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Many consumers check customer reviews before they make any purchase, whether it be a $30 pair of pants or a $40,000 investment in accounting software. As such, it’s essential for companies to continually ask for reviews from their happy customers.
Over the ten plus years that I’ve spent asking customers for reviews for our B2B web design agency, I have learned the best approach for securing reviews. In this post, I share several tips to help you successfully solicit reviews for your company.
6 Tips for Asking for Reviews
1. Be Strategic
It’s not a wise policy to ask every client for a review, so don’t build a process that includes automatically asking them to leave a review. You want to be strategic about who you ask to write a review for several reasons:
- It’s time-consuming.
- It makes them think critically about their relationship with your company.
- It puts pressure on them to be truthful.
- It can make them uncomfortable.
Let’s break this down a little bit.
First, whether it takes 5 minutes to leave a review on a site like UpCity or 30 minutes to be interviewed by a third-party review site, it’s an investment of time. Even if it only takes five minutes to leave a review, that’s five minutes that your client could spend answering emails, completing a task, or even grabbing a fresh cup of coffee.
Leaving a review is a time where your client will evaluate what works and does not work in their relationship with your company. In other words, they will evaluate whether it’s worthwhile to work with you. Only ask clients who you are absolutely certain are 100% pleased with your services or product.
For a few people, every review they leave is positive and glowing, no matter what. For the rest of us, we often feel pressure to be honest and transparent – which can lead to sharing the good and the bad. Be prepared for that. Even if a client is 100% happy with your services, there may have been 1 thing that was late or not quite right or was wrong and fixed later. This is actually OK (as long as it’s been fixed), since it shows that while your firm strives for perfection, you are ready to address any issues or errors.
Lastly, even if you have a close or long-time relationship with a client, they may feel uncomfortable leaving a review. You can easily address this by leaving them an out in your request for an interview. This way, they don’t feel uncomfortable with your ask and can tactfully decline if they don’t want to leave a review.
2. Build Rapport with Your Clients
You don’t have to be buddy-buddy with your clients to ask them for a review. You do, however, have to build a rapport with them. In some cases, this means you will be good friends. In others, it means that you have a good working relationship that demonstrates mutual respect.
Before you ask for a review, you want to ensure that you have a solid relationship with the client and know a bit about them both professionally and personally. This can include things like whether they like wine, or are a long-distance runner, or travel abroad frequently, or have an MBA from UCLA, or love sports. People like to make connections and bond over mutual interests or to share their own passions. Recognizing that and focusing on that will help you to build rapport which will make it easier to ask them for a review.
3. Make It Easy
Keep in mind that your client is taking time out of their day to leave you a review. Make leaving the review as easy as possible. For example, when you request a review on UpCity, you send the client a link to leave the review in an email and communicate to them that the whole process will take 5-10 minutes.
Most review sites require the client be logged into the platform or a social platform like Facebook or LinkedIn to verify the review. Include any necessary directions for your client to leave the review and/or to make the process easy for them. They have enough to do without trying to figure out how to leave a review on a specific platform.
Don’t be afraid to follow-up after a bit of time has passed, if the client hasn’t responded to your request or hasn’t left the review. Use your best judgement on what is a reasonable amount of time for the follow-up. In some cases, it might be two weeks and in others it might be a month or more. If you have any insight into their work schedule or anything major happening in their life, that might affect your timing as well.
For example, if you know they just implemented new software or are in the process of doing so, they may not have time to leave a review. However, when you know the software implementation is complete, you can follow-up as your client may have bandwidth to leave a review.
5. Be Gracious and Grateful
This seems like common sense, but with how fast things move, people can take it for granted that a client has taken time out of their day to draft a review. Always be gracious and grateful when your client leaves a review. You don’t need to send them a gift, but it’s a nice touch to do so. At the very minimum, take the time to draft them a thank you note or email and let them know they can reach out to you if they need anything in the future. There may come a time when they do need a favor from you, so make sure to leave that door open.
6. Build It into Your Process
In order to have a steady stream of new reviews, it’s important to build the request for reviews into your thought process. It should be top of mind and something you consider when you bring on a new client or wrap up a project. However, before you ask, consider the tips above to make sure this client will be the right choice.