Here's How to Get Your Customers to Leave Positive Reviews (And Why You Can't Afford Not To)

If you can get customers to leave you reviews, your business will grow, and your customers will trust you more and more.

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By Brian Greenberg

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A happy customer is key to your company's success -- in more ways than one.

If people are satisfied with your business or service, they're going to tell their friends and family. That's the power of word of mouth. Imagine if a single happy customer told the whole internet instead.

Related: 6 Ways to Make Online Reviews Work for Your Business

If you can get customers to leave positive reviews for your company online, you'll see benefits you can put a number on.

The power of reviews is that they replace the research customers would have to do on their own. It used to be people had to call around to check a business out, or they relied on Consumer Reports. Now, with online reviews, people can see years of positive (and negative) reviews of a business from other customers. Depending on how happy you're keeping your customers, this can persuade someone to make a purchase with your company.

Now, don't panic. Focusing on getting good reviews is exactly the same as focusing on making the customer happy. Any business that operates honestly, ethically and transparently is already going to have this in the bag. The trick is getting them to leave reviews after their experience.

If you're still nervous about it, here are a few ways to nudge customers to leave positive reviews:

1. Ask at the right time, with the right tone.

It's entirely possible for you to have satisfied customers who don't leave reviews.

If you don't ask, you'll never know. Then you'll be left with only negative reviews -- because that's who usually leaves reviews without prompting.

All you need to do is ask, and people will do it. That's why they've done it for me.

What's critical to this process is asking customers at the right time. You wait until the end of their experience and simply say, "Are you satisfied? Are you happy with our service?" If they say yes, then you say, "Thank you so much. I'm going to send you a link to leave a review. Reviews help us."

So ask, and then let them know how important reviews are to you and to your business. It's all about reciprocity.

Now, another thing I've seen work for online product sales is to send a nice little email as soon as customers get their order. It has a thumbs up and a thumbs down with the question, "Did everything go alright with your order?" If they put thumbs up, we send a second email saying, "Can you take a second to leave a review for our service and the products that you bought?" And then include a link to the preferred place you want them to leave a review.

It's a small ask, but you have to ask nonetheless.

Related: 5 Proven Ways to Get More Customer Reviews On Google and Facebook

2. Make it as easy as possible for them to leave their review.

Once you've asked for someone to leave a review, you then have to make it easy for them to actually do it.

You want to make leaving a review so simple it doesn't feel like an intrusion or imposition at all. The easier it is, the more likely customers will see the task all the way through to the end. They may even remember for next time, "Hey, yeah, that was really easy. Sure! I'll do it again."

One thing we do at True Blue Life Insurance is automatically send emails at the end of a customer's experience. In those emails, we have a link that takes customers to exactly where we want them to leave the review.

This is important: You can't just send them to your Yelp page. It's not enough.

You have to send them to the URL on your Yelp page that creates the popup to enter the review. Now, it's not always easy to get that URL. You'll have to go through and test to get it right. But, that's the link you have to give.

It helps with pop-up pages like Yelp or Google Business, to also pre-populate some of the information -- just as one extra nudge. We pre-fill our review pages with five stars so all customers have to do is leave a note about their experience. It's extremely easy.

If you don't want to initially push customers to your public business pages on review platforms, then you can include an extra step for protection. One thing I do is ask for an initial review that only goes on my website. I ask for a star rating and a comment about the products the customer bought or the service he or she enjoyed. It only takes two minutes for the customer.

Only if customers give me five stars do I send them a follow-up email with the links to those third-party review sites. I'll send them to the Better Business Bureau, Google Business or Yelp. To make it even easier, pre-populate these new reviews with the exact same title, star rating and comments the customer put on the review on your own website, so all the customer has to do is click "send."

Related: How to Use Reviews to Grow Your Business

3. You'll see value in numbers you can measure.

I've been collecting customer reviews for a long time -- close to a decade now.

And I've been keeping tabs on how the positive and negative reviews affect my profits. There's a saying about how the best way to make a billion dollars is to serve a billion customers. Following that logic, the best way to grow your business is to grow your positive reviews online.

For example, from my internal statistics, I value a review at $100 apiece and $10 each additional year it's on my own website. That's for reviews I control. I value a review on a third party website like Yelp or TripAdvisor at $250 apiece, and $25 each additional year -- the more, the better.

The value comes from increased conversion rates. You have one review, fine. Three reviews, okay. If you start getting over 30, all from satisfied customers, it increases your conversion rate substantially.

More than that, the other thing reviews do is make it possible to make the sale passively. For example, if I'm looking for a handyman on Yelp, I'm going to choose the guy with the best reviews. If he picks up the phone and I make an appointment, I don't have to call anybody else. I'm already sold. The only thing that my guy can do is ruin it.

The same applies to your business. Maintaining a record of positive reviews online for your business gives customers a sense of your legitimacy without requiring them to do their own research. They can see that other customers were satisfied with the experience and they'll choose you because of that.

If you can get customers to leave you reviews, your business will grow, and your customers will trust you more and more each time. That's a huge win from such a simple ask.

Brian Greenberg

CEO of Insurist

Brian J. Greenberg has founded businesses in the ecommerce, marketing and financial sectors. He has generated over $50 million in revenue from his businesses, collected over 10,000 reviews and testimonials from customers and is the author of The Salesman Who Doesn’t Sell.

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