Reviews are crucial for any business. Reviews can impact your reputation, conversion rates and even how you rank in search engines. In this blog post, I’ll show you why reviews are so crucial to your success online and also give you examples of how to effectively ask customers for reviews.
What is reputation management?
Reputation management is a term used for what you do to manage the impressions people have of your business.
One way to increase your reputation is by having happy customers leave online reviews about their experiences with you so potential customers or clients can see what type of customer service you provide.
Reputation management is not only about how you manage negative reviews but all kind of feedback you may have received or mentions of your business or products on social media channels
One of the best ways to protect and improve your reputation online is through customer feedback on review sites like Yelp, Google My Business, business survey sites or anywhere else that people can leave feedback and you also get the chance to respond, say how much you appreciate the support and resolve any issues that arise.
Why asking customers for reviews is crucial for your business
Consumer reviews are a great way to earn some positive feedback that may help others make an informed decision to buy from or work with your business.
Online reviews also give you the opportunity to show them how loyal your current customer base is, which will give consumers an idea of what kind of service they can expect from your business.
Online reviews are crucial for local businesses because most people like to find out about businesses before they make a purchase and allow consumers to have a better understanding of the quality and reliability of services or products without any prior dealing with the company.
Reviews for local businesses
Reviews for small businesses are important because they help consumers decide if a business is worth visiting, either online or in-store and can be an influential factor when making purchasing decisions.
In fact, 96% of Yelp users say that they would not consider buying from an unfamiliar business if its rating was too low on the site.
Read about how local SEO can help your digital marketing here.
Benefits of getting reviews
There are many benefits to getting reviews.
- Customer reviews help give you credibility and authority online.
- They also increase your chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Customer reviews can provide social proof to show potential buyers how many other people like your products or business, which encourages them to purchase from you as well.
- Customer reviews provide you with an opportunity to fix any mistakes or issues that might arise.
- They also give you an opportunity to engage with your consumers and hear what they think about your business, products, services, etc.
- Lastly, business review websites provide a way for people to share their thoughts on the experience at your business in hopes of providing help to others looking for similar businesses around town.
How to ask for customer reviews
There are many ways and opportunities to ask customers for online reviews. These include;
- Over the phone
- Via text message
- Through your website, completed purchase page for example
- Via email (email campaign, private email, company email, email signatures)
- Social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (direct message or post)
- Specific landing pages used at customer-facing events
- On receipts/invoices
- Sign up to one of the many business review sites such as Yelp
We’ll cover many of these in this post, but remember you are not limited in how to ask for customer reviews, use your imagination and ask in a way that you and your customers are comfortable with.
If you are a little nervous about asking, remember that reviews will earn you more trust for consumers and could help your site rank higher in the search engine results!
How to ask for a review in person
Asking for a review in person might feel a little uncomfortable for some people, but it’s a great way to get quick feedback from customers.
Firstly, build rapport with your customer. It’s not all about you and your company, it’s 100% about them. Don’t just dive in after the first exchange and ask for a review. That’s a sure-fire way to annoy people.
Secondly, it’s important to remember that customers want to be heard so listen carefully to what they are saying.
Finally, at the end of your conversation, you can ask them to leave feedback for your business.
By explaining to the customer that others may find their experiences useful it will make them feel appreciated and valued which increases loyalty and increases the chance of a positive review.
You can try and ask them about what they enjoyed the most, and would they be willing to put that in writing.
It is a good idea to have some kind of card ready, with a link to your Google My Business profile, business review site or your website address where they can leave a review.
Read our post about how to claim your Google My Business listing here.
If you are dealing with people face to face then a good way to make the process as friction-free as possible is to present them with an easy way to leave feedback. For example, this could be in store on an i-pad/tablet linked to your review site of choice.
If this is the first time dealing with the customer don’t forget to ask them for their contact details so that you can follow up and ask them if you can keep in touch with them about what’s new at your company or upcoming products or offers.
You should also remember that even if customers have a pain point with your product, or have expressed dissatisfaction, you can still ask them for their thoughts. In fact, as a business, you will learn a lot by taking on board what consumers have to say about your business, good and bad.
