One of the biggest barriers standing in the way of collecting more online reviews for your business is also the easiest to overcome. All you need to do is ask your customers. A recent survey found that seven out of 10 consumers said they would be willing to leave a review when asked. If it’s that easy, then why do so many of us fail to do so.

For many of us, it comes down to culture. We would be more than willing to help someone else out, but don’t want to place that burden on others. The crazy thing is when many people are asked to do a favor, they don’t look at it as a burden. Their perception is that you value them and their relationship if you’re willing to ask them for a favor. In fact, when someone does you a favor, it doesn’t place a strain on that relationship. It can make that relationship even stronger.

One of the hardest parts about asking for a review is knowing not only when but also how to ask for a review. Below we’ll walk you through best practices ask for a review of your business along with tips and tricks we’ve learned from our top customers.

When is the best time to ask for a review?

Unfortunately, there isn’t going to be a time that works for every business. As a general rule, we recommend trying to capitalize on the moment in the sale where the customer has some downtime to leave the review while they are still onsite.

If you’re working in the auto industry, this typically comes when the sale is complete and the customer is waiting to sign paperwork in financing. If you’ve ever purchased a car, think about how you felt at this time. Usually, you’re on cloud nine because you’re about to drive out of the dealership with a new car. Most customers would be happy to leave a review at this point, especially if the salesperson has been helpful throughout the process.

For doctors or dentists, the optimal time might be at the conclusion of the consultation, right after the patient has visited the doctor and is meeting with the front desk. The key is to do it when the service is still top of mind. The longer you wait, the less likely it will be that the customer or patient leaves a review.

How should you ask for a review?

Once you’ve determined the right timing of the invitation, you need to decide the best way to ask for a review. Our customers who have seen the biggest success are doing so via text message. Unlike email, text messages have high click-through and read rates. Text messages are fast becoming the preferred communication channel for many consumers, especially millennials.

Right before you reach the predetermined time to invite your customers, your employees should set the stage by saying something like, “I’ve really enjoyed helping you today. Would it be alright if I sent you a text message right now with a link to review our business? It typically takes less than a minute to leave a review. We take feedback from our customers very seriously because we want to ensure every customer has a good experience.”

This invitation hit all of the key talking points we suggest using when setting the expectation for the invite, which are:

  1. When they will receive the invite (right now)
  2. Why reviews are important (we value customer feedback)
  3. How they will receive the invite (via text)

When you set the expectation before sending the invite, customers are more likely to agree to leave a review.

Who should you ask for a review?

Finally, you might be wondering which customers you should ask to review your business. What we typically suggest is ask all of your customers. The reason is it helps ensure your reviews are representative of what it’s like to actually do business with you. If you are only asking happy customers to leave a review, then your overall star rating might not be accurate. If a customer’s experience doesn’t match up with what the reviews say, their trust of reviews could diminish.

The best way to ensure that most, if not all of your customers, are sent a review invitation is to implement an online review management platform that streamlines the process. Doing so will give you the ability to track which employees are sending the most invites, how many of those invites result in a review, and manage customer engagement on all of your review sites from a single dashboard.

Matt Boyce
Matt Boyce Head of SMB Marketing

Matt Boyce is a marketing and business professional at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

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