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11 Entrepreneurs Reveal The Best Ways To Get Customer Reviews and Feedback

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Customer reviews are a perfect way to get increased sales. They sway the on-the-fence buyers to buy your products by giving them confidence from like-minded customers. Additionally, they add in more specific details about your products especially in the case customers share photos of their products. It therefore essential to have and encourage customer reviews on your website.

We asked entrepreneurs and business owners on the best ways to get customer reviews and feedback.

#1- Gifts and small cards

Photo Credit: Antonella Pisani

One tactic that can be used to gather reviews, in particular for gifting oriented businesses, is to include a small card in the package asking the recipient to write a review. Offering a chance to win a prize or obtain a discount in exchange for their review can help boost response rates from this tactic. While this may not be necessary for businesses that primarily lean toward self-consumption, it’s something they may want to consider during the holiday season when a lot of items are bought for other people who won’t be receiving a standard please review our product email.

Thanks to Antonella Pisani, FACT Goods!

#2- Have an active social media presence

Photo Credit: Ibrahim Al-Haidos

The best way to get customer reviews is to have an active social media presence starting at the very top of the organization. I am a very social CEO. I love to use Instagram stories to give my followers a behind the scenes look into my life away from the office. I think it builds trust. Then, when I ask them for feedback, they know they can be honest with me. It’s a win-win relationship.

Thanks to Ibrahim Al-Haidos, Fursan!

#3-Ask for it in person

Photo Credit: Tatyana Kozhevnikova

I run a bespoke tailoring business and just before they leave I ask: What did you like & didn’t like about your experience at Artefact London? What would be the best way to improve? I listen without interrupting to everything they have to say. And they say things about my website, selection of cloths, pricing etc… The most important thing is to let them touch on any matter, rather than seeking feedback on something that worries you specifically. As you my often find that what bothers you is completely unimportant to customers and what actually could be an issue you have simply overlooked. After receiving feedback in person, I ask if they would kindly write a few sentences online if I sent them a link and they quite often do.

Thanks to Tatyana Kozhevnikova, Artefact London!

#4- Customer Service Training + E-mail Follow Up

Photo Credit: Michael Hayes

If you want to elicit reviews from your customers, the most effective way I’ve found is to start dropping hints early on in the customer experience. For instance, in a local service business, you should train your workers to use sentences like Let’s earn our 5-star rating when interacting with customers. Since most customers only take to review sites when they have a horrible experience, this primes the customer to leave a review when they have a good one. Furthermore, setting up a good e-mail follow-up sequence that solicits feedback and provides links to your review sites is also very effective.

Thanks to Michael Hayes, Darby Hayes Consulting!

#5- Several ways

Photo Credit: Ken Olan

There are many ways to engage customers in reviews or getting relevant feedback, but first you need to decide what you want to accomplish with either mechanism. I.e., How do I intend to use what I learn? That is to say, there’s a difference between wanting information to use for purposes of continuous improvement versus, say, to create a public awareness of how great you company is. While reviews do provide feedback, feedback itself can be gotten in other ways too. Feedback can be accomplished by simply asking customers for their thoughts on the items or issues you want to be critiqued. This can easily be done through a tool like Survey Monkey (customer survey), but I like the direct approach too; just ask them what they think during or after engagements. Reviews, which are typically meant to create an overall feeling or score for the organization, can be gleaned through companies like Trust Pilot. But engaging customers in reviews can be fun too. When I ran a Retail bank we had a contest whereby customers would be videoed by branch personnel asking them, “What do you think of us” or “Why do you like doing business with us?” Both questions led to all kinds of videos that could be uploaded to YouTube or used in other ways. The key is engaging customers, actively, in some way to make them part of the process. You’ll get more accurate feedback that way, and your reviews will, on the margin, be better, because simply asking for reviews shows you have a degree of confidence in the results you provide.

Thanks to Ken Olan, ExactMats!

#6- Two effective ways

Photo Credit: Bryan Sarlitt

With 900+ product reviews on Amazon, I’ve found that no matter how you go about requesting reviews, the vast majority of customers will ignore your request. That said, after experimenting with various methods, there are 2 effective ways to consistently get reviews. The first is to send a personalized order follow-up email, requesting that they share their experience to help other shoppers make an informed buying decision. The second way is to include an insert inside the product packaging, prompting the customer to help spread the word by leaving a review and posting on social media channels. Regardless of the chosen method(s), it’s important to not come off as needy or pushy when asking for a review—otherwise you risk annoying the customer which could lead to a negative review or not review at all.