It’s better that customers feel like they’re able to talk through their issues and provide constructive criticism.
This is a great opportunity for you as the business owner to learn about what your customers want and where, as a business, you could improve your products or services.
How to ask customers for reviews over the phone
You may find that a customer will call you to give you feedback on your company, products or services.
If they are calling to give positive feedback, thank them and then ask if they would be willing to provide a testimonial on your website or submit a review to a specific link like Google My Business, Yelp or another business review site.
Explain that you appreciate their feedback and that you love to share positive experiences with potential new customers and would they be happy to share their experience on whatever platform you prefer reviews to be left, be it website, business review site, Trustpilot, Amazon customer reviews or b2b review sites.
Be sure to have information to hand for the various platforms and ask if you can email them the details – this would an ideal chance to capture their email address too.
If they are calling with criticism or complaints about your products or services this is your chance to shine and ut the issue right, showing that your company takes their customers seriously and never for granted.
Remember they are calling with some kind of issue or in distress it’s probably not the best time to ask for a review. However, if you manage to solve the issue, a follow-up call or email may be a good time to ask for feedback.
It’s worth remembering that just because they are not satisfied with your service or product doesn’t mean you won’t get a positive review from them in the future if things improve, be patient, do the right thing for your customer and your online reputation will improve.
Why you need review templates for your business
Having review templates ready to send to customers is a crucial part of any business.
In order for your customer service team or in-house staff to be able to more efficiently answer the inevitable “How can I leave my review?” question, you need templates ready and waiting.
Review templates offer a simple way for both newbies and seasoned pros alike to handle this task with ease and at scale.
You can also automate the process. For example, you can use a mail delivery program such as Mailchimp to automatically send a link to your review funnel once a purchase has been completed.
Templates will also make it much easier to ask the right questions of your buyers to get the kind of information you want.
Examples of when to use email to ask for reviews
Asking via email is super easy and there are many opportunities to ask via email. Here are a few examples:
- When you send your customer an email with their order confirmation or shipping information, include a link to the review platform and ask them for feedback
- Occasionally check in on all of your clients on your email list and ask for long term product/service reviews
- Reach out when they’ve had positive experiences that you want them to share
- When someone has been particularly satisfied ask for a testimonial
Again, include direct links to review websites, social media business profile, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Google My Business listing, other user reviews for inspiration or any other business review sites.
How to ask for reviews in a purchase confirmation
Once a customer has made their purchase and paid for it, they will receive an order confirmation email from you.
This is the perfect time to ask them about reviewing your product or service so that they can share their experience with others who might be looking at making a similar purchase decision.
You may want to add “Please review us on one of these websites” as a text heading, with easy to follow links and instructions to the most popular review platforms.
After buyers receive their order confirmation email, it’s important that you continue to follow up with them after a few weeks or months have passed.
You may want to provide reminders of what they ordered and why reviews are so crucial for your business and others looking to buy the same products, and that others may find it helpful in their purchasing decisions.
Email order confirmation
Here is an example of how to ask for a review from customers on your email list;
You can tailor emails to all kind of industries and sectors.
For example, below is an email that an estate agent might send;
How to ask for a review after downloading a product
If your business sells downloadable products or offers free downloads as part of its marketing strategy, it’s important that you have a plan for how to ask customers for reviews after they’ve completed the download.
You could add a link on the download confirmation page or send a follow-up email with a link to your review funnel.
You could follow up later with a review after they have had the chance to digest the information.
An example of a review request you could place on a thank you page or email confirmation
Asking for reviews on your website
Asking for reviews on your website is a great way to get reviews.
Include an easy-to-find button or link that says “Review Us” which will take customers to your preferred review funnel.
You might also include buttons for Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so that all platforms are covered for customers to leave feedback on their preferred social platforms.
You can tailor the buttons to returning visitors to remind them to review an existing purchase to help others with future purchase decisions or for new visitors for feedback on a new product or website function.
Asking for a Facebook review
Facebook is the world’s largest social media network, with features to help business owners. Collecting and displaying online reviews are one of the many features available.
To start collecting reviews you’ll first need to add the “Write a Review” button to your Facebook page.
