How to Ask Customers for Reviews

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Did you know that 92% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase? In fact, 88% of consumers say that reviews play a big part in influencing their decision to buy a product or not.

It’s well known that social proof drives conversions. If your friends are raving about something, you trust them enough to take a chance on it yourself. It’s the same when it comes to user reviews – they might be written by strangers, but 84% of people trust them just as much as if the recommendation had come from a close friend.

 

This isn’t the only advantage of online reviews, though. They also help to increase your ranking and build your credibility – two things that are central to healthy conversions and good business growth.

Because you’ve found your way to this article, there’s a good chance you already know this. But maybe you’re not sure how to start collecting your own user reviews, or where to display them.

In this article, we’ll cover all of this and more to help you brush up on your review etiquette. Before you know it, your user testimonials will be flowing in.

Further Reading

5 Ways to Ask Your Customers to Leave a Review

There’s no getting around it – asking your customers to leave a review can be a bit awkward. But as the old saying goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

As it turns out, the majority of users are more than happy to oblige, with 68% of consumers leaving a review after being asked to do so.

But there are a number of different ways to make this kind of request. Here are our top five recommended methods for asking customers to leave reviews:

  1. Send an email
  2. Via social media
  3. Through your website
  4. On thank you pages 
  5. Ask in person 

We’ll go through each one in detail, so you can get a good idea of which ones would be the best fit for your business.

Good to know...

Many businesses don’t just stick to one of these methods – they use a variety of strategies to make sure they don’t miss out on high-quality reviews! We’d recommend doing the same thing, so you can catch as many of those powerful testimonials as possible.

#1 Send an Email

With 80% of customer testimonials coming from email requests, the inbox is a prime place to go hunting for those all-important reviews. Most customers are used to receiving these requests, so it won’t seem strange even if you’re not quite comfortable with the idea yet.

There are a few ways to go about asking for a review via email. The most popular method is sending a request as a follow-up to a purchase. This is a tried-and-tested strategy that you’ve probably seen most of your favorite brands using. Why? Because it gets good results!

Target Review Email Example
Target invites customers to ‘help others’, and offers the option of awarding your purchase a star rating before clicking out to the actual review page. This is a clever way of starting the feedback process before the customer has even left the email.

Understandably, this approach works best for businesses that sell individual products, but that doesn’t mean email is off the cards if you provide a service rather than physical goods. You’ll just be asking customers to rate their overall experience, rather than a specific item.

In this instance, you could consider featuring some of the review questions in the body of your email, like Dropbox has done below. Not only will this engage users in the process, but it’ll also make leaving a review faster and easier.

Dropbox Review Email Example
Dropbox invites customers to rate their experience within the email. The use of a scale is particularly effective because it keeps the review process quick and straightforward.

Top Tip

Follow-up emails work best if they’re sent a day or two after your customer has purchased from or interacted with your brand. This is when you’re most likely to get an accurate insight into their experience. If you don’t receive a response, don’t be afraid to send an extra reminder a day or so later. Persistence often pays off, but be careful of sending too many – an influx of email requests might turn a positive experience into a negative one.

The follow-up isn’t the only way to use email to ask for a review – you can also send a bulk blast to your existing database. This isn’t a targeted send, more a general request for feedback based on a user’s total interaction with your brand.

It’s a good option for companies that provide software, like NordVPN. Unlike follow-ups, these tend to be one-off sends, rather than automatically generated emails that are sent in response to a purchase.

NordVPN Review Example
NordVPN keeps things short and simple to maximize responses. This is important when sending to an established database, because it can often be harder to convince these recipients to give you feedback.

