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The Ultimate Guide to Gathering and Using Reviews

Last edited: 22.06.2022

métrica para medir la fidelidad de los clientes

Have you ever wondered how other businesses get so many reviews?

I’ll let you in on a secret. They ask their customers for them. 72% of people who were asked to write a review wrote one.

If you think that online reviews are only important for online shops and B2C businesses in general, you are horribly mistaken. 92,4% of B2B customers are more likely to buy a product or service once they have read a review about it.

online reviews matter

We all claim to be the best at what we do, but prospective customers see right through our carefully crafted brand image and ask other people if you can be trusted.

Building trust is as important (if not even more important) in a B2B context than it is for B2C businesses. How to build trust in our increasingly online world where you might not meet your customers face to face like you used to?

By reading this article, you’ll learn:

  • How online reviews are impacting purchasing decisions in B2C and B2B sectors
  • What types of review collecting would work for you
  • How to get (more) online customer reviews and video reviews
  • How to utilize the existing and new reviews
  • How to turn your review pool into a lead generating machine

Why Reviews Can Make or Break Your Business?

Let’s go over how B2B and B2C customers typically end up making their mind between products or services.

Think about the last time you wanted to buy a new phone (or any other product or service). You’ve been loyal to the same brand for some years now, but are wondering if the new model from another brand would be better after all.

research stage of sales funnel

The typical consumer goes online to:

  • compare different options and their key features
  • compare prices
  • read what other users have said (aka. social proof)

After their initial search, they’ll most probably ask friends, family and colleagues what kind of user experience they’ve had with the top two choices

There are many factors that influence the purchasing decision (price, looks, whether you are happy with the current brand or not), but one of the most important factors is what other people you can relate to have thought about the product.

Especially with pricey investments, people tend to look for authentic reviews from multiple channels. Youtube, TikTok and Reddit are filled with unpaid consumer reviews, and these are the ones we tend to trust the most.

If you can incorporate this level of authenticity to the reviews you have on your own website and use in marketing, you’ll be able to create a positive buzz around your brand.

B2B, B2C, Corporations, Local Businesses – Every Business Needs Online Reviews

Even a huge international brand such as Philips has realized the potential that lies in having customer reviews as a part of its online presence.

“At Philips, we have gotten closer to the consumer by using user-generated content. We see an increased conversion whenever it is implemented in the consumer journey. We have a 180% buy-button increase and an organic search increase, and we get a lot of customer insights from our product reviews” Valerie Goncalves, Global Lead, Ratings & Reviews and UGC

Goncalves mentions three important factors that are made possible by asking for customer reviews and posting them:

  1. Significant buy-button increase
  2. Increase in organic search results
  3. Getting customer insights

Even though Philips is an international corporation, the same principles apply to small businesses as well.

If you aren’t already convinced that you need to have a review system in place, go through the following list and think again.

9 Reasons Online Reviews Are Relevant in 2022

All the reasons below are relevant for both B2B and B2C companies. You should read the list extra carefully, if your business sells software, as reviews play an essential part in the decision-making process of buyers in your niche.

Let’s start off with the most important aka. how having customer reviews affects your sales.

1. Online reviews will increase your sales

When you have put in the work and created a well-functioning product or service, you need to post the most recent reviews alongside with it to let others know what current users think about it. This will convince them that you are reliable.

By adding customer reviews to your online marketing campaigns, you can get a whopping 140% increase in conversion. Feel free to go through our previous article on 5 great customer reviews examples and how to get them.

Trust me, it’s not hard to find one customer that is willing to write a positive review.

For the B2B sector, you can get online reviews both from a business profile or from specific people that are your contact people within the company. It doesn’t matter which kind of customer feedback it is, as long as you get your customer to leave reviews in the first place.

🚀Once you have customer reviews, place them ON-PAGE to get the most out of them

According to Bazaarvoice, having detailed reviews on your website bring 3.5 times more conversions than those without.

Other relevant reasons include:

  1. Reviews help build trust
  2. Provide social proof for your website
  3. Demonstrate quality
  4. Give you an opportunity to interact with customers
  5. You can create a customer feedback loop
  6. Improve SEO rankings
  7. Create a halo effect

Types of Impactful Online Reviews

There are many types of online reviews, but here are the three most common types that’ll impact your business’ reputation.

  1. Reviews from feedback
  2. Customer testimonials
  3. Online review websites (Google, Yelp, Amazon, G2, …)
types of customer reviews

When you have online reviews, you’ll be able to start a positive cycle. You serve customers well, get reviews, learn from the issues that rose, and make changes. It’s a never-ending process!