- The first steps are to log in to your business page with an administrator account.
- Click the button labelled “Settings” on your business page.
- On the left-hand side, click “Edit Page.”
- In order to add the Review tab, scroll down to the bottom and click on “Add Tab.”
- Once you’ve chosen the Review tab, go to edit settings by clicking on it.
- Here is where you’ll find your direct link for customers to leave reviews.
Benefits of Facebook reviews
Now you know how to get FB reviews, but do you know why they are important? FB reviews, like reviews from many other third-party sources, are extremely valuable. They can:
- Getting more reviews increases to trust for your business and strengthens social media marketing.
- Maintaining consistency in your online reputation is key- if you have a high score on Trip Advisor but no reviews on FB, it may make customers question how transparent and trustworthy your business is.
- Improve visibility in Google – Facebook reviews will appear under your Facebook Business listing in the SERPs and build customer trust, even if you don’t have many reviews.
How not to ask for online reviews
Apart from the obvious and being rude, there are ways to NOT ask for reviews that you probably never realised.
If you ask for a review in the middle of an email they are likely to skim past that and forget it, better to wait until the end of the email.
Other ways to avoid asking for online reviews are by being too generic. For example, “would you review our service?”
This is a vague and generic request that doesn’t give your customer any context about what they would be reviewing or steer them in any direction.
They also don’t know why they should share their opinion or how the review will help them in any way. In other words, it’s an ineffective method of asking for any kind of review or feedback.
5 Benefits of asking for reviews
There are many benefits to asking for online reviews including but not limited to:
- Increased trust for the business and website. If a customer sees that other people have reviewed your service or product they are more likely to give you their own review. It becomes easier for them when they can see what others think of it first hand from reading reviews on your site or by clicking through social.
- Higher conversion rates. Showing your reviews at the key stages of a buyers journey can be the difference between a sale or a bounce.
- Make customers feel involved, especially true in a beta product stage as you are showing that you value their opinion and giving them a say in your final product.
- Constantly improve your products and services. Using genuine feedback can help you shape your future products or improve the customer journey to keep you ahead of your competitors and retain as many loyal clients as possible.
- Higher ranking in Google searches. Reviews are one of the most powerful tools for growing your business. It can help to boost authority, reputation and traffic quality. With this in mind, we cannot overlook how reviews can positively affect a business’s SEO and rankings.
How to ask for reviews on specific review websites
You may think you can ask for reviews anywhere, but that’s not always the case.
Each review website has its own set of rules about what is and isn’t allowed when asking for a review, which means you’ll want to be careful with your approach depending on where you plan to host your content.
Be sure to follow each of the business review site rules or risk being removed from their platform and losing years of well-earned reviews.
You can find information about how each platform handles the respective customer reviews websites.
When is the best moment to ask for reviews?
The best time to ask for a review is straight after the purchase. This will give you a review from someone who has just experienced your products or services for themselves and ideally, they’ll be excited about what they’ve just purchased or experienced.
It’s also worth asking again later to see if there were any issues with delivery or quality of goods that might have been missed earlier.
More examples of when to ask;
- After providing a quote
- A check-up
- A free trial period or introductory offer
- As the customer leaves a store
- If the customer has had a successful experience with your products or services
- You can also include review requests on invoices and receipts, in some cases.
- Some companies even send handwritten thank you cards to customers who have made purchases after receiving excellent service from the company’s employees.
Customer lifecycle and reviews
The customer lifecycle is a process that includes becoming aware of the product, making an initial purchase, and potentially becoming the company’s new long-term customer. There are five stages: Reach, Acquisition, Conversion, Retention and Loyalty.
Having online business reviews can help at various stages of the lifecycle.
- Reach: Potential customers might not know about the company before browsing reviews.
- Acquisition: Positive reviews can encourage purchasing decisions and increase customer satisfaction with the purchase process.
- Conversion: If conversion rates are low, positive product ratings may motivate a potential buyer to convert by boosting confidence in purchasing from that seller.
- Retention: Reviews can help to reduce customer churn by improving satisfaction rates or highlighting potential areas for improvement that are important to certain segments of customers.
