Asking for reviews is not the easiest thing to do in the world – especially when you’re a small business and you know that every piece of feedback counts.
So, when it comes time to ask a happy customer to leave their thoughts, it’s easy to fumble up, get nervous, and make it all-too-easy for them to forget. They’ll smile politely, say “okay,” leave your business, and have it fall off their list of things to do.
Fortunately, there are many ways to pose the question that will help them remember and maybe even make it a priority. Yet, it’s also possible to scare away your customers and even damage your reputation if you don’t ask the right way.
When you’re asking for reviews, here are a few things you absolutely don’t want to say:
1. “I’ll Give You a Discount if You Leave a Review”
Discounts, free products, straight up payments, these are all forms of incentives businesses have used to get more reviews from their customers.
The idea is that the incentive gives your customer something in return for their feedback by giving something away. Some businesses may even go as far as to hire people to give them good reviews to help them increase their ratings or bury negative reviews.
While this may sound like a good idea at the time – hey, who doesn’t want a few easy reviews? – it’s extremely frowned upon and, in many cases, even illegal.
Most review platforms strictly forbid incentivizing reviews and will remove them, or even your entire profile, if they find something fishy going on. This may lead to side effects such as paying expensive fines, a damaged reputation, and difficulty improving your business.
Instead of offering an incentive, reframe the ask to show how their review will help other customers like them find what they need. Forming a relationship with your customer outside of their purchases will also make them more likely to leave their feedback.
2. “Will You Leave a Review That Says…?”
Often, one of the most difficult things about leaving a review is knowing what to say. One way businesses try to combat this is by offering a script or template for customers to use in their feedback.
We’ve heard of one estate agent who would send a PDF of review template examples in their follow-up email with a client and say, “here are a few examples of great reviews – feel free to use one and make it your own!”
While this may provide a solution to your customers’ writer’s block, this practice may go wrong in a number of ways:
- All your reviews will begin to look and sound exactly the same; this will trigger most review platforms (Google, Yelp, etc.) to flag your profile and maybe even delete it
- You won’t get to hear what your customers really have to say about your business; it may be even better than what you’ve provided!
- This unethical practice may damage your business’ reputation and make it look like you care more about what you want your customers to think rather than what they truly want to say
These side effects could ultimately leave a bad taste in your customer’s mouths and keep them from coming back, even if their initial experience was pleasant.
Instead, you can offer a couple of questions to help prompt their own individual responses. These may include:
- What brought you to our business?
- Were you able to find what you were looking for?
- What stood out the most to you about our business versus others?
- What can we improve upon?
These questions are designed to bring a fuller narrative to the review. It will also show potential customers where you succeed and you can use their suggestions for improvement to make your business that much better!
3. “Don’t Leave Until You Review Us!”
Another way to “solve” your customers’ writer’s block? Make them leave a review before they’ve left the door!
In some cases, businesses will go out of their way to encourage – AKA force – their customers to leave their thoughts before they leave. They will put pressure on their customer, ultimately giving them no other choice than to leave a few words before they can go on with the rest of their life.
This practice doesn’t work for a couple of reasons:
- You know that “used car salesman” vibe? This will be the first thing your customers think of as soon as you start to get pushy with the ask.
- Even if they leave a good review in your shop, they can go back and edit later. So, even if they feel pressured to leave a 5-star review right then and there, they will likely go home, change it to a 1-star, and complain about your pushy practices.
- Because they are more likely to complain, you’ll find yourself with more negative reviews than positive ones, which defeats the purpose of pushing them to leave feedback right then and there.
In other words, this practice is likely to completely backfire on you and your business.
Instead of pushing them to review then and there, ask them if you can simply send them a link right on the spot. Use our free app to text them a link they can choose to utilize at their leisure. This way, you’re making it easy for them to leave a review whenever is most convenient to them.
4. “Our Business Will Fail Unless You Leave Us a Review…”
Small businesses are incredibly impactful. Not only does purchasing from a small business make a bigger impact on the individual employees and their families, but even the small things will impact the company’s success as well.
This means a few great reviews can significantly affect the number of customers, clients, and leads a business receives which, in turn, will have a great impact on that business’ success. With that much at stake, it’s easy to want to guilt your customers by explaining how their review could make or break your business.
Yet, doing so not only puts unnecessary pressure on your customer but may also position your business as desperate. While this may be true, your job is to position your company as the go-to guide for your customers, rather than the business they feel pressured to support because it may otherwise fail.
Instead of putting this pressure on your customers, reframe the ask by offering to share their story with future customers. Lean on that small, local business benefit of creating close relationships with those who impact your company the most. When you put the spotlight on them, they’re much more likely to want to share their story and experience with future customers.
With our free app, it’s easy to send a link to the review right on the spot, even if you operate in multiple locations. Once your employees have downloaded it, they can send a custom link to your customers’ phones within seconds of completing their transaction.
Not only does this give you a better chance of getting that Google review even before they leave, but you will also be able to capitalize on the personal connection that your employees have established with the customer.