When you request reviews, try to motivate your reviewers to tell about your products and services in their own words. Having only a high star rating doesn’t tell anyone much. It can even be interpreted as being fake. Furthermore, a few typos within the reviews here and there will just increase their impact.

Whenever I’m shopping for anything online, I often skip the description the company has written about the product and jump straight to what other consumers have said.

Help prospective new customers to choose you over your competitors by offering them more than posting that one five star review you got.

typos increase credibility of reviews

If you don’t have any online reviews to put on your product page, start collecting new reviews now.

Here are some free articles that will help you get started.

2. People look up reviews posted before buying

How often do you check customer reviews on a new product or service you are thinking about buying?

(I check multiple review websites for cross referencing. You can never be too sure nowadays.)

And have you ever bought anything that had a negative review online?

Me neither. But don’t take my word on it. Trust the research.

research on online reviews

According to the Local Consumer Review Survey 2020, people see online reviews more and more important each year.

  • In 2020, 94% of consumers were more likely to trust a business after seeing a positive online review. That’s a 3% increase from the previous year.
  • As much as 79% (3% more than in 2019!) trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • If you’re hungry for more statistics, check out our free resources on online statistics that’ll blow your mind

In our experience, retailers have internalized this better than the B2B field.

3. The more reviews you have, the more credible you are

It matters how many people have reviewed your business. (Note that the overall number of reviews you have also includes negative reviews.)

As we are constantly influenced by the unconscious phenomenon social proof, it’s important that you offer your prospective clients solid proof that you are worthy of their money.

effect of social proof

Yup, we always trust the masses.

4. Reviews generate more reviews

Once you have your momentum going and you have received some positive reviews to post, post them. Now. Everywhere. Share them on social media, pin on Google, add to your website…

First off, when you collect and post reviews you are doing important reputation management that will pay off in the long run. But most importantly, your customers see that others have left a review for you and are more likely to leave reviews as well.

One of our customers tested that if they gather reviews and insert an example of what others have replied, it multiplied the number of public written responses they got.

Here’s a useful form to use when asking consumers to write you a review.

formula to ask for reviews

If you ever thought that getting positive customer feedback that you can publish is tedious work, take another look at the previous picture.

See that little “I want to publish my feedback, I have read the privacy policy” box? If your customer clicks there while giving you feedback, you have the permission to publish their feedback as a review right away without having to bother them by asking again, as they’ve already agreed.

In case you want to manage customer reviews that you have scattered around different online review sites, you can do that with our software.

5. Authentic customer reviews increase trust in your brand

It should be made clear from which source the reviews are gathered. It might be a good idea to collect reviews by using a third party review sites to prove the authenticity of the reviews.

In case you have reviews on Facebook, Google, Capterra, G2 or even in excel sheets, you should import them to Trustmary now. That way you can start using them on your website too!

authenticity of customer reviews

Your potential customers are interested in how transparent you are in posting reviews. It’s important to do reputation management, but don’t take it too far.

As many as 62% of consumers don’t buy from brands that clearly censor their reviews online. We trust businesses that don’t hide negative comments, but rather post them and give personalized responses to them.

don't censor reviews online

In other words, let the positive, but also the negative reviews stay on your company website.

6. Reviews are your customers’ way of talking with you

Even though the conversation might be done openly online and your dirty laundry might be aired in public, this is a great way for you to learn what you are doing well and what you can improve.

reviews feedback loop

You might also be able to convince a disappointed customer to become happy again by offering great service and fixing the issues they mentioned.

Always offer your customers a way to give you feedback and remember to respond. This sort of open dialogue also creates transparency which make customers more likely to buy from you, as they know you are responsive and care what customers think.

If your customers feel that they are important and their opinions and worries are listened to, they are also more likely to stick with you. Collecting customer reviews is a great way to increase brand loyalty.

7. You can build your reputation with word of mouth marketing

When you aren’t simply blowing your own horn, but letting your happy customers speak for you, you are creating a positive buzz around yourself. Word of mouth marketing (WOM) means that your customers are talking good things about you to their friends, relatives or colleagues.

A great American publisher and author William Feather pointed out already a century ago that everyone should praise themselves loudly.

“Blow your own horn loud. If you succeed, people will forgive your noise; if you fail, they’ll forget it.”

But an American actor, comedian and cowboy, Will Rogers, had a better understanding on how to more effectively spread the word about your business.

“Get some else to blow your horn and the sound will carry twice as far.”

