How to request customer reviews

6 min read
Utkarsh Singh

Do you ask your friends and family for their reviews before buying a product? Everyone does. This is called a personal recommendation and it increases our chances of buying by four times. The personal recommendation has been working for businesses from time immemorial. However, when businesses operate in an online environment, these personal recommendations are often replaced by customer reviews (aka social proof).

Social proof influences not only our buying but almost every behaviour.

Do you decide which movie/series to watch on TV based on reviews and rating? Or do you watch a YouTube video based on the number of likes, views and subscribers? Yes, we all do because we do not want to end up wasting time watching something that doesn’t interest us. We first want to validate our choice.

Let’s look at five ways to ask for and get more customer reviews for your small business or online venture:

1- Ask for customer/client reviews

Many people may like your product or services but not necessarily say it unless you ask them explicitly.

But, when to ask? This is critical.

There are specific points in a customer’s journey when they are most open to such a request.

For example, when someone is reordering or mentioning you in a social media post, it means they had a positive experience with your product or service. This is the correct time to ask for a review.

You can also ask your customers later, when you think they may have used your product by then.

If you sell online software or even an online course, you can ask them when they’ve completed a certain percentage of the course.

Related: Now is a good time to start a customer loyalty program

2- Reach them where they are

Almost everyone is now on Facebook and spend a lot of time browsing their feed. You can ask them to share a review on Facebook only. This will further increase your reach, as their friends will also see a notification about the review.

Make sure you are present on the following sites where people do have a habit of leaving reviews:

The easier you make it for them to leave a review while they’re thinking of it, the more people will do it.

3- Flaunt your reviews

Crello Customer Testimonial on Their Website
It is smart to show positive customer reviews on your website.

Have you noticed that when you post something on social media you may not get any response initially, but as you start getting some comments, then suddenly there’s a flood of likes and comments on your post?

This is because people don’t want to be the first to do it.

So, if you have some reviews use them everywhere. You’ll find that people do leave reviews once they see that others have left one.

Has anyone tagged you on social media praising your product? Take a snapshot and post it on your:

  • Website
  • Sales pages
  • Online business listings
  • FB page

You can also share it with your followers either in a group that you manage or via email.

Editor’s note: Easily share your best customers reviews using GoDaddy Email Marketing. It’s 1-2-3 easy.

4- Thank reviewers

When you run a business, you’re a leader and people do watch you.

Your actions and inactions both speak volumes about you.

Always thank and compliment people who are appreciating your products. No one wants to talk to a wall. However, if you talk back like a human, others may also open up about their positive experiences with your products and services.

It is even more important to talk to your dissatisfied customers when they leave a negative review. Left unanswered, this could keep your prospective customers from buying your product.

Always remember others are watching.

All you need to do is reply promptly and professionally. Acknowledge the issue — don’t get into a debate. Try to take the matter offline.

5- Entice customers to leave reviews

Can you think of incentivizing your clients and customers in exchange for reviews? Some of the things you can offer as incentives are:

  • Coupon codes
  • Cash back
  • Discounts on the next purchase
  • A free cup of tea

Here’s an example of how Zappos tempts its customers with points for leaving a review on the product they’ve bought.

Zappos Customer Review Incentive
Don’t try to control the feedback by asking for a 5-star review only.

Remember, reviews are helpful only when they are genuine. The goal of incentivizing is to make them take the action (which they may have not done otherwise). Let the reviewer share their honest opinions.

We all value social proof
This human behaviour of looking for validation before we make a decision is not restricted to movies or videos alone.

Rather it’s a psychological theory given by Robert Cladini in the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion that describes the human tendency to follow the ‘wisdom of the crowd.’

If we apply this behaviour to business, it is the customer and client reviews that other people are influenced by.

Every business online or offline tries to back its offer with solid social proof. Had customer reviews not been so important, Amazon would have not placed it right below the product name of every item it sells.

Example of Amazon Star Rating System
Take a cue from Amazon — show how many customers like your products.

No matter what you write on your website and how you promote your business, nothing can replace the impact of your happy customers’ words.

Your prospects will never believe you, the way they will believe what others like them have to say about you.

Customer reviews are worth the time

We discussed so many easy ways to encourage your customers to leave their reviews, right?

You can mix, match and try your own ways to find what works best for your type of business and customers.

Maggi Customer Testimonials with Photos
The ‘Me and Meri Maggi’ campaign asked customers to share their Maggie story.

Why not create a social media campaign for your product stories? Let your customers talk about your product and how it made a difference in their lives.

However, the beauty of social proof is that it is not limited to customer reviews alone. You can also use:

  • Influencer endorsements
  • Awards or press pieces
  • Social share numbers
  • Your clients’ logos (with permission of course)

Featuring any of these on your website and social media will act as proof that your business is legitimate. Sometimes that is all it takes for a new customer to try your business.