Thanks to Bryan Sarlitt, Nomader!

#7- Incentivize customers to interact

Photo Credit: Joe Goldstein

By far the best way to get more online reviews is to incentivize customers to interact with your Google, Yelp, or profile in ways other than leaving reviews. Restaurants can give you a free beer in exchange for checking in to Yelp.  Carpet cleaners can give you a $20 Starbucks card if you upload before and after photos to Google. Amazon sellers can offer $5 off your purchase if you upload a photo of you using their product to their Amazon page. All of these approaches will get customers to take out their phones, log into your favorite review site, and even visit the right page. All it takes is a little extra nudge to get a review out of it.

Thanks to Joe Goldstein, Contractor Calls!

#8- Using the right approach

Photo Credit: Kevin Miller

I used Delighted for internal reviews, and I’d sort through about 100 or so each week to collect ‘promoters’ (those  offering a great review). I’d download and input their email addresses into Mailshake, create a basic two-email drip campaign with the subject line “Can You Do Me a Favor?”, expressed our gratitude, and welcomed them to my  companies community.” But simply asking for reviews doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get them. It’s all in the approach. In the emails, I explain that they were a small start-up working hard to improve and expand. I ask recipients if they’d be willing to leave an Amazon review, and included a link within the email that took them directly to the review page to eliminate any remaining friction. That was it. Real. Honest. Human. A gentle reminder automatically went out 3 days later if they hadn’t already clicked. I thought this changed the entire landscape of our image
online. We went from 300 reviews when I started to 1600 in about a year.

Thanks to Kevin Miller, Open Listings!

#9- After-service text messages

Photo Credit: Steve Durham

As a pest control company, our company is largely sustained on recurring revenue from our existing customers. Therefore, our customers’ experience with our company is *extremely* important to retaining them as long-term customers. One of the biggest ways we ensure our cancellation rate is as low as it can be is to regularly ask our customers for feedback and find ways to improve our business. The way we do this is by *sending after-service text messages to all of our customers within 24 hours of servicing their home*. We ask them a series of questions, which includes rating their experience with their pest control technician from 1-5, as well as anything we could’ve done to make the experience more positive. We get a lot of good feedback from customers by doing this via text message (vs. email where the respond rate is much lower), and then we can use this data to a) reward our top employees with the best scores and b) compile a list of happy customers that we can use to ask for online reviews. Our strategy is two-fold, because we don’t want to ask potentially unhappy customers to leave a review, so getting this feedback is the first step in the process of asking customers to share their experience online. There’s a multitude of different softwares available that help automate this process (so you aren’t texting customers one by one).

Thanks to Steve Durham, EnviroCon Termite & Pest Control!

#10- Ask for feedback the right way

Photo Credit: Michela Quilici

Compelling and useful client reviews and testimonials are designed to build credibility and overcome objections – two crucial stepping stones in the customer buying process. When prospective clients are thinking about making a buying decision, they will consider their options for which company to engage, and how your client reviews are written influences your prospect’s decision to work with you or your competitor. Simply asking your clients for feedback or to post a review to your social media channels is not enough. The secret is in how you ask. If you truly want to harness the power of a getting a compelling and useful client review there are three key questions to ask your clients when you request feedback. (1) Why did you choose to engage with me and my services? (2) What impact has this decision had on you and your challenge? (3) What do you value most about me or my products or services? The human brain thinks in pictures and makes decisions based on emotion, justified by logic. The answers to these questions will help paint a picture and help reinforce their buying decision. Your prospect needs what you have to offer, and getting compelling and useful client reviews and testimonials are simply one of the many marketing tools in your toolbox that tells your story, so that you can be seen and be heard in a crowded and noisy marketplace.

Thanks to Michela Quilici

#11- Listening and caring

Photo Credit: Gene Caballero

Here is something that we have done to thank our customers for using our service and to create a personal connection with them. Upon sign up, our customers indicate if they have pets or not. We relay this info to the vendors so they are aware of any dogs.  We then send dog bones out to our homeowners with dogs along with a Thank You card. Not only is this very cheap but it lets our customers know that we are listening and that we care. We follow up with an email asking if they received the gift.

Thanks to Gene Caballero, GreenPal!

What are the best ways to get customer reviews and feedback? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

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This is a post from a CEO Blog Nation writer. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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