During the recent years, word of mouth marketing has become more and more popular among big and small businesses. Word of mouth marketing means that your customers are talking good things about you to their friends, relatives or colleagues.

No matter if you are a corporate CEO or a small business owner, you should use positive reviews to boost your exposure on search engines. Building a reputation is crucial for small businesses and having reviews on your site and social media is a great place to start.

Curious about how word of mouth marketing is affecting your business? Read one of our free articles on +35 word of mouth marketing statistics.

8. Reviews contribute to 10% of Google SERP ranking

The SERPs determine how your site appears on Google’s first page. There are two main categories: paid and organic results. People often skip the paid ones, so focus on getting yourself on top of that organic results list.

(kuva https://backlinko.com/hub/seo/serps)

In other words, having customer reviews on your site can make you rank higher and having none at all will make it impossible to rank up in the search results.

Factors search engines consider regarding reviews:

  1. Number of reviews
  2. Velocity of customer reviews
  3. Diversity
  4. Number of platforms
  5. Sentiment
  6. Keywords in text
  7. Responses to reviews
search engines consider regarding reviews

Tips on how to respond to positive reviews and what to do when someone gives you negative feedback.

9. Your click-through rate (CTR) will improve

Your CTR lets you know how relevant searchers are finding your ads. If your CTR is high, it means that you are targeting the right people with the right kind of message.

CTR = Number of clicks your ad receives : the number of times your ad is shown

click through rate formula

How are CTR and customer reviews connected?

According to a study done by BrightLocal, having a 5-star rating will get you 39% more clicks than having a 1-star rating.

If you can increase your rating from three stars to five, your CTR will increase by 25%.

To put it simpler: If you get people to click on your ad, you have a high chance of getting them to buy from you. After all, they were interested enough to click on the ad to end up on your website.

Note that any reviews won’t do the trick. They have to be positive to increase your CTR. Especially local small businesses should be aware of having a lower rating than a three star rating in Google Local Pack.

This chart shows the variance in CTR for different star ratings compared to having no stars at all.

If a company has a lower than a three star rating, it’s more beneficial to hide it from the Google Local Pack and to work on increasing that rating to be at least three stars.

How to increase your rating? First get to the bottom of why your rating is lower than three stars. Start collecting customer feedback and improve your customer experience accordingly. You can find our free article on how to automate your review collection flow completely.

Forms of Reviews

There are many different types of reviews and this section will go over them in detail and provides you with concrete examples on how to use them.

Product reviews

Product reviews focus on the quality and performance of the product. In an ideal situation, the customers writing product reviews only rate the product and don’t pay any attention to possible delivery times, customer service or any other factor that is not directly tied to the product.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a great tool for gathering product reviews.

When to ask for product reviews?

  • First impressions: Did the product meet your expectations? Why/Why not? How would you describe your first impressions after using it?
  • After a few days or weeks of using: Has it performed as well as you thought?
  • Long-term use: When was the last time you used the product? Is it still living up to your expectations?

Concrete example on how to get product reviews:

Even though this example is about a physical product, the same formula can be used for services. You just need to modify the formulation of the questions to fit the purpose.

Then to the example:

Mike has ordered premium hiking shoes from the company’s website.

He is asked to leave feedback:

1.While receiving the shoes

  • He gets the shoes and is excited. At the top of the shoe box there is a QR code and a text “Psst. Could you do us a small favor? Read this QR code and let us know your first impressions of our shoes! We are extremely grateful for all feedback, as it help us improve. You can describe, for example, the fit, looks, feel of the materials.”

2.After two weeks of using

  • Mike gets an email. “Hey Mike, thank you for your offer. You’ve now had the chance to try our premium hiking shoes for two weeks. Have they lived up to your expectations? You can help others find their perfect fit by giving us a product review here. It’ll only take a minute of your time. We value your opinion!”.

3.After six to twelve months of using

  • “Hey Mike, thank you for your offer. You’ve now had the chance to try our premium hiking shoes for x months. Have they lived up to your expectations? How much have you used them? Is the quality still up to our high standards? It would be great if you could include a picture or a video of how your shoes look like now. All feedback help us to improve and our future customers to find their perfect fit!”

By having an optimized and automated system to collect product feedback, you’ll get more and more insight on your products. Even if you get negative reviews, post and react to them. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Shop reviews

Shop reviews are based on the performance of the business. It includes factors such as:

  • Delivery times
  • Packaging
  • Customer support
  • General look of the store/website

It doesn’t include anything about the products or services they’re selling. Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Effect Score (CES) are great ways to measure the customer experience of your shop.