- Loyalty: Positive reviews also impact loyalty, as they may encourage repeat purchases from existing loyal buyers by building trust with customers and strengthening the relationship.
Reviewing the product or the company
Customers can leave reviews for products, or they can leave reviews for companies.
Company reviews are also called business reviews. Business owners should be asking their customers to review the company too!
While product reviews help people make informed buying decisions, business reviews help people make informed decisions about the company they are buying from.
Some people want to know that their money supports a good cause or a company with good ethics.
Some people want to know if they’re going to be getting a quality product.
Some people just need reassurance that the company is doing what it says it’s doing and will deliver on time.
These are all reasons why business reviews exist, to help potential customers make informed decisions based on feedback from previous clients.
Incentivising customer reviews
Personally, I think offering an incentive for reviews is generally not a good idea, because you’re swaying the opinion of your customer.
However, there are some ways to incentivise reviews without giving away something that is valuable or potentially helpful in their experience with your business.
A good and ethical incentive would be to offer a donation to a charity for a review, creating social good through user reviews.
Another ethical way to incentivize reviews would be in exchange for a link from your website the reviewer’s website or a simple shoutout on social media about the product or company.
This is also a great way to foster new relationships and connections with people in your niche without giving away anything you don’t want to just yet.
Donating money for reviews, however, could be considered unethical because it can cause small companies who can’t afford donations as an incentive to not have their voice heard.
Top 10 customer review sites your business should prioritise
More than 93% of consumers take online reviews into account when making their purchase decisions. Businesses are told to get more reviews on review websites to keep attracting new customers.
The infographic of the Top 10 Customer Review Sites was created by Heidi Abramyk, a marketing expert, and the author of the book, The Top 10 Reviews of the World’s Top 10 Review Sites. Get your job done quickly without breaking the bank using the infographic. Use the infographic to help you find the top 10 review sites in the world.
Google My Business
Google’s Pigeon algorithm update uses distance and location ranking parameters to deliver improved local search results.
Google My Business is the single most crucial review and listing tool for local businesses.
Getting reviews, comments, pictures, and so on, especially on Google, can give you a boost in search.
Google Maps pulls that information and those reviews into the app, so having a lot of content in there will make your business look more reputable. Only verified local Google pages can respond to reviews.
Vouchedfor is home to the UK’s most trusted advisers and reviews, whether you’re looking for a mortgage adviser, legal adviser, accountant or financial adviser.
Reviews on Vouchedfor are 100% verified – meaning they have been written by people who know the business in question and can give their honest opinion. On each review page, there is also contact information so that businesses can respond to any feedback raised.
Better Business Bureau (North America only)
The Better Business Bureau is an ethical marketplace that allows individuals to recommend businesses. The BBB rates businesses on a grading scale from A+ to F based on several factors. The accreditation process guarantees that a business makes a good-faith effort to resolve customer complaints and respond to inquiries. With accreditation (and its fee), you get increased exposure online, access to workshops and webinars, and much more.
Best Business Review Sites
The best B2C review sites are important for businesses that sell to consumers. Focus on the sites applicable to your industry so you can reap the benefits when buyers use them to make informed decisions.
Angie’s List (United States)
Angie’s List is regarded as one of the most credible business review sites, being early to offer business listings. Reviews cannot be from anonymous sources on Angie s List, which adds to the credibility of the evaluations posted there. The site also acts as an intermediary between customers and businesses, specifically with conflict resolution.
Foursquare started as a social network in 2009 that let users “check-in” at different locations and businesses. Users can also leave reviews and ratings for other customers when they visit. Signing up for Foursquare for Business lets you access user analytics, add your own tips and offer customer rewards. The network has a database of 75 million businesses around the world that helps people find what they want on the go. If your business depends on walk-in foot traffic, make sure your profile is filled out and updated.
Manta (U.S Only)
Manta is a small business directory that helps local American businesses connect with consumers and each other. Business owners can claim and customize their page to improve online visibility and marketability. Users can search from millions of businesses, and registered users can leave star ratings and write reviews. Manta also offers marketing packages so you can claim your business listing and promote your brand elsewhere. It’s focused on small businesses, too, so you may already have a listing there without even knowing about it.
