Social proof is an incredibly powerful marketing tool.
And customer reviews are one of the most common and effective methods out there.
Genuine feedback from real customers about your product or service goes a long way to boosting brand visibility and swaying prospective customers.
But asking for feedback isn’t always easy. Here’s why you should ask for customer reviews, some simple ways to do it, and where to leverage customer reviews in your marketing strategy.
Why Customer Reviews Matter
Asking for feedback or customer reviews can feel awkward. Even business owners who have been in operation for a long time still find it uncomfortable.
But reviews are important social proof that impacts your business’ success—it’s worth overcoming the fear of asking for customer feedback.
You’ve shopped online before, so you know how impactful reviews are. They’re a type of word-of-mouth marketing where you hear directly from other consumers.
Given the choice between an item with just a handful of mixed reviews versus a comparable product with hundreds of 5-star reviews, the choice is obvious.
Statistics back this up, too. One 2022 report found that:
- 89% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses.
- 78% of consumers use the internet to find out information about local businesses more than once per week.
- 77% of consumers “always” or “regularly” read online reviews when browsing for local businesses.
- 84% of consumers said reviews are “important” or “very important” in their decision to purchase from services businesses or tradespersons; this drops to 76% for food services and 50% for retail.
So, consumers are using reviews to guide decision-making. And given how positive reviews can seriously impact prospective buyers’ decision-making, you need to be thinking about them as part of your marketing and customer engagement strategy.
5 Ways To Ask For Customer Reviews
You may be tempted to take a passive approach and just let people leave a review if they wish. But it’s often people on either extreme (i.e., very happy or very unhappy) that will take the time to leave a review, which doesn’t capture the average experience.
Many consumers are willing to leave a review when prompted—57% of surveyed consumers stated they’d be “highly likely” or “likely” to leave a review if it was suggested by a staff member.
So, if you’re not asking, you may be missing reviews from a huge number of willing customers!
Here are 5 effective ways to ask for customer reviews:
1. Ask In-Person
If you’ve had a positive in-person interaction with a customer, don’t hesitate to ask them to put their feedback into a written review.
- Sample script: “I’m so glad you’re happy with your purchase! Would you be willing to put your feedback into written form on [platform]? It helps other people find out about us so we can, hopefully, provide the same great experience.”
Your employees or customer service representatives should feel comfortable asking for feedback while speaking to someone. Read the situation, keep it light and simple, and don’t push someone who doesn’t seem into it.
2. Set Up an SMS Service
A simple way to collect feedback is to request it by text message. There are many SMS services that let you set up automatic messaging. After your customer makes a purchase or receives their service from you, the text will prompt them to click a link and write a review.
Text messages are effective because they’re simple and the customer can act on it as soon as they receive the text.
- Sample text script: “Hey [Name], Thanks for coming in for [service] today! We’d be so grateful if you take one minute to leave a review for us! [Link]”
3. Include a Prompt in Your Email
This strategy is simple to implement. Add a link to your review platform in the signature so that it’s included in every outgoing company email.
You can also take a more direct, active approach by asking your customer to leave a review in the body of the email.
- Sample text: “We love hearing from you! Thanks for leaving us a review over at [platform].”
4. End Each Live Chat With a Feedback Form
Live chats are a common customer service approach and provide a natural opportunity to ask for a review. After any conversation wraps up, you can have a simple question pop up: “Are you satisfied with the services today?” and a “Yes” or “No” option.
The next step depends on what option they choose:
- YES: Link any “yes” responses to your review platform and prompt them to leave feedback.
- NO: Link “no” responses to an email address or contact form, prompting private feedback.
5. Send a Thank-You Card
Sending a handwritten thank-you note is a personal and creative way to connect with your customers. This strategy can be reserved for your “best” customers and those you know are likely to leave a positive review.
Create an attractive thank-you card from a free Canva template and then add a personal note to it. You can also include a small gift, discount code, or another token of appreciation if appropriate.
The main focus should be a genuine “thank you,” but you can also use it as a chance to request a review. Simply add a short request to leave a review with a link or instructions on how to do so.
Types of Customer Reviews and How to Use Them
When you ask a customer to leave a review, you need to be specific about where to do it and how you’ll use them.
If you’re too vague, they may not know which platform to leave a review on and give up altogether. The goal is to make it simple for them to do while aligning with your strategic marketing goals.
Here are two big-impact types of reviews to focus on.
Google My Business
Though there are many online platforms where customers can leave reviews, 88% of reviews are on just four sites: Google (73%), Yelp (6%), Facebook (3%), and Tripadvisor (3%).
It follows that Google has the most impact and should likely be your main focus.
Say a customer searches for “music lessons in Washington DC.” Google will produce the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) that features some of the music schools in the area.
Under each location are both the contact information as well as their rating and a featured review. With just a quick glance, customers will make judgments on what music schools they want to look at further.
These reviews are important for two reasons:
- Social proof: As we already covered, consumers rely on reviews to help make decisions.
- Google ranking: Better reviews equal higher Google ranking. This is particularly important for local businesses that are competing with other companies in a geographic area. The higher your ranking, the more visible your business will be.
It’s important to note that Google allows you to ask customers for a review, but you aren’t permitted to offer incentives in exchange for one. Instead, simply ask your customers with one of the above methods to make it simple and easy to leave you a review.
Besides your Google My Business page, the other focus area should be on your own website. After people find you (probably via Google), they’ll check out your website. As they’re looking around, you want them to see some social proof from other happy customers.
We love featuring Launch member testimonials on our site!
A testimonial is similar to a customer review but will be a bit longer and is typically used with permission from the person writing it.
You can use testimonials on your website in a few ways:
- Have a testimonial page. Dedicate an entire page on your website to customer testimonials. These could be written or—even more impactful—in video format.
- Include them on every page. The other option is to include testimonials throughout your page, perhaps at the bottom of each one or as divider block quotes that break up the text.
To get testimonials, you can reach out to specific customers or clients who you know will personally recommend your business. Alternatively, if you receive an email that sings your praises, reach out and ask if you can use it as a testimonial.
Customer reviews are an important part of social proof for your business. And while it may feel awkward asking for them, it doesn’t have to be.
These five simple strategies can help boost your reputation and visibility on Google and your website to bring in more customers to your company.
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