When to ask for shop reviews?

  • While people are in your physical location or on your website: “Did you find what you were looking for?”
  • After purchasing: “How easy was it to buy from our store?”
  • After delivering a product: “Was the package up to standards? How about the delivery time?”
  • After each customer service interaction: “Were we able to solve your problem?”

Concrete example on how to get shop reviews at different stages:

Let’s have a look at another possible scenario Mike might have had with the hiking shoes.

Mike visited the physical store to buy hiking shoes. He was able to try the shoes on to find his size, but he store didn’t have his size in stock. Together with the personnel, Mike ordered the right size from their online store.

Mike was asked to write reviews:

  • Before leaving the store with NPS
  • There is a short link and QR code on the exit door and in the mirrors in the fitting rooms, which ask for general opinion about their experience with a NPS survey.
  • “How likely are you to recommend a friend or a colleague to come to our store?”
  • “What influenced your answer?”
  • After placing the order with CES:
  • “How easy (on a scale of 1-5) was it to find what you were looking for?”
  • “What would have made it easier?”
  • After receiving the order with NPS (CES would work as well):
  • NPS: “How likely are you to recommend us to your friend or colleagues based on the delivery of your product?”
  • CES: “How happy (on a scale of 1-5) are you with the delivery of your product in terms of delivery time and packaging?”
  • Every time Mike has to chat with customer service he gets a link to his email:
  • “How well were we able to solve you problem today?”

It’s important to always offer the chance to give feedback and write reviews, so that you understand your clients better.

If you find it difficult to identify the customer touch points in which you should ask for feedback, we’re more than happy to help you.

We’re able to help you make review requests an automated process with our intelligent review platform. That way, your customers leave reviews and you can focus on your core business instead of collecting reviews by hand.

Business reviews

Business review has two meanings which differ slightly from one another:

It can refer to:

  • Periodic in-house meetings that are held to review operational performance, discuss individual or team scorecards and to make plans for the future.
  • Other people reviewing your business (often by using a third party review sites)

If you are talking about the latter meaning of the concept, business reviews is basically just a synonym for shop reviews. While the first means that you are checking how well you are doing and what kind of reviews you’ve got.

When you ask your customers to give you business reviews, it might be a good idea to consider using an online review site instead your own website for that.

There are two reasons for that:

  • It comes across as more authentic and not as screened
  • You can focus on analyzing the results (rather than wasting time on collecting answers)

Which one of them are you more likely to reply honestly to? Or at all?

Local reviews

Local reviews are reviews for businesses that have a physical location. They are a more specific type of shop or business review.

Even if you are only operating in the physical world, you need to make sure your customers can find your local business online as well. Nowadays, people use online reviews to research all types of businesses ranging from coffee shops to phone operators.

Having recent and up-to-date user-generated content (aka online reviews) posted online will boost your search results. Furthermore, 90 % of consumers read online review before visiting a business.

how many people read online reviews

Importance of Local Reviews

To clarify their importance, let’s take the following scenario:

Let’s imagine that you have just arrived at a new city and you are in desperate need to find something to eat, fast.

How do you solve this problem?

  • Go to the first place you see
  • Walk around looking for something that looks nice
  • Look online (Google/Tripadvisor/Yelp…)

Here’s my thought process so you can compare with yours:

  • I open Google Maps on my phone and click the “Restaurants” tab to look for restaurants near me

2. I click the “Open now” to filter out places that are closed now. Google immediately recommends a restaurant for me.

3. I assess the restaurant with the information Google is giving me:

  • 4,6 star rating from 376 people. Nice.
  • Not too expensive.
  • Pictures of the place look nice.
  • Ohh but there’s no dine-in option for the time being.

Okay, moving on.

4. I then browse the next option Google offers me.

  • 4,2 star rating from 181 people, that’s okay
  • “Relaxed coffee shop with light bites”, sounds great

This might be it, maybe I’ll check the third one

5. Third option has 4,5 stars from 1244 people! But it’s a hotel and there’s nothing about the food here.

6. Okay, I’m super hungry, I’ll go with option two.

Key notions of the exercise:

  • First off, make sure your business name is written correctly so people can find you
  • Encourage people to review your business on different review sites (Small businesses especially! You’re fighting against the big guns here)
  • Write a short company bio to the relevant review sites
  • Make sure your business profile is complete and includes exactly what you offer

How local reviews influence your local online presence

Google gives you plenty of filters to choose from when you are looking for a place to eat. The most relevant for understanding the importance of local reviews is the rating-section.