Best Practices When Asking for Reviews Via Email

If you want to boost your chances of collecting reviews from your email sends, here are a few top tips to bear in mind:

  • Keep your email short, simple, and to the point – the quicker your customers can submit their review, the better. A busy and cluttered email design won’t help with this.
  • Appeal to their goodwill – everyone likes to think they’re doing a good deed. Reminding users that their review will help other customers make the right choice is a powerful motivator.
  • Make the review process as quick and easy as possible75% of customers are happy to answer between one and five questions about their experience. Consider including the first question or the star rating in the email to make the process even faster.
  • Get your subject line right – this is still an email, so getting users to open it is the first battle. Try using a question like ‘How did we do?’ or a powerful statement such as ‘We need your help!’ to increase the number of recipients opening your emails.

Further Reading

Email Marketing Best Practices – Ace your email marketing strategy with our 11 top email marketing tips.

6 Best Email Marketing Services – We take a look at the pros and cons of the 6 best email marketing providers out there, so you can choose the best platform for your business.

#2 Ask Via Social Media

In most cases, the people that follow your social media accounts are already interested in what your business does, or have purchased from you before. Employing the power of the tweet, caption, and status update is a simple tactic to mobilize your followers, and remind them to share their opinions on your products or services.

Top Tip

Social media is a great place for you to have fun with your review requests. Why not accompany them with some fun branding or witty one-liners? Your audience is already invested enough that they’re following your account, so engaging content will only help to solidify that loyalty – making them more likely to shout from the rooftops about how great you are!
Facebook Review Example
If you’ve got a big fanbase on Facebook, a short post like this could result in a ton of new reviews. It has the same impact as an email, but you won’t have to collect all of those email addresses first!
Instagram Review Example

Top Tip

You can and should make use of Instagram’s story feature. 500 million people use Instagram stories daily, and as a result, they get great engagement. They’re an easy way to regularly remind your followers to leave reviews. It’s a minimal effort on your part, but with potentially awesome returns.

#3 Use your website

It might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many businesses don’t use their website as a way to ask users to leave reviews. Think of your website as your business’s flagship store – all roads should lead back to here.

Because your website’s primary purpose is to inform potential customers about what you do and secure those conversions, many businesses choose to include a dedicated review page so that it doesn’t distract from their main message.

HiSmile Review Example
Hismile uses a Trustpilot widget on its review page. Clicking on the ‘Write a review’ CTA redirects the user to the Trustpilot site.

So how should you go about asking users to leave a review on your website? The best way is to include visible calls-to-action (CTAs). These should be clear and easy to find, so your customers can’t miss them. Make sure you put one on your testimonials page, like Hismile has done, but don’t feel limited to just this one location.

Capterra Review Example
Capterra includes a CTA in its navigation bar at the top, making it easy for users to review software products.

Top Tip

You can and should make use of Instagram’s story feature. 500 million people use Instagram stories daily, and as a result, they get great engagement. They’re an easy way to regularly remind your followers to leave reviews. It’s a minimal effort on your part, but with potentially awesome returns.

#4 Ask on Your Thank You Pages

It might seem a bit premature to ask for a review on a thank you page. Your customer has only just finalized their purchase, so surely they can’t have anything to say about it yet, can they? In fact, this is a good time to get a different kind of review – take this opportunity to ask how your customers found their overall ordering experience.

Rather than rating and reviewing a single product, this allows users to air their views on the customer experience you offer, rather than just your services. After they’ve hit that checkout button, it will still be fresh in their minds, so you can guarantee some fairly honest, hot-off-the-press insights.

ASOS App Review Example
ASOS includes a review CTA on its thank you page that leads out to a 4-question survey based around the customer’s visit and overall experience.

So how should you go about asking users to leave a review on your website? The best way is to include visible calls-to-action (CTAs). These should be clear and easy to find, so your customers can’t miss them. Make sure you put one on your testimonials page, like Hismile has done, but don’t feel limited to just this one location.

Good to know...

If you don’t want to include a review CTA on your thank you page, you can add it into a confirmation email instead. Customers expect to receive these after completing a purchase, and these emails have some of the best open rates – around 65%.

#5 Ask in Person

There’s nothing better than having a conversation with a customer who wants to wax lyrical about your business or products. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity to ask them to pen their thoughts online.

