Customer reviews are a vital part of an effective digital marketing strategy today. That's because today's consumers simply don't trust brands. Instead, they rely on the opinions of their peers to help guide their purchasing decisions. It's becoming more and more important to pay attention to and get proactive about monitoring your online reputation if you want to compete with others digitally.
Reviews from your customers or clients can be extremely powerful and influential. Nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase (Spiegel Research Center, 2017). Having a healthy inventory of favorable reviews is a great way to inspire trust and foster conversion on your website.
Buyers trust reviews. In fact, according to research by Deloitte, 60% of people rate reviews as equally trustworthy as information from friends and family.
A Zendesk research report noted that 88% of customers have been influenced by an online customer review when making a buying decision.
Collecting and creating outstanding customer reviews is a popular exercise we like to help our clients with. Here are some tips to streamline the process for you.
1. Build it in
The best way to ensure that you're regularly requesting and receiving customer reviews is to build it right into your core business processes. Make requesting a positive customer review a standard item for any new client engagement or customer milestone.
We like to ask our clients for reviews at critical milestones, such as 30 days into an engagement, when a new website or offer launches, or on anniversaries.
If you have the budget, many technology platforms can handle the review process for you. A plethora of tools allow you to send review invitations via text or email to your customers. Trustpilot and Grade.us are two of our favs. In addition to requesting reviews from customers, some services also allow you to track all of your reviews across multiple platforms (Facebook, Google, G2 Crowd, etc.) in one convenient place.
With a healthy roster of clients and countless outlets to post reviews, staying organized is an important part of an effective client advocacy program.
Nominate someone in your organization, usually a member of the marketing or customer success teams, to lead your company's review effort. Use a streamlined template that keeps all customer advocacy data in one place so that anyone on the team can access it at any time. Meet regularly as a team to get updates from everyone on the status of reviews, and keep your spreadsheet up-to-date.
2. Make it as easy as possible for your customers
Your customers shouldn't have to work hard to give you a good review. Making the review process as easy as possible for your customers minimizes friction and increases the likelihood of garnering positive reviews.
Be sure your business is listed in multiple places where you've determined it's important for your company to have a review presence. Not every one of your customers will have - or will have access to - Facebook, Yelp, or a Google account, so offer plenty of options to make it easy for them.
Here are some tips to make things super easy for your happy customers:
- Draft the review for them: Take a large part of the thinking out of the process for them by creating a draft of the copy you want to use. Highlight areas you think are important and contextualize the review to make it align nicely with your business goals as well as your actual relationship with your client.
- Offer to post it for them: Depending on the review site, you may actually be able to post the review yourself, on behalf of your client. Just make sure you have written permission from the client!
- Provide really simple instruction.
- Thank them for their time.
- Make it comfortable: Don't put your clients in the uncomfortable position of having to turn down a review because it's not truthful. Be transparent and honest in your writing.
- Send automated follow-up to request
Here are some additional tips for writing the review:
- Talk about a range of elements, like customer service.
- Be detailed, specific, and honest. Vague comments like "great experience" aren't particularly helpful.
- Leave out links and personal information.
- Proofread the review: Nothing kills a great review like a huge, glaring typo that no one catches until after the review is posted.
3. Ask at the right time
One key to getting great reviews on a regular basis is to get into the habit of asking the right customers at the right time. Almost every customer relationship has its ups and downs, so you'll want to be sure to ask after your customer has received some perceived value from you.
Some common examples of great times to ask for reviews include:
- After a major milestone or deliverable - like a website launch, trade show, CRM migration, etc.
- After they've provided unsolicited positive feedback
Add a task to your project management system or mark your calendar as a reminder to ask for a review at an opportune time.
4. Provide an outstanding customer experience
The single best tactic for obtaining favorable customer reviews is to provide an exceptional customer experience.
Happy customers help you grow your business in other ways, too. One American Express survey found that happy customers tell an average of nine people about their experience.
Example Customer Review Request
Here is a simple example of a request for customer reviews that nearly any business can use:
Hi [First Name],
I just noticed that you (renewed your contract/bought another product/hit a milestone). Thrilled that you’re getting value from (your business)!
If it’s not too much trouble, I have a quick request: Could you please leave an honest review on (Yelp/TripAdvisor/Google Places/their blog/etc.)? Here’s a link.
Even a sentence or two would be hugely appreciated. If it helps us get more awesome customers like you, it’ll let us keep making (your business) better for you.
Thanks in advance for your time, and please don't hesitate to reach out if you should have any questions.
No matter your industry, prospects are more likely to trust their peers than marketing messages from your company. Therefore, customer reviews should be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy today. Your prospects are actively searching for reviews to help them make their purchasing decisions.
Using the above tips, getting customer reviews doesn't have to be a time-consuming or difficult process. And, above all, just focus on providing an excellent client experience - satisfied customers will be glad to share their experience working with you.