If your business doesn’t have a star rating of at least 3,5 stars, you won’t be shown at all. No matter how good your services are or how close you are to the person googling.

If you have a brand new restaurant (or any type of new business), you might have a hard time getting yourself shown on any service at first. But I’ve good news for you: by focusing on doing your core business well and constantly asking for reviews will get you recognized online sooner or later.

Conclusion on different types of reviews

Every business should have as many types of reviews possible, as they tell completely different stories. It’s important to focus on getting a variety of online reviews from product to business reviews and through different channels. And don’t forget to post reviews!

Most important facts to think about:
  • If you don’t have a handful of product reviews for each of your products and services, start gathering them now. People want to know first-hand information about what they’re buying.
  • Post each review you get, as negative reviews will increase the authenticity of all the reviews
  • The more expensive your product or service is, the more reviews you should have to showcase its usefulness (We all want to avoid high risk-low reward kind of scenarios at all costs).

Did I miss a review type? Let me know in the comments or email me directly.

5 Most Commonly Used Review Platforms

The following section will showcase the 5 most commonly used online review platforms. It contains pros and cons of each platform. You’ll also find our evaluation of what businesses the software is especially suitable for.

The review websites can be divided into two categories:

  • General review sites (Google, Facebook, Amazon)
  • Niche review sites (Capterra, Angie’s list)

It’s important to realize that you should claim your business on at least all of the following five review platforms. Here’s a guide on how to find the best online review software for your needs.

We’ll go over the general sites, as 80% of consumers look at them first while researching local businesses, while 33% of these 80% also look at niche review sites.

General review sites:

1. Google Reviews

Google is one of the most used searched engines globally. If you’ve done your search engine optimization (SEO) work well, getting many positive reviews on Google will make you rank higher on search pages.

Google’s search algorithms emphasize three different characteristics on reviews:

  • Number of them
  • The pace with which you get them
  • Where your reviews are coming from (diversity)

In other words, you need to have an all-encompassing tactic in place to get constant positive online reviews to rank higher.

The higher you are on the search pages, the more credible you seem. The more credible you seem, the more likely people are to contact you. It’s a never-ending cycle that you need to get going.

Furthermore, having a good star ranking from many people will get your Google My Business listed as one of the first results.

Pros:
  • Increase your visibility locally
  • Once you make the first search page, your business will attract more customers
  • Increased online exposure in general
  • An easy way for your customers to review you publicly by giving you business reviews
  • Improved click-through rates
  • Get customer feedback (positive and negative) and customer insights (as they are signed in)
Cons
  • Google demands a lot to become a top-tier search result
  • Building your online presence will take time and work. Trust me, those people aren’t just lucky to be on the first search page, they’ve worked for it.
  • Small local businesses might not have the resources to compete against bigger players
  • Phony reviews can trash your reputation
  • Your customer needs to be logged into their Google account
  • No way to leave anonymous feedback
  • No product reviews

Especially good for:

  • All businesses (70% of online searches go through Google)
  • Operators in the food industry (restaurants, coffee shops, etc.)

If you are interested in reading more about how you can get more organic Google reviews, we’re written an article you might find interesting.

2. Facebook reviews

The principle of Facebook ratings are similar to Google ratings: People can leave reviews for any company while being logged in.

One major difference is that Facebook is also a social networking platform where people are interacting with the people in their network, uploading photos and videos while following business profiles and leaving them business reviews. On Facebook, people can also comment on other people’s reviews.

Pros:

  • Easy to give reviews, as users are already logged in
  • Companies can easily have conversations with customers
  • Your customers may share the review they gave you with their network (Free advertisement!)
  • You get business reviews
  • If people start to follow your business page, every post you make is an ad that reaches your target audience

Cons:

  • Needing to update your business’ Facebook page (people are more likely to review you, if you write there yourself)
  • Enabling giving reviews to your Facebook business Page needs to be activated manually
  • Your unhappy customers may share their negative reviews to their network
  • No way to get product reviews
  • Fake accounts may trash your reputation

Especially important for:

  • Local, service-based businesses (beauty industry, massage therapists, plumbers, etc.)
  • Small businesses when they’ve just started out

3. Yelp

Yelp aims to connect people with their local businesses. Yelp users who often review businesses are referred to as “yelpers”.

