As a business owner, you know that customer reviews are essential. They help you rank higher in search results; they help potential customers trust your business, and they can even lead to more sales. According to a study by Finances Online, 9 out of 10 people read reviews before taking that leap of purchasing or booking. It's vital that you build a solid base of reviews and keep tabs on your reviews from all over the internet.
It can be tricky to know how to ask for reviews. You don't want to be pushy or pressure customers, but with how crucial reviews are, it's required for you to succeed in your industry. So, where do you ask for reviews, and when is the best time to approach customers about reviewing your business? And even more importantly, how to ask for reviews?
Why are Customer Reviews Important?
Before we get into the best ways to ask for a review, let's first discuss why customer reviews are important.
As we briefly mentioned earlier, potential customers rely on reviews when they make purchasing decisions. Personal recommendations are the number one motivating factor when it comes to reviews and purchases. In fact, according to BrightLocal, 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. With nearly 80% of consumers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, it's no wonder that reviews are so crucial.
Reviews are also crucial for search engine optimization (SEO). In other words, the more reviews you have, the higher you'll rank on Google. That's because Google sees your business as more relevant and trustworthy if it has good reviews. Making good use of positive reviews by reposting them, using them on your website, and responding to reviews will boost your SEO efforts immensely.
Finally, customer reviews can lead to more sales. Not only will potential customers be more likely to purchase from you, but they'll also spend 31% more on average, according to Invesp. By putting in the work to make sure your customer reviews are positive and plentiful, you'll reap the benefits in no time.
When Should I Ask for a Review?
The best time to ask for a review is when the customer has just had a good experience with your product or service. This could be after they've made a purchase, stayed at your hotel, or dined at your restaurant. If you wait too long to ask for a review, the customer may have already forgotten about their positive experience. Staying on top of their mind is essential when it comes to reviews.
If you're a hotel, the best time to ask for a review is as your guest is checking out. It can be as simple as using a standard script to ask guests. You can verbally ask for a review or, on their checkout receipt, provide information on how to leave a review. It may feel awkward to verbally ask for a review; you don't want to be turned down, but face-to-face communication can significantly impact your business.
"Thank you for staying with us! We hope you've enjoyed your stay. We would love to stay in touch and provide insight for future guests. Would you be willing to leave us a review on [whichever platform works best for your company] when you have a chance?"
The same concept applies to restaurants and even retail stores. Asking politely and acknowledging their time spent with you or in your store can never hurt. If you or your staff is uncomfortable asking face-to-face, consider sending a quick email after their stay.
Best Platforms for Reviews
There are various places online where you can have guests leave reviews, and it seems like new ones are popping up every day. But, not all review platforms are created equal. Google My Business, Yelp, and TripAdvisor are some popular review sites. Social media is quickly catching up to be the most crucial review board. Facebook's review feature is gaining traction and is becoming a powerful review tool.
The most important platforms for reviews are the ones where your potential customers are looking. If you're a local business, Google My Business should be your number one priority when it comes to review sites. That's because it's one of the first places people will look when they search for businesses like yours in their area. Your GMB listing should be completely filled out with accurate and updated information. Outdated information can lead to a loss of confidence in a potential customer.
Another great platform for reviews is Yelp. This site is especially important for businesses in the food and hospitality industry, like restaurants and hotels. That's because Yelp is one of these businesses' most popular review sites. According to Invesp, a one-star increase can lead to 5-9% more sales, while one negative review can cost you 30 customers. It's vital to stay on top of your Yelp profile.
TripAdvisor is another popular review site, especially for businesses in the hospitality industry. This platform differs from Google and Yelp because it's geared towards travelers. So, if you have customers who come from out of town, you should definitely encourage them to leave a review on TripAdvisor.
Facebook is a great place for reviews for any industry. While it may not make the most sense for a B2B venture, you can still use its powerful tools to reach out to ask for reviews. If you don't already have a Facebook business page for your business, it's essential to start there. Facebook is another great tool to have in your marketing mix.
How to Ask for Review Templates
The most important thing to make clear when asking for reviews is to make them as easy as possible. If you have lengthy instructions or a pointless introductory email, people are less likely to follow through with a review. It's best to be clear, concise, and brief. It should include personalization with their name, if possible. Make sure that you're targeting customers who recently stayed with you or purchased from you; reaching out to older customers won't make much sense in the long run.