If you offer an in-person service or have a brick-and-mortar store to accompany your website, we recommend using your checkout process to get the ball rolling. More often than not, if your customer is pleased with your service, they’ll be happy to let you know.

It can be tempting to force an interaction for the sake of a review, but, trust us, it’ll feel artificial – and your customer will pick up on that. If you want an authentic response, approach them with the intention of making sure they’re satisfied with their experience. If the opportunity to ask for a review presents itself, take it, but remember that this shouldn’t always be your end goal.

It might sound strange, but in-person requests don’t always have to happen in the flesh either. If you work in a support-focused industry, why not ask over the phone? If your customer has had a positive experience, they won’t mind you asking, and they might even feel quite flattered that you want their honest opinions.

Top Tip

Speaking of phone requests, why not ask your customers for a review via text message? Similar to email, this is quick, easy, and simple to automate. SMS open rates are much higher though, averaging around 98%, so they have an increased rate of success.

Further Reading

How to Use Online Reviews to Market to Different Generations – We’ll show you some different ways to use your reviews in your marketing strategy once you’ve collected them.

Where to Ask Customers to Leave a Review

We’ve covered the how, but what about the where?

There’s a range of different places where you can ask your customers to review your business. It’s a good idea to have a full grasp of all the options available, so that when you make your request, you know where to send your prospective reviewers.

Here are some of the best locations to ask customers to leave a review for you:

  • Your website
  • Third-party review websites, such as Trustpilot 
  • Your Google My Business listing
  • Specific industry platforms
  • Social media 

Your Website

72% of consumers stated that they’d make a purchase only after reading a positive review. Having these reviews on your website, close to your products or services, acts as a trust indicator most customers put a lot of faith in, making them more likely to commit.

Of course, there’s a risk that you might find yourself displaying a number of negative reviews – but this isn’t always the threat you assume it might be. In fact, an overwhelming majority of customers (95% to be exact) get suspicious if a product doesn’t have a single negative review. We’re not saying that you should encourage them, but they have their uses.

Amazon Review Example
Amazon makes great use of its review system, allowing customers full access to them, as well as including a CTA so they can air their own thoughts on the product.

There are a variety of plugins and widgets available that you can use to collect and store reviews on your website, but be mindful of which one you choose. Adding an additional element to your site is going to increase its weight, which could affect your loading speed. The majority of add-ons aren’t too heavy, but it’s always worth double-checking this before you commit.

Third-Party Review Websites

If you opt to attach a widget to your site rather than build your own review system, chances are it’s going to link out to a third-party review website. These include big names like Trustpilot, and are reliable, trusted platforms where your customers can share their thoughts.

There are some big advantages to directing your users to these providers, whether through your website CTAs, a follow-up email, or a targeted Instagram post.

Firstly, if you’re a smaller business and you’ve never asked for reviews before, sending a third-party branded request removes some of the awkwardness around it. Plus, users are more likely to respond when it’s a reputable company they recognize that’s doing the asking.

Third-party review sites also have a bigger capacity to store a larger number of reviews, so you won’t need to worry so much about managing a growing flood of testimonials. However, you can still feature a select few on your page. Trustpilot offers a ‘trust box’ widget that allows you to share a handful of your reviews on your website, automatically updating to show the most recent entries.

Partnering with a well-known review website can also do wonders for your conversion rates. If you feature your overall rating next to your search engine listing, you could increase the number of users clicking on your website by up to 17%.

Of course, leaving your review system in someone else’s hands does carry some risks. For example, you’ll have no control over how many negative reviews are shown, and these will filter through to your website if you choose to use a widget.

Luckily, many of these providers give you the opportunity to directly respond to both good and bad reviews, meaning you can act quickly to remedy any problems. In fact, this could end up as a blessing in disguise – people are likely to spend around 49% more money at businesses that make the effort to reply to their reviews.

