviews sites (such as Google or TripAdvisor), site visitors can mark reviews as “helpful” (it works in the same way as “liking” posts).

Besides showing appreciation for the person who wrote the review,  you can move your best reviews to the top, where more people can read them so don’t forget to mark the reviews you got often.

Wrong ways to get reviews for any business

While searching for ways to get more reviews for your business, you might also come across people advising to use “easier and faster” methods of getting reviews – why bother with asking customers to write a review if you can buy a pack of reviews from a friendly Facebook group? Or you can write them yourself! Yeah, it’s cheating but “everyone does that”.

Bad, bad idea.

If you are caught on doing one of the three things below, you will find yourself in real trouble – your company’s reputation will plummet down (especially if Yelp will mark your account with their “Customer Alert” banner), you will lose customers (who can trust a business who has to pay for good reviews?) and you might even have to deal with legal issues.

Here are the three most popular ways in which companies try to cheat the system and why are they are not worth it.   

Paying for reviews

Buying positive reviews or “likes” seems like a fast and easy way to get good reviews – there is plenty of pages where you can buy Facebook likes Twitter followers or 5-star reviews, inexpensively (and you can purchase negative reviews to be posted on your rival page too).

However, this might quickly turn against you: many of the important review sites have a way to find out is your positive review genuine or did you pay for them.

If they see the review is bought, it is removed immediately, and you are punished – for example, Yelp posts a banner informing all people visiting the website that this company has been caught on either buying reviews or promising discounts or free products in exchange for a review.

The banner stays up for 90 days – still think it’s worth it?

Have in mind that you can get in trouble not only by buying reviews directly – offering gift cards, refunds, free products or discounts in exchange for a review are also considered as purchasing a review too and is punished in the same way.

Writing a review yourself

If you can’t buy a review pack on a website and can’t use refunds or free products to persuade people to write them for you, maybe writing them yourself be easier?

Just start a fake account and post a few great reviews about your product to boost up your score. If no one catches on, you can post another few ones, from a different account.   

You might think you are sneaky, but for review algorithm and majority of web users, it’s effortless to distinguish fake reviews from genuine ones (especially if you are careless enough to write from your company’s IP number!) – all it takes is one look at the account from which the review come from.

The same thing with asking your employees to write reviews – even if they write from their account, review pages will quickly find out they are working for the company and treat the reviews as untrustworthy.  

If a review site or a customer spots even one fake review, it can severely damage your business reputation (which customer will believe a company that has to write good reviews themselves instead of having clients who will post them?) and have you dealing with legal issues.  

Asking family and friends

Asking your friends or your relatives to write a good review of your company sounds like the easiest way and least troublesome way to get the reviews – they will happily help you by posting a great review. And since they are using their own computer and are writing for free, there’s no problem here right?  

Wrong.

Many review pages strictly forbid family members, relatives, and friends from writing reviews – simply because they are not objective.

If you ask your mom or your best friend to make a review of your business, would they write honestly and objectively?

Unlikely.

That’s why for many review pages such reviews are untrustworthy and are treated in the same way as bought reviews – removed and your account is flagged.   

Getting more customer reviews and knowing the best way to use them to get more sales might feel like a challenge but it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you know the right ways to ask your customer for them (and know which methods you should definitely avoid), you will get plenty of reviews in no time!

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