An example of a review request email template:
We appreciate your recent visit; we hope you had a great time when you stayed with us at [hotel name]! We would love to hear about your experience. Would you be willing to leave us a review on TripAdvisor?
Here's a link to our page: [link to TripAdvisor page]
Thanks so much for your time!
As you can see, this email is short, sweet, and to the point. It includes a link to make it easy for them to review your business, and it's personalized with their name. This type of review request is more likely to result in an actual review.
Another example of how to ask for a review:
Thanks so much for choosing us for your [service] needs! We're happy to hear that you were pleased with the results. Would you be willing to leave us a review on Google?
Here's a link to our page: [link to GMB page]
This review request is similar to the one above. It's short, sweet, and includes a link. The only difference is that it's asking for a review on Google My Business instead of TripAdvisor. It's best to be specific when asking for a review. Just simply asking a customer to review you won't make the same impact as if you're specific.
A link is perfect for making it easy to get to the review site but adding some instructions may make it more straightforward. Another way to be specific is to include instructions on how to leave a review. Here are a few examples of common review sites.
We're so glad you chose us for your adventures in New York. Since you're a valued guest, we'd love a quick review on Google! We hope you enjoyed all the city has to offer and that we were able to meet your expectations.
Here's a link to our page: [GMB]
For further instructions:
Log in to your Google account
Go to the location you'd like to review.
Click on the "Write a review" button.
Leave your review and click "Publish."
Thank you so much for your time, [name]. We hope to see you soon!
Yelp and Trip Advisor take it one step further, making it even easier for you as a business owner to request reviews. For Yelp, here are some instructions on how to use their review platform to email guests directly.
Once you've claimed your listing on Yelp, you can start asking customers to leave reviews by following these steps:
Log in to your Yelp for Business Owners account.
Click on the "Send Recommendations" tab.
Enter the customer's information and click "Send Invites."
It's crucial only to ask customers who have had a positive experience with your business to leave a review on Yelp. That's because this site relies heavily on personal recommendations. It could hurt your Yelp rating if you ask someone who had a negative experience to review your business.
Tripadvisor is similar:
Log in to your business account on TripAdvisor.
Click on the "Management Center" tab.
In the "Reviews" section, click on the "Request a review" button.
Enter the customer's information and click "Send."
You can also encourage customers to leave reviews on TripAdvisor by adding a badge to your website or email signature. Check out TripAdvisor's badges page for more information on how to do this.
Tips for Asking for Reviews
Now that you know some different ways to ask for reviews, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Don't offer an incentive for leaving a review. This could lead to fake reviews, which is something you want to avoid.
- Make it easy for them to leave a review. Include a link or specific instructions, so they know exactly what to do.
- Personalize your review request. Add in their name or mention something specific about their experience with your business.
- Be thankful. Thank them for their time, thank them for being a customer, and thank them for leaving a review.
- Welcome honest feedback, especially if this is for internal feedback. You want to make sure you're aware of blind spots you may have when running your business.
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
It's not all rainbows and butterflies when it comes to customer reviews. You will inevitably get a negative review at some point. And that's okay! The important thing is how you respond to it.
When responding to a negative review, always:
- Remain professional
- Acknowledge the customer's experience
- Try to resolve the issue
- Thank them for their feedback
It's also important to keep in mind that potential customers will be reading your responses to reviews. So, you want to ensure you're putting your best foot forward. Remember, 86% of people will hesitate after seeing negative reviews (Invesp). You must respond appropriately and quickly in order to best handle the situation.
Here's an example of a response to a negative review:
"Thank you for your feedback, [name]. We're sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy your stay with us. We would love to chat with you about what we could have done to improve your experience. If you wouldn't mind giving us a call at [number], we would really appreciate it.
Again, thank you for your feedback and we hope you give us another chance in the future.
As you can see, this response is professional, acknowledges the customer's experience, tries to resolve the issue, and thanks them for their feedback. This is the type of response that will show potential customers that you're a business that cares about its customers.
Notice we didn't use the business name. This is an integral part of responding. Using your name in the response will likely garner more attention and can actually boost the ranking of that negative review, ensuring even more people will see that response, which is what you don't want. You want to only rank for positive reviews and feedback.
Asking for reviews doesn't have to be complicated. And, it's definitely worth your time and effort. Customer reviews can help you attract new customers, provide valuable feedback, and improve your business overall. For more help with digital marketing and asking for reviews, contact us today!