Your Google My Business Listing

Have you ever found yourself in a new area location, looking for somewhere to eat, but unsure where’s best to go? In those moments, Google is your best friend, giving you a rundown of all the restaurants in your vicinity.

And what usually comes alongside those listings? You guessed it – reviews.

The more reviews you have on your Google listing, the higher you’ll rank, batting back the competition and making sure your business gets the exposure it deserves. Consumers are 70% more likely to visit a business if it has a Google My Business listing, with 29% being more likely to make a purchase. This isn’t something you want to miss out on.

Google Reviews
The highest-ranking businesses not only have the highest star ratings, but they also have reviews well into the thousands, boosting their visibility.

Competition is fierce though, and you’ll have to make a real effort to direct your customers to Google in order to collect enough reviews to affect your ranking. Make use of all of your platforms to promote your listing, sharing the link across your website and social media accounts. You can also include it at the bottom of all of your email correspondence too.

Specific Industry Platforms

Generic review platforms are great ways to collect testimonials, but if you work in a particular area, directing customers to an industry-specific directory is a must.

The benefit of using these platforms is that they’re more niche than Google My Business Listings. Potential customers will be able to find you faster by heading straight to a directory that features businesses exclusively from a single industry.

However, there are some downsides to this. Featuring on a platform like this will definitely give your brand more exposure, but you’ll have to fight harder to stand out because you’ll be competing against other businesses that offer similar services to you.

Fortunately, there’s one big thing that’ll help you do just that – reviews!

Knot Review
The wedding industry is an area where directories are particularly useful. You can search for vendors in your area, with testimonials determining who comes up first, signaling that they’re a trusted brand.

Similar to Google, the more reviews you have and the higher your star rating, the more prominent your business will be in the directory. You may even be able to earn a place as a ‘featured’ brand, meaning you’ll be amongst the first businesses listed.

Encouraging customers to review you here will increase your chances of this happening. Featuring the link on your testimonials page as well as sharing it with happy customers will help to build your reputation on these platforms.

Social Media

The social media landscape is ever-changing and constantly expanding, but it’s still a prominent player in the game. Hundreds of small businesses use it as a way to attract new customers, with 68% of users heading straight to your social media page to read your reviews and get a feel for your business.

Because these platforms offer a more casual browsing experience than a formal website, the reviews listed on your page can also feel more authentic. In fact, 81% of consumers are influenced by their friends’ recommendations on Facebook, with 78% being affected directly by the posts coming from the brands themselves.

As with third-party review providers, there is an increased risk of negative reviews, but social media gives you the opportunity to respond quickly to your customers. When other users see you interacting and communicating with your reviewers, it makes them more likely to change their opinion about your brand and take a chance on your products or services.

Facebook Review Brewdog
Even bigger companies like BrewDog don’t neglect social media. Facebook allows users to ‘recommend’ a brand or not, as well as giving space for a star rating and pictures.

The best way to find customers and get new reviews is to increase your overall following. It’s good practice to link out to your social media platforms on your website and in your emails, so that it’s easy for users to find you, follow you, and leave a review with minimal effort.

How to Ask Customers For Reviews: Summary

It can feel strange asking your customers for reviews, but when it comes to boosting your reputation, rankings, and conversions, it should be a key weapon in your arsenal.

There are a few different ways to get the conversation started, and we’ve gone through our top five. Here they are again as a quick reminder:

  1. Send an email
  2. Via social media
  3. Through your website
  4. On thank you pages 
  5. Ask in person 

We recommend choosing a couple of these techniques to try out at the same time, so you have multiple ways of asking your customers to leave a review. And don’t forget to make it clear where you’d like users to post their testimonials, especially if you’re asking them in person.

It can be a daunting task, but remember – most customers are more than willing to provide a review if it will help others make the right decision. The hardest part is taking the first step, but once you’ve done that, it’ll become much easier. Before long, you’ll be watching the reviews roll in!

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