10 Best Practices to Encourage Customers to Write Reviews

How many times have you checked a product’s reviews before you’ve made a purchase? Perhaps you wanted to check the vibe of a restaurant before taking your family there for dinner. Or you wanted to know how accurate the picture on the website was to the unfiltered real-life product. Assessing customer reviews has become an essential part of the consumer decision-making process, and the more reviews, the better. 

But how do you get your customers to leave reviews? We’ve got you covered with 10 of the best practices to get your customers reviewing.

1. Proactively Ask Your Customers 

Customers won’t know you want reviews unless you ask for them. Make sure part of your engagement strategy includes openly asking for feedback, particularly from regular customers. Most people won’t object and, if you’re not already doing this, asking will immediately boost the number of reviews you get. Although this won’t guarantee only glowing ones, the majority of customers trust reviews more when there are both good and bad ratings.

Look at each point in the customer journey as an opportunity to ask for feedback. Post-purchase emails are a great place to start. TurnTo’s inbox submission feature allows merchants and brands to increase review collection by as much as 200% overall, and eliminates friction in the submission process.

Let’s say a professional photographer is looking for a new camera tailored to their specific needs. By prompting existing customers who match this profile to share their feedback, you’ll provide future shoppers the detailed guidance they’re looking for when considering a purchase.

Customer review for Nikon camera, headlined "You have to buy this one!" with tech specs and personal anecdotes

In this review for a Nikon camera, the buyer even states that the detailed reviews inspired them to make the purchase, and goes on to describe their experience with the camera.

2. Make it Easy for Customers to Leave a Review

As with every other part of the purchasing process, you want things to be easy for customers. The fewer hurdles they have to face, the less there is stopping them from leaving reviews. This can include being upfront about what questions they’ll be answering and how long it will take. 

Ensure your reviewing process is super accessible too. Inbox submission and checkout comments are great ways to provide quick and easy feedback opportunities to your customers. Ask them your customers for feedback within the page they’re already on (like your post-purchase email or order confirmation page) instead of making them click to another page.

Order confirmation email asking customer why they purchased these items

3. Provide Review Subdimensions

Another way of making it easy is by providing a guide for the content of the reviews too. No, I don’t mean writing yourself impressive reviews. Provide a structure that makes it simpler for customers to share their experiences. 

Subdimensions for reviews refer to product-specific filters and questions that encourage more useful reviews. Maximize the amount of useful customer feedback you get by asking questions in your ratings and reviews collection such as “Did this item fit true to size?” or “Was this mattress as firm as advertised?” In the “fit” example, you would offer a spectrum of choices for the subdimensions such as “Runs small — True to size — Runs large.” 

Infographic with suggested questions to ask reviewers for different products; for a mattress, ask "sleeping position/side?"

Consider asking shoppers for profile attributes specific to the product they’ve purchased. This information makes reviews more useful for future shoppers looking for experiences matching theirs, and makes the reviews more quantifiable for you, should you want to collect data and act on it.

4. Gather Reviews Across Channels

Your customers are likely present across many channels, and equally, seek reviews in many places. Collecting reviews across social media, your website, in-store, on calls, and on review websites allows customers to leave reviews wherever convenient. 

TurnTo’s syndication for brands and retailers allows you to automatically feed your reviews to other retailers and third-party sites that your customers may be present on, for no extra cost. Don’t miss any channels, and you won’t lose out on customers who just might not know what you have to offer!

5. Utilize Social Media for Feedback

Just as customers will leave reviews through different channels, you should be asking for them via your company’s social media. Simple brand-related posts asking your audience a question can garner useful comments that your brand can then feature as testimonials to your product. 

Dove instagram post of 3 new haircare products, customers reply with enthusiasm about their favorite products

Dove asks its followers on Instagram what scent they’re excited to try next, and opens up conversation for feedback in the comments — customers are already sharing their excitement and passion for the brand.

6. Keep Asking

Don’t be afraid to remind your customers that you’d like to hear their opinion. Consider their entire purchase history as a cohesive overview of their experience with your brand; when customers purchase something new, make that an opportunity to review products they purchased previously, as well.

TurnTo’s personalized “Do More” request in post-purchase communications uses the customer’s shopping history and profile to encourage feedback like this. „Do More“ also allows for multi-item reviews; it increases review collection by 30% or more.

7. Ask at Key Points in Their Experience

There are certain points in a customer’s experience in which they’re more likely to leave an honest and accurate review. This might be right after your customer support team has guided them through finding a product specific to their needs.

This point is also a great opportunity to ask customer satisfaction-related questions. The type of questions you ask will have a critical impact on the conclusion you will draw from your customers’ feedback. It’s crucial to make sure that you are asking the right ones; check out our customer satisfaction guide for more.

Catching customers within the first few days or even hours of purchase makes their reviews more reliable and emphasizes the connection they recently established with your company.

8. Engage With All Reviews 

Good or bad, part of what potential customers look for in a review is how the company responds to it. This is particularly crucial with negative reviews, as a calm and confident response can present your company in a positive light, just as well as any 5-star review. Thanking customers for their reviews and taking note of what you could improve on is a great way to come across as humble and open-minded to any criticism. It also demonstrates that you value your customers’ opinions.

customer service team's reply to a dissatisfied customer complaining of product defects

Simms Fishing’s team replies to a negative review looking for areas to improve the customer’s experience with their products.

9. Offer Incentives

It’s amazing what people will do if you give them an incentive. This isn’t bribing customers to leave you faultless reviews everywhere — as mentioned above, a couple of negative reviews can show credibility. Instead, this is about offering people a reason to leave their honest reviews. This could be a discount code on their next purchase, an entry into a prize draw, or even a freebie.

10. Accept Multiple Review Formats

Don’t stay siloed to text or star rating-based reviews. Visual reviews are incredibly effective endorsements because they allow potential buyers to see the product in an authentic way. Someone just like them bought this product and loved it enough to take and share a photo or video. That’s much more persuasive than brand-generated images, which customers perceive as less trustworthy. 

Visual reviews outperform text reviews because 59% of consumers consider visual information more important than textual information. TurnTo’s visual reviews capability caters to the smartphone-equipped customer by giving them an easy way to snap and share a photo of their purchase.

And, once you’ve gathered all your reviews, you can use them to boost employee morale. At a time when many employees are working remotely and feeling isolated, consider coming up with some virtual work celebration ideas that include recognizing the hard work of your workforce with client reviews. This will encourage them to keep asking for reviews too.

Reviews add social proof, and ultimately, the more the merrier.

 

Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated hosted contact center that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Here is her LinkedIn.