We’ve talked about the importance of customer reviews before, and this certainly won’t be the last time. One of the clearest and most dependable trust signals for customers is reviews.
While Google has confirmed that featuring reviews on your website won’t provide SEO benefits, the most tangible benefit is that reviews enhance user experience.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an e-commerce brand or a service provider, customers will be looking for third party reviews to check the trustworthiness of your website.
In this post, we will explore some of the most effective ways to encourage customers to leave reviews.
1. Invite Customers To Leave Reviews Via Email
A simple and speedy way to gather reviews is to set up an email workflow and automatically follow-up with customers, a few days or a week after purchase. Send a polite notice asking people to submit a review of their purchase via a specific method (Google reviews, Trustpilot, Feefo etc).
TIP: Don’t leave it too long, or customers with a good experience will be less inclined to leave a review.
2. Reply To Reviews
Negative reviews can sometimes have a positive impact. If you receive a negative review, this is a chance to display your customer service skills and respond in a timely and courteous manner.
If you’re able to fix the issue that the original poster had, you can even ask the user to update their negative review to reflect your customer service. When users can see that customer reviews are being replied to, this encourages others to leave a review.
TIP: Ensure that your customer service team fully investigate any complaints and understand the situation before responding. Don’t use ‘cut and paste’ replies, as customers can feel that their queries have been dismissed. See our article about the impact that poor quality customer service can have on your e-commerce brand.
3. Use More Than One Third Party Service
Visitors see a website that features customer reviews as more trustworthy, but we’d argue that it’s not enough to feature customer reviews on your website. Using a third party review service enables customers to see trust signals from an external - and therefore more objective - source.
It’s important to be present on more than one third party review service. Customers can (and should) check multiple websites for reviews of your brand, so reviews should be consistent across all review sites that you’re on. Customers are looking for reviews in the past couple of weeks, so be sure to reply to reviews in a timely manner.
TIP: Segment your audience and set up different workflow emails to ensure that your third party review sites are regularly updated, and therefore more trustworthy.
4. Claim Your Free Listings
Often, there will already be an unclaimed profile for your brand on third party review sites like Trustpilot or Yell. Research has shown that businesses that claim their ‘free’ listings on at least four review sites earn around 36% more revenue than average.
TIP: Take a look in analytics to see if any review sites are driving traffic to your website, and start to claim your listing. If a review site is driving a large share of your traffic, and the paid service offers a little extra, consider a paid service.
5. Offer Incentives
Offering incentives for reviews - whether that’s a voucher or entry into a competition - can encourage people who are satisfied to leave a review. You can set this up in the follow-up emails you send to a customer after they make a purchase. If you missed out when the customer originally made their purchase, you can always set up an email six months later to ‘check in’ on how happy they are with their order.
TIP: If you’re going to offer an incentive for reviews, you MUST offer equal incentives for everyone, and provide them even if the review is negative.
If you are struggling to encourage customers to leave Google reviews, take a look at our blog post with top tips. Google also provides support here, and offers advice for tackling inappropriate reviews here.