Pros:

  • Includes different categories where people can browse lists made by users (for example, Quick Snacks in Helsinki, Best Nightclubs in Toronto, Travel Guide: Milan)
  • Offers insights to users about your business (“family-owned and operated”, average delay in responding, years in business, languages spoken, etc.)
  • People can leave you business reviews
  • You can reply and react to the yelp reviews
  • Other people can react to the yelp reviews given
  • It’s easier to spot possible fake accounts, as the total number of reviews written is shown after each person’s name.
  • Your customers can upload photos

Cons:

  • Having to update your page
  • If yelp reviewers aren’t happy with your service, their review may affect your business negatively
  • You need to pay to be a verified business
  • No way to control if people are rating your services, quality of products or giving a general business review

Especially important for:

  • Restaurants and nightlife
  • Local services (renovations, painters, photographers, etc.)
  • Entertainment

4. Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Better Business Bureau isn’t something you can impact, as it’s a non-profit organization that helps American, Canadian and Mexican consumers to find businesses and charities they can trust.

It’s one of the oldest and most trusted independent online review sites. The BBB allows you to check reviews, find claims made against the company as well as general ratings of a specific company.

You can look for different type of businesses in your area.

The ratings range from A+ to F (highest to lowest) and BBB might even leave you unrated in case they don’t have sufficient information about you.

Pros:

  • Trusted by consumers
  • No need to constantly post content on the platform
  • The first filter it offers is “distance” (instead of rating), so you have a chance to be chosen even without the best possible rating

Cons:

  • They don’t have comprehensive lists of all businesses, which can confuse your potential customers if they look for you.
  • To be listed on the BBB, you need to submit a request for it to be added.
  • If you want to become a BBB accredited business, you need to be selected, go through evaluation and uphold the set standards.

Especially important for:

  • American, Canadian and Mexican companies and charities that operate in the B2C field
  • Auto repair shops, home improvement, tree services, etc.

5. Trustpilot

Trustpilot is open to every company and consumer everywhere. They promote and protect trust between companies and their customers.

Pros:

  • Trusted by consumers
  • Free to claim an account
  • No need to constantly post content on Trustpilot
  • Other customers can find your business by browsing the categories
  • Can be added to your website

Cons:

  • No control over what is said about you
  • Companies should claim their Trustpilot account and they have to be actively asking for reviews to be shown in the search results
  • Customers need to be signed in to their Trustpilot account to review businesses

Especially important for:

  • All businesses ranging from corporations to small businesses
  • E-commerce businesses

Conclusion on Review Platforms

If you get a lot of positive online reviews on these platforms, it’ll inevitably lead to getting more customers as well. With Trustmary, you can import existing reviews and start using them to generate more leads.

The tricky part is how to get more reviews from consumers and B2B partners. More about that in the next section.

How to Get More Quality Reviews?

Do you want to hear the secret ingredient for getting more quality reviews?

Spoiler Alert if you haven’t watched Kung Fu Panda!

At the end of the movie, the main character Po finds out:

there is no secret ingredient

The same applies to getting quality reviews. It’s all about YOU.

I mean, you can start to ask for customer feedback in all stages of your customer journey and spend (hundreds of) hours on improving your review collection process, but BEFORE you do that ask yourself:

  • Why should anyone buy from my company in the first place?
  • What is the customer experience actually like?

You don’t have to go undercover in your own company in a disguise to figure this out. Before you spend any energy on getting a lot of reviews, you need to make sure that you are doing your core business well. To be able to do that, constantly ask for customer feedback.

The Formula to Getting Great Reviews:

Disclaimer: Never buy any type of reviews. It’ll have a negative impact on your brand and it’s even prohibited in Google’s terms of service.

  1. Request reviews in different stages of your customer journey
  2. Respond to all of them in a polite manner
  3. Learn from the answers and improve your business
  4. Post the reviews (website, on-page, social media,…)

Following the formula will lead to having a happier client base as they feel their opinions are valued. At the same time, it gets easier to get new customers when they can see that other people love you.

Happy customers are the essence for getting reviews

Humans are wired to notice the negatives over the positives. That is a survival mechanism that has helped our ancestors survive. In the modern world, this trait leads us to notice and remember the bad experiences far longer than the good ones.

Even though it might sometimes be hard for us in general to notice the positive things, we all value good customer service. No matter what business you are doing, you need to make sure you are serving your customers well.

Your happy customers form the group that bring you the most money and will recommend you to their peers. The White House Office of Consumer Affairs has estimated that loyal customers are worth as much as ten times their initial purchase.

Happy customers aren’t just the most loyal customers, but they also help you grow your business organically.

To know if your customers are happy or not, you need to ask them for feedback. If you’re doing a great job and your customer base is in general really happy with you and your services, you’ll immediately get quality reviews.

