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How to Ask Customers for Reviews: 10 Effective Strategies to Boost Your Online Reputation

Online reviews can make or break your business model. Even local companies need some feedback for others to feel secure about buying from them. Reviews show that others have had excellent experiences and gotten what they paid for.

People may have fallen victim to scams on social media, ordered items that weren’t all they were touted to be or been unable to return faulty goods. Your job is to boost your online reputation so they know they can trust you to abide by your word.

1. Counteract the Negative

Retail Dive made some predictions for online sales in 2024. They found 42% of United States shoppers plan to spend more online in the next year. One of the first things most digital shoppers do is check out what others have to say about a product or service.

Sites like Facebook have become prolific in the number of spam notices and fake reviews. Users get a notice that they are in violation of something, such as copyright. The messages originally showed up in Messenger but now are being posted as a “do not recommend” on business review pages.

Such scam messages are frustrating because they can’t be removed by the business owner. While you can block the person from posting anything further, only Facebook can remove the message and they are impossible to contact. Meanwhile, your business appears to have low reviews.

You have to counteract the negative by encouraging your customers to post positive reviews and report the fake ones.

2. Ask for Feedback

Customer reviews aren’t something people think about. Add a message to your drip campaign after purchase with a link to your review site of choice.

You should never tell people how to rate you. Simply explain how reviews help your brand and why you’re seeking them. It’s okay to say that a five-star review enhances your public image. It isn’t okay to tell the user to leave a five-star review. In fact, some sites have a terms of service (TOS) agreement that prohibits paying for or seeking specific reviews.

Make sure you read the TOS when seeking reviews for sites such as Amazon, Facebook and Google.

3. Be Authentic

If you’re lacking reviews, it might be tempting to create some fake ones and make your business look better. It’s crucial you avoid anything that might be questionable. If your users find out you faked reviews, you risk losing them and anyone else considering trusting you with their hard-earned dollars.

In one case, a plaintiff won $9.5 million in a lawsuit against a vitamin company for false advertising via Amazon review manipulation. The company awarded customers free products for 5-star reviews but didn’t disclose the free items. They instructed reviewers to rate other items to avoid detection and had employees upvote positive reviews and downvote negative ones to make the best reviews appear near the top of the results.

If you feel a customer review is unfair, it’s okay to request its removal or respond professionally. It isn’t okay to falsely downgrade the review or seek out sponsored item reviews without disclosing the gift.

4. Make Leaving One Easy

People are busy. They don’t have time to hunt down a place to leave a review and post lengthy diatribes to your honor. What you can do that is still honest is to add a link on your site that takes them to a review page, send an email asking for reviews and provide links or collect reviews on follow-up.

The simpler it is for someone to leave a review, the more likely they will. You can even send an SMS with a link to your review site of choice.

5. Optimize for Mobile

Mobile apps will collect around $613 billion a year by 2025. The user interface can make or break the customer experience. An excellent mobile experience creates a positive impression and is more likely to generate higher rating reviews.

Make sure users can click a few buttons to leave a review via your app. You can provide some wording bubbles they select to make their task easier. Star ratings should be large enough for them to tap on a smaller screen without making the wrong selection.

Test out the process and make sure leaving a review is simple.

6. Use Your Feedback

One of the best ways to consistently improve your reviews over time is to take any feedback you’re given and utilize it to improve what you do. If someone says the shipping speed was too slow, look for ways to get orders out faster or seek a new delivery method.

While it’s natural to look only at negative feedback and fix what’s wrong, look at positive comments, too. Knowing what you’re doing right and better than others in your industry allows you to pull even further ahead and continue with the excellent experiences people have with your brand.

7. Train Your Customers

What if there was a way to get your customers in the habit of leaving reviews? Each time you make a sale, give the person a few days to try the item out and then send an email requesting they review the item for their peers.

People want to help one another out. They know they checked reviews before buying, after all. Give them a link to the product page and ask them to rank it on factors such as whether it matched the item description, fit, durability and value.

8. Choose the Right Timing

The Harvard Business Review indicates the best time to send a review request depends on your industry. If you sell something the person is likely to try fairly soon after buying, such as a food product, you may want to send the email within a day or so. However, if you sell something people must try for a bit before they know if they like it, you may want to wait a week or two.

Analysts felt sending the request sooner rather than later was the best. Try different lengths of time until you find the highest converting one.

9. Get Personal

Send the user a custom note. Use their name and details from their purchase. When people feel they matter and can help you, they’re more likely to do so. Ask them for their feedback on your site or other review sites on a specific product.

If you sell other items and have plenty of reviews on those, but are lacking feedback on a new item, this approach can get the ball rolling. As others see the comments some customers left, they’ll leave theirs.

10. Educate on the Effect

Let your loyal customers know reviews help you grow your business, bring them new products and reduce overall costs. Some people don’t realize how much reviews help build a company’s reputation.

Tell your clients how much of a revenue boost you got from a specific set of reviews, that you’ve reached new audience segments due to their feedback or how their words helped you grow better and focus on higher quality service.

Customer Reviews Build on Each Other

Collecting customer reviews takes time. Once you have a few, more eyes will see your product offers and be likely to leave comments. It’s okay to give out products in exchange for honest reviews, as long as you’re upfront about it. The reviewer should always indicate they received a free item in exchange for sharing their thoughts.

It can be difficult to crawl out of a bad reputation online. However, with forthrightness and more recent positive reviews, people may be willing to give you another chance. Put in the effort to fix issues, ask for new reviews and respond to concerns and you’ll see a boost in your scores.

 

Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.

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