How to ask customers for reviews (and actually get them)
A lot of our Partners ask me the best way to get online reviews without being pushy or aggressive as a lot of their customers simply forget to do it. Let’s face it outside the food and hospitality industry, it can be a real struggle for any industry to get positive reviews consistently.
Consumers don’t typically review their landscaper, gym, car rental agency, foundation repair company, or many other business types that they interact with unless something goes WRONG!
Because of this many different companies that do truly amazing work for your home and have a great name around town, actually do not have a lot of online reviews. It’s time to change that today!
But first, you may be wondering: Is it okay to ask for reviews? For Google, the answer is a resounding “yes.”
So what’s the best way to make this situation better?
Simply Ask for one!
Ask happy customers for reviews the day the job is done. Create a checklist on your iPad that is ready to go! As soon as the job is done, have your foreman walk the homeowner or business owner around the project and start your check list of questions that you have ready to go. Once you are done filling it out with him/her send the review to your customer’s email with the links to your Facebook or Google account making it seem-less for them to do. If that does not work you can take it one step further and purchase software such as:
- Grade Us
- Yext Reviews
These software programs will walk your clients right through the review process.
Yelp, however, has issued conflicting statements on whether or not you’re allowed to ask customers for reviews. I asked Yelp directly, and they told me that it is okay to ask for reviews as long as there is no incentivizing (See #2 in “5 Yelp facts business owners should know”). For all of the other review sites, you’ll need to check their terms of service and guidelines.
Below, I’ll share some tips, best practices and tests you can run to get more positive reviews.
Let’s dig in…
The “Tip” trick
The “tip” trick is one of those review growth hacks that can work really great in particular industries. The strategy is that someone who has spent a lot of time with a customer then asks for a review, but throws in the kicker of, “If you had a good experience and include my first name in the review, the company gives you a $10 gift card to Starbucks!
This little “sweetener” gives a customer the extra incentive to leave an online review, particularly if he or she had a good experience.
Asking via email
Asking for reviews via email is a bit trickier. There are cases where you don’t have a lot (or any) face time with a customer. In those instances, email may be your only option.
If you’re going to ask for reviews via email, we strongly encourage you to pre-screen your customers via an internal survey before following up with another email asking them for a public review. While this may sound like cheating, it’s no different from what you would do in person.
If someone is clearly upset, you wouldn’t ask them for an online review. Likewise, using triggers from an internal survey allows you to apply this same human logic, just algorithmically.
Here are some of the best practices for your email request letter:
Have the email come from a real person’s email address (Even better, have it come from a name they’d recognize, such as someone they worked with).
Have the email written as a personal request from that same person.
Have a very clear call-to-action link/button. Remove random social media or website footer links — just as with good conversion rate optimization, have a singular goal of users clicking the review button.
Test using a plain-text email versus an HTML email.
Test different subject lines: We’ve found that using the person’s name in the subject line works well in many instances but falls completely flat in a few others.
Test different email copy to see what performs best.
As with any good campaign, test everything until you’re getting the best conversion-to-review rate possible (not just open rate). Email will almost never perform as well as asking in person, but it can still be very effective at scale.
The simple act of asking for reviews starts to put the power back into your hands. Many business owners just throw their hands up in the air and assume there is nothing they can do. But as you can see, it’s quite the opposite.
Asking for reviews doesn’t require any special tools or technology, just a commitment to see it through. Using these strategies, we can fight back against the phenomenon of businesses (outside of the food and hospitality industry) not getting the reviews they deserve!
Until next time,