If that’s the case, congrats and you can close this tab on your computer.

If that’s not the case quite yet, keep on reading to find out:

  • How to phrase review requests
  • If you should use incentives to get reviews
  • When is the best time to request reviews

The way you phrase it, matters

This section can be shortened down to one sentence. Are you ready?

After your customers have bought anything from you,

ask them to do you a favor by reviewing your business or the product they bought.

The secret here is that asking them for a favor lessens the feeling that they are obligated to review you. This will lead to them being more likely to review you.

No matter which review platform you are using, I urge you to try this right away. I’m confident that it’ll make a noticeable difference in your answer rates.

Incentivizing reviews

This is a tricky topic. In my opinion, you get the most authentic feedback and reviews when there are no strings attached. If you are using Google or Yelp and they catch you using incentives to get reviews, you’ll be penalized. It’s against their user laws.

If you’re in a situation where you aren’t getting reviews even though you constantly ask for them, first try to focusing on improving your customer service and paying attention to which forms you are using to collect reviews. Maybe the review platform you are using is too complicated for your target audience?

Once people are happy with your services and you’re offering them an easy way to give feedback and reviews, you’ll start to get them.

You should never pay for reviews, as most review platforms will ban you if you get caught. And you will get caught.

However, there are many customer loyalty strategies you can use to try to motivate your customers to review you:

Direct incentives:

  • Offer discount codes for reviewing
  • Organize a lottery
  • People can take part by reviewing you and you’ll draw a gift card with the respondents
  • Send free samples to consumers and ask for a review in return
  • Give loyalty points reviewers can use in your store later

For example, ExpressionMed has tied incentives to their loyalty program. They also have plenty of user pictures, because they have made it easy for their customers to leave a picture.

For a relatively small business, 1303 online reviews with a 5 star rating is phenomenal.

Indirect incentives:

  • Give a discount code as a thank you after reviewing and without telling about it beforehand
  • Getting early access to products after reviewing the previous version

Harvard Business Review experimented on how incentives affected people’s reviews. In one of their experiments they asked diners to review their meals after they had already eaten it. Half of the diners were promised a $1 Amazon gift card and the other half wasn’t offered anything.

The results were mind-blowing:

  • The people who received the gift card used positive language 55% more than the control group.
  • The analysis was done by AI and human judges.
  • They both rated the language to be 70% more positive than the reviews of the people who weren’t promised anything.

This would mean that offering even a small incentive would make people use more positive language. However, if positive reviews are inaccurate, they’ll possibly lead to disappointment and backlash.

If you use incentives to get reviews

  • Encourage the people to tell accurately about their experiences
  • Make it clear that if a specific review was incentivized

Timing is everything

Have you ever asked for a review after someone gave you positive feedback?

By combining feedback surveys and review gathering will give make this process super effective. With Trustmary, you can ask for feedback, after which customers can decide if they want to give it anonymously or with their name. They can also choose at this stage whether they give their permission to publish their feedback.

Furthermore, with our software you can quickly ask get an overview of what your company’s NPS is and to ask for video reviews from the ones that gave you a 9 or 10. (And what would be more convincing than actually hearing the words coming from your customer’s mouth or seeing a product in use?)

How to Leverage Reviews You Get?

Once you get reviews, it’s important to start using them effectively at each stage of your customer journey. Here are some examples on how to use user-generated content divided by different stages:

Awareness stage:

  • Use reviews in ads both in printed flyers and on social media
  • You can even try tv ads that are based on reviews
  • Share online reviews on your social media
  • “See what our client Jane said about us. Thank you Jane <3”
  • If you have video reviews, post them everywhere, as videos tend to convert really well

Consideration stage:

  • Post reviews on your website (consider making a section for them)
  • Use pop-ups and widgets on your website that show a potential customer what other people have thought about the product
  • Add reviews easily to your Shopify of WordPress environment
  • Use them in emails as an attachment to an offer
  • If you have an online shop and people added items to their cart, but left without buying. Send them an email: “We noticed that you didn’t complete your order. Please let us know if you need assistance. Btw, here’s what Jane thought about the products.”
  • On the check-out page to improve conversions. Using review videos at this stage can increase your sales by 32%.

After-sales:

  • Create a community and showcase what kind of results your customers have had with your services or products: “This is how Melanie used our service/product and got the most out of it”

Aim to create value to your customers by sharing what others have thought about your products or services instead of just boasting how great you are.

Review Management Software – Should You Use One?

It’s a hassle using all the different online review sites and keeping your pages up-to-date. Your online presence is something you should be controlling.

