Online reviews are the most influential source of word-of-mouth marketing in the digital world and the foundation of your online business reputation. But although the benefits of having a regular in-flow of good testimonials are clear, many businesses struggle with how to ask customers for reviews and leave things to chance.
However, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask. Customers will be happy to give you feedback and help you out, especially when they are satisfied with your services.
It’s not embarrassing to ask people to rate their experience, and if they are, indeed, satisfied there is nothing wrong with encouraging them to say that in black and white. Everyone in the B2B world knows how important it is to find a company that is trustworthy and credible.
And if you have any doubts about how important reviews are for your business, let the stats speak for themselves:
However, there are a few things to take into account in order to improve response rates and build up enough reviews to make your reputation sparkling.
Read on and take notes!
1. Take Matters Into Your Own Hands
Leaving things to chance is not a good idea when it comes to reviews.
According to research, businesses that ask for reviews have an average rating of 4.34 of 5 stars, while those who don’t, have 3.89. And there’s the reason why.
Customers who are content with your services, but are not truly overjoyed, are more likely not to write a review without an invitation. This leaves the positive reviews to the people who are ecstatic and just can’t hold the excitement in – and let’s face it, even if you are great at what you do, these are usually only a handful.
The rest of the customers who are most likely to leave you a review, are the ones who are not particularly happy with what they received and are eager to tell others about their not-so-good experience.
Presuming that the greater part of your clients are satisfied and fall into the first category (the ones who don’t say anything), this means that you will have fewer reviews and they will be predominantly negative or mediocre ones.
However, if you handle bad reviews properly they can even be beneficial for you because this shows you care about the quality of your services. What may be an issue for your customers, though, is the small overall number of reviews. It can make them doubt your credibility and hold them back from making a decision.
61% of B2B buyers state that they want to read between 11-50 reviews before they can form an opinion about a business, and 65.7% say that they should be recent ones. To get them on board, you should take matters into your own hands and nudge happy customers to write a few good words about you and boost the numbers.
2. Ask for Feedback First
Before you ask your customers to leave a review, you should first identify whether they are content with your services.
By requesting feedback you show people that you care about the quality of your work and about their happiness as a customer. Also, if they happen to have had a far from a pleasant experience, you can create an opportunity to sort the problem out and eliminate any frustration.
Once you’ve made sure that the customer is satisfied with your services, you can proceed with asking them to leave a review.
Customers who know that you value their opinions and are ready to improve based on their recommendations will be more likely to leave a positive review, show emotional engagement, and praise your performance. And others, who see the testimonials online, will find this genuineness relevant and reliable.
3. Choose the Right Timing
The best time to request reviews from your customers depends on a few factors, including the types of products you are selling and the circumstances.
The Type of Product
If the customer buys a one-off service, the best moment to ask for a review is when you have just done the job and the customer has confirmed that they are happy with it.
For example, if they want you to build a website when they see their website ready and tell you how thrilled they are with the results, there’s your moment. You can thank them for doing business with you and ask them to leave a review so that others can learn about your company. Since you did a great job and they love it, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t write a few words about it and express their enthusiasm.
However, if your product is built on a subscription-based model, or it takes some time for the customer to learn how to use it and experience the benefits, asking them right after they sign up is far from good timing. You should give them at least a month, and when they confirm next month’s subscription, you can invite them to give you feedback about how they like your product and leave a review if they are enjoying it.
You know your product best and based on how long it usually takes for clients to get familiar with it, you can estimate when requesting a review will make sense.
Depending on the Type of Interaction
Different interactions with your customers also call for variations in the timing. Again, it’s all individual, but there are some basic suggestions you can consider.
Since 70% of reviews follow an email sent after a transaction takes place, this is still one of the best moments to ask.
Although, as mentioned, you should take into account the type or types of products the customer has bought, post-transaction feedback is an opportunity for them to evaluate the purchasing process itself.
You can set up internal reviews or a Net Promoter Score (NPS) scale that will show you how satisfactory transactions are and give people a chance to express any discontent. If they are positive about the experience and when the timing for the product is right you can ask for a review on your website or a third-party platform you are working with. If not, you can communicate the problem, work on fixing it, and do the same.
