6 simple and easy ways to collect reviews from your customers
Here’s a quick stat for you. According to a recent study, 79% of consumers say that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family. So, why’s that then? Well, essentially it comes down to the fact that we tend to place an exceptional level of trust in the opinions of strangers about any given product, service or brand. The thinking behind this is that generally strangers have nothing to gain or lose whether or not we decide to buy a product, which can give us a greater expectation of impartiality – and therefore, trustworthiness.
When it comes to building up yours, obviously the simplest way to do it is just to ask. Here are six specific and straightforward ways that you can go about it.
1. Get yourself established on a third-party review site
We’ll start with one of the most useful tips to build measurable trust in your business. In case you need a quick recap on the definition, third-party reviews are those left on third-party sites like Yelp, Google Reviews, and Trustpilot. They differ from ‘first-party’ reviews, i.e. those left directly on your own website. While first-party reviews tend to focus on specific products or services you offer, third-party reviews are more likely to focus on your business as a whole.
These types of testimonials, ratings and reviews are often viewed as being exceptionally trustworthy by prospective customers, as they perceive third-party reviews as being even more objective than ones on your site. If you like, it’s the digital equivalent of what people say about you when you’re not in the room, as opposed to when you’re standing there in front of them.
Third-party reviews have an extra bonus too, in that they can even provide SEO value by directing more incoming traffic to your site. And with 92% of customers reading online reviews before using a local business, you’d be missing a trick without them!
2. Post purchase emails
Right then, onto first-party reviews. One of the tricky things with customer reviews is the timing. You need to give them enough time at least for their product to arrive, and possibly enough further time for them to enjoy it for a little bit before you ask them for a review. On the other hand, the longer you leave it before you ask for a review, the less likely they are to provide you with one – a separate study says that only 42% of customers will ever leave a review – even if they’ve had a positive experience!
So, that means asking for your review either at the point of purchase, or very shortly afterwards, is one of the more reliable ways of ensuring that your customers provide one. It’s a good idea to make this email as specific and personalised as possible, so that it addresses them by name, and references specifically what they bought – all of which maximises their chances of responding.
3. Email newsletters
By the same token, email newsletters are another excellent way to collect customer reviews, largely because by definition, they’re already invested in your brand – especially if the newsletter in question is specifically opt-in. As an extra bonus, soliciting reviews through email newsletters also makes it even easier to naturally frame the question, something like: “so, now you’ve heard all about the latest goings-on with us. Now we want to hear from you!”
4. Ask for reviews on the order history page
OK, let’s shift gears a little bit. Approaching your customers for reviews via their inboxes is one good way to do it – another obvious route is to do it through your website instead. Returning or repeat customers will typically review their order history page before making another purchase, so that they can check what they bought last time, or give themselves a bit of inspiration for what they’d like this time around. And of course, once again the fact that they’re returning customers means that by definition they’re loyal to your brand, making them a great audience to target with a request for customer reviews. Remember, it doesn’t have to be anything complex. All you need is a simple call to action somewhere prominently on the page, giving them the freedom to complete it when they choose.
5. Use a pop-up window, feedback button, or Live Chat services
The order history page is just one example – there are plenty of other stages along the customer journey that you can use to ask for reviews. Pop-up windows can be useful, but deploy them with caution. If your web visitors are in the middle of doing something, they generally don’t like to be interrupted – which is one reason why so many businesses choose to place their pop-up review requests towards the end of the customer journey, or just when it looks like they’re about to leave the site entirely.
Alternatively, you can use a prominent or colourful Feedback Request button on your homepage or Contact page, or a Live Chat in the corner of the screen – ensuring that these are all easily visible, but trusting your consumers with the choice of how and when they want to use them. Take care to make your text short, but informative and inviting – for example, something like Leave Your Review, or Talk To Us, or Tell Us How We’re Doing.
6. Ask for reviews on social media
This is one that needs careful consideration, as the sometimes volatile nature of social media can make it a bit of a risk. Soliciting reviews via a tweet, Facebook post or LinkedIn post can invite a wide range of opinions, and for better or worse, they’ll be visible for anyone to see. So if you’re confident in the loyalty and temperament of your following on these public platforms, it can be an excellent way of building reviews. Not only can everyone see positive reviews instantly, but they can comment on them too, allowing your customers to elaborate further on exactly what they like about your brand. In doing so, they can become unofficial ‘brand ambassadors’ in themselves!
If you’re still building your audience though, it’s probably worth holding off on this one for the time being, as a smaller audience means that the occasionally tepid or even outright negative reviews will be a lot more prominent to any potential new customers, and without quite as many positive experiences to counterbalance them.
These are just a couple of our top recommendations available for collecting customer reviews – you may develop your own favourite strategies too! They’re not always quick to implement, but they’re well worth investing the time and effort in, considering the many advantages of customer reviews that your business can enjoy.
And if you ever need any extra help or advice, that’s exactly what we’re here for at 21Digital. We are the lead generation and e-commerce experts, with over 17 years of experience in delivering award-winning digital marketing services, including search engine optimisation, PPC (Google Ads), web design, web development, digital consultancy, and email marketing. Why not give us a call today, and find out how we can help you?