By using a management software I don’t mean you should censor any replies. On the contrary. You should be able to manage and post reviews that come from all channels. The easiest way to do this is with a centralized solution.

Worst-case scenario:

  • You have one service you use for getting customer feedback
  • People rate you on Google, Facebook, Yelp, Amazon, …
  • They send you raving reviews via email
  • They send you feedback via social media channels (Instagram, Twitter, TikTok)

You try to desperately keep up with updating all your business accounts, answering all reviews on each of them, adding the reviews by hand to your website (when is the last time you did this? Just asking….), analyzing the results of your annual customer feedback surveys, asking the people that approached you via email if they’d like to give you a business review that can be published,..

I’m exhausted just by looking at that list. And that doesn’t even cover all the tasks that are involved. Those were just the first few I could think of at the top of my head.

If I think you should use a management software? My answer is irrelevant. Do you think you should? (I’d highly recommend using one, to be honest.)

3 Interesting Review Management Softwares to Consider

Here is a short introduction on three review management softwares that you can consider. Even though these aren’t strictly for doing only review management, they are good options to do that with.

They all have many interesting individual features and I’ve listed a few that I found to be to most interesting.

1. Trustmary

Trustmary started in 2016 in Finland. Started out as a high-quality testimonial producer and, therefore, has extensive experience on getting and making the most out of quality reviews in general.

Most interesting features:

2. Yotpo

Was founded in 2010 and it gives the user the possibility to own and control all the content. It gives you control over how your business collects, displays and markets with user-generated content.

Most interesting features:

  • Rewards Management
  • Scheduled Messaging
  • Trend Analysis
  • Third Party Integrations

3. Sprout Social

Founded in 2010 in the US. Sprout Social is a solution with which you can track, publish, listen and report on your customer service and engagement. In short, it enables its users to control all of the most common review platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and many more) within one tool.

Most interesting features:

  • Influencer Tracking
  • Editorial Calendar
  • Competitor Monitoring
  • Social Media Management

Conclusion on Review Management Softwares

As you can see, there are many differences in the solutions available even in the same category. Try to identify what it is that you want to get done with the management software to be able to choose the right fit for you.

If you have no idea where to start, I’d suggest giving one (or all three of them) a go by using their free version to figure out if that might be useful for your purposes. In case you need more softwares to compare these three against to, check out these 10 best review softwares you should consider.

No matter which review platform you use and which one you choose to manage reviews with, it’s worth your while.

FAQ on Reviews

Business reviews are made by the customers of a company about how well the company is doing. This includes everything from customer service in general, possible packaging and delivery times of products to any after sales procedures.

Can be asked in form of a star rating (1-5 stars) or NPS (How likely are you to recommend us to a friend of colleague on a scale of 1-10?)

Product reviews are made by people that are using the specific product. They are rating the product based on its qualities and not taking into account what the customer service of a company they bought it from has been like.

Yes, because almost every single consumer read online reviews before making a purchase.

92 % of B2B customers are more likely to buy after reading a review from a trusted operator.

They can make or break your business. If you serve your local customers well, they’re likely to recommend you to a friend or neighbor to help you out. That same phenomenon takes place online as well, where the reviews can be read anywhere in the world.

By asking for them in key customer touch points. You have a higher chance of getting reviews, if you ask your customers to do you a small favor by rating your services.

The more expensive the product or service is, the more people need convincing that you’re trustworthy. A handful of review per product is a very good number, but the more the better.

A lot, if you don’t have an effective and automated review collection software in place. Our software based testimonial collecting tool will automate the whole process for you.

Review management softwares are a way for you to manage your reviews in one place. You can analyze the source and contents of the reviews as well as the general happiness level of your customers. In a way, it functions as a library for all of your review content and you can also post reviews on different channels with the same tool.

First off, improve your customer experience with the help of the insights you got. Secondly, post reviews on your website, social media, attach to offers, send out in newsletters,… whatever you can come up with to spread the word on why your customer like and trust you.

Yes, if you use them effectively. They help you build trust in your potential customers.

Never. You should reply to each negative review and possibly even ask for the person’s order number, so you can take it offline and fix the issue. People are looking for authentic reviews, and we all know that mistakes happen. What matters is how the company reacts in those situations.

Yes! Thank the customers for leaving a review in the first place to show them that you care about each feedback.

Answering politely and promptly (within the next few business days) will get you far in each situation. Talk to people as you’d like others to talk to you. After all, there’s an actual human being writing to you.

Ask happy customers for reviews!

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