After Closing a Customer Service Ticket
Another good moment to ask for a review is when your support reps help a client solve an issue. The client will be grateful for the help and if your team has done a good job, they can ask them to share their positive feeling in review.
However, be wary of this because customers can still feel frustrated regardless of the problem being solved. Therefore, they will probably not be in the right mood to give a positive review. Try to read the room and invite-only the clients who have something good to say.
Overall Satisfaction Review
You can occasionally ask customers to give you a review of their overall experience with your brand or to update their existing one if any major events have happened that made them feel better about your business.
It’s best to choose a moment when the customer has expressed their satisfaction with your product to invite them to write their thoughts down, so others can know that you are a reliable partner.
Automated Drip Campaigns
However, make sure that you can personalize the content of the email so that it makes the client who receives it feel cared for and special. This way you will not miss an opportunity when it comes up and will still show an individual approach.
4. Regularly Launch Review-Gathering Campaigns
For successful word-of-mouth marketing and online reputation, you don’t only need reviews but you need recent ones. How businesses service their clients can change over time, and people know this.
Reviews older than three months begin to lose their significance, and although customers may still read them, if you don’t have any new ones to support them, they may reconsider doing business with you.
To keep the feedback coming, you should regularly launch campaigns asking your customers for reviews and encouraging them to rate their experience with you.
By starting up a campaign and distributing it on different communication channels, you can invite customers to express their overall brand experience and how they value your services. In addition, you can use this as a friendly reminder to customers who didn’t have the time to leave you a review right after their purchase or simply forgot to leave one.
However, constant mentions of this may become frustrating to people who’ve been with you for a long time and see the message for the 100th time. To avoid this, consider doing segmentation of your contacts before sending out the invitation and design a few versions for different types of clients.
- Send Thank You Emails. You can send emails to all your customers thanking them for doing business with you and ask them to leave a review so others can learn about your company and products. The message, while short and meaningful, should be personalized with details about the customer’s last purchase.
- Contact Big-Game Customers in Person. If you have high-end accounts that are especially important to you, and you know they value your business relationship as well, you can contact them in person to ask for a review. Choose the right moment, like when you’ve re-signed your contract or had a major breakthrough, and make it a part of the conversation. This way it will not seem scripted and you will not feel awkward doing it. Also, as mentioned, happy clients are more likely to write inspiring reviews.
- Shoot a Video Invitation. A fun and engaging approach to your review-gathering campaign is to shoot a short video message and share it on all your communication channels. This will make the invitation more personal and relatable and, as video is one of the most popular formats on the internet, you will have better chances of people watching it and taking action.
- Share a Post on Social Media. Social media platforms are a great place to find publicity for your review campaign. People, who follow their favorite brands for updates and post on your wall, will quickly reach everyone who’s already done business with you. It can also generate comments and encourage word of mouth.
5. Engage With Existing Reviews
You should always answer reviews, be they good or bad. When people see you engage with others who’ve left you feedback, they will feel encouraged to write some themselves.
Reviews are more rewarding to the customer when they are a conversation, rather than a monologue. It shows people that you appreciate their efforts and are grateful.
Also, it’s good manners to respond to your clients who’ve spared a minute to say something nice about you. And it becomes even more important when the review is a negative one. Neglecting unhappy clients can be a red light for prospective clients. It shows them that you don’t care about your customers or their satisfaction.
Another way to engage with the reviews is to share the especially good ones on your social media profiles and publicly thank the people who wrote them. This will not only make the person who left the review feel good, and appreciated, but will remind others who are happy with your services to give you feedback as well.
It will also encourage prospective clients, who are following your business on social media platforms, but who haven’t decided on making a purchase yet, to take the leap.
Asking your customers for reviews requires the right approach if you want to build a substantial review base and improve your online reputation.
The most important thing is to overcome the psychological barriers and prejudice that hold you back and understand that asking is not begging. B2B customers know the significance of credibility and if they are happy with your services, they will be more than willing to back you up. They may just need a reminder or two.