HomeAdvisor (U.S Only)
All reviews placed on HomeAdvisor go through an extensive screening process and are verified by the site’s moderators. This site is similar to Angie’s List in that it helps customers find and review professionals for home improvement projects. If you operate a home improvement business or provide services to homeowners, listing your services on local business review websites can positively impact your business and help you get new customers. If you are a professional, you can connect with people in your area who are using the site to locate a specific service.
Glassdoor users can search reviews and ratings of more than 700,000 businesses around the world. Employees can also share what it is like to work for a company on Glassdoor. Glassdoor has 30 million users with reviews of 540,000 companies. Employers use it to build their employment brand so they can target and recruit candidates, but you can also use the reviews to share ideas internally for improvement among your management team. The site shows visitors which companies are rated highest by their employees.
Facebook is a social networking platform where users can create profiles, upload photos and videos, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and follow their favourite businesses and brands.
Companies can create business profiles that users can follow and also leave business reviews based on their experience with the company. Facebook is becoming a popular review resource due to the sheer size of the user base, it is gaining momentum towards being one of the most popular business review sites.
Businesses should take note of the big wins and big mistakes that a business can experience when opening themselves up to social media.
Trustpilot is an online review site that gathers feedback from customers and aggregates it to show the reviews of a particular company. You can read reviews, write reviews and find companies listed. You can find reviews about a company or product before buying it.
The review system is based on reviews that are publicly available, so you know immediately what people think of the company and how they have rated them.
The TrustScore isn’t just a simple average of all reviews. It’s based on multiple factors like the age and number of reviews.
Whether or not a business actively asks customers to write reviews also impacts TrustScore.
OpenTable is a restaurant-specific business directory designed to show users the best eats in their area. Restaurants receive a star rating on OpenTable based on the number of reviews and the percentage of people who recommend the restaurant.
Customers give ratings based on food, ambience, service, value, and noise that are all averaged into a rating out of five stars. The higher the review rating, the better a restaurant’s credibility and online reputation.
To get your restaurant on the site, sign up on the OpenTable for Restaurants page.
Yelp is one of the top review sites and an important place to encourage potential customers to do business with you.
A Yelp listing can help businesses manage their online credibility and reputation. Yelp trains small businesses how to respond to business reviews, host social events for Yelpers (a.k.a. Yelp reviewers) and provides data about businesses including health inspection scores (Yelp.com) Yelp profile information contains things like store hours and location information, so your profile will often turn up when people Google your business.
TripAdvisor is the largest travel site in the world. It has over 225 million reviews, opinions, and photos taken by travellers.
Businesses in the travel, hotel, airline, entertainment, or restaurant industries can post reviews on the site.
The key to a successful profile is making it as close to the top of their popularity index as possible. The popularity ranking algorithm is based on three key components: quantity, quality, and recency of reviews. Users can also book rooms, find flights, discover to do and reserve tables at participating restaurants.
You can get a free business listing on Yellow Pages which enables businesses to manage the reviews placed on the site about their company.
Yellow Pages has transitioned from paper to digital and is now supporting businesses online with local marketing and reviews.
The Yellow Pages probably has the largest directory of businesses in the world, covering millions of companies and hundreds — or even thousands — of industries.
The yellow pages are no longer the heavyweight driver of new customers the way they were decades ago when print books ruled, but make sure to claim your business there.
Which? is an independent not-for-profit UK-based consumer review site that reviews services and products and then writes and shares the reviews.
Unlike Angie’s List, it’s the folks at Which? who write the reviews — not the customers.
The website has product reviews for everything from dishwashers and tablets to cars and credit cards.
Above all, provide a great experience for positive reviews
Asking for reviews can feel like a lot of work, and for your customers, it might feel like you’re just asking for more, right when they have just handed over cash for a product.
You want them to be able to leave reviews without feeling too much pressure or frustration. The best thing you can do is provide an experience that’s so good they want to tell everyone about it!
You’d be surprised just how willing people are to leave reviews if you make the process easy and have given them a good reason to want to leave a review in the first place.