Updated: Jul 27
If you’re here, you must already have acknowledged that reviews are great for brand reputation and customer acquisition. Then, the next sensible step is to learn how to collect customer reviews. Collecting customer reviews requires finesse but, once mastered, is a rewarding skill for your business. Whether you’re a new kid on the block or a long-standing company, collecting reviews is beneficial for your business. We break down the reviews collection into 3 basic parts and walk you through the right approach.
Part 1: A Strong Foundation
1a. Be present on the right platforms
First, you’ll need to select a review site to collect, host and display your reviews. There are a variety of review sites available, like Google, Facebook and Trustpilot. While these generic review sites may be great to help your brand get some visibility online, we suggest that you also focus on industry-specific review sites for your online reputation management. The best industry-specific review sites are ones that:
Observe impartial guidelines and host authentic reviews
Have a sizeable and committed user base
Rank high on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) when you search for reviews about your industry or product/service name
Industry-specific Review Sites
For hotel and attraction reviews, consumers visit TripAdvisor. For food & beverages reviews, others visit Burpple. For Personal Finance and Utilities, prospects visit Seedly. Once you’ve identified the right platform for your business, set up your profile and claim ownership of your pages to ensure accurate information. These actions are trust signals that inform prospects that your business and reviews are legitimate.
1b. Identify your advocates
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that great reviews come from your strongest advocates. Identifying the right customers who would write an excellent review for you might take a bit of work, but it makes a world of difference. Some examples:
Regular users of your product/service
Customers who purchased your product after reading reviews
Customers who had their issues resolved after speaking with your customer service
1c. Acknowledge that reviews collection must be a part of your workflow Reviews collection is never a one and done campaign. Reviews have a shelf-life. According to a survey by BrightLocal, 86% of consumers only look at reviews from the past three months. For your customer reviews to deliver impactful results, they need to be relevant. Thus, reviews collection should be a regular workflow, so your business gets a continuous flow of reviews. Be dedicated to collecting reviews, and you’ll reap its rewards!
We suggest that you incorporate technology to automate the process to save precious time and resources. You may use CRM tools like MailChimp, HubSpot or SendGrid to send personalised reviews invitation emails to your lists of segmented customers.
Example of SeedlyBusiness' Automated Reviews Collector Tool
At Seedly, we provide businesses with an Automated Reviews Collector Tool so you can send Seedly-branded reviews invitation emails to your customers. Having a neutral 3rd-party invite and host reviews increases the credibility of your reviews as consumers can be sure that the reviews aren’t cherry-picked and reflect a more comprehensive view of your product/service.
Part 2: The Ask
2a. Seize the right timing Timing is imperative to the type of reviews you receive, but it’s also a tricky one to master. If you ask your customers for a review too early on, you may only hear about their first impressions and not get a complete representation of your product/service, but if you ask for a review a little too late, your customers may ignore your invite. To get the best reviews, you’ll need to identify the optimal time in your customer’s journey. A general guideline is only to ask after your customers have experienced your product/service value. For financial products/services, we recommend 7 days after your customer’s purchase as a starting point. There are many different review collection strategies, and you should test a range to find the one or even a couple that works for you.
2b. Use the right channel
Decide which mode of communication most efficiently enables you to reach your customers and ask them to leave a review. Many mediums exist for you to communicate with your customers. They include but are not limited to:
Social media pages
Business landing pages
Example of DirectAsia Insurance's Review Invitation Email
Reviewtrackers reported that almost 70% of reviews come from post-transactional review invite emails. We often recommend others to start with emails because a business likely already has a post-purchase email campaign in place and can ride on the same email segmentation list and workflow to send out an additional reviews invitation email.
Here are some scenarios that describe when other modes of communications may be suitable:
When you want to increase convenience or your customers to leave a review, you can deliver a text message or email
When your customer service is speaking to the customer in person or over the phone, they should know to request for a review at the end of the conversation
When you don’t have your customer’s direct contact detail, you can publish a reviews invitation post on your social media pages
2c. Have a specific and clear call-to-action (CTA)
When formulating the message, keep in mind that the goal is for your customers to leave a review. Although it wouldn’t be great to demand a review in the first line of the invite, it also isn’t a good idea to beat about the bush before popping the question after 10 minutes. Your message must communicate the following:
Express how much your business appreciates customer feedback
Invite your customers to write a review
Steps for your customers to leave a review
Example of Sembcorp Energy's Review Invitation
Remember to use short and sweet verbs in your CTA and highlight the message in the form of a button or a coloured link. On one look, customers should be clear about the action required and be redirected to the right review site.
2d. Use templates that allow personalisation
It would be physically impossible and almost insane to expect your business to send out a different review invitation for your hundreds or thousands of customers. Yet, customers expect an intimate and unique service from companies. The best solution would be to use templates but integrate smart fields to personalise the invitation for your customer. Your business could even create a variety of templates and alternate them throughout the seasons. Ensure that you’ve got a template for every point of the customer journey. The first review invitation your customer receives should differ from the follow-up review invitation. Don’t just chuck the templates in your workflow and leave them be. Continually test, analyse and update your review invitations to get the best customer reviews. Remember that your consumer behaviour is ever-changing, and a message that worked a year ago may be obsolete today. Never stop trying to iterate your review invitations.
Part 3: Coming Full Circle
3a. Stay connected
Keep in touch with your customers regardless if they leave a review.
For customers that have left a review, respond to the reviews by thanking and acknowledging their time and effort to write a review, and end by expressing your interest to have them return. This practice should apply to both positive and negative reviews. For negative reviews, an additional step would be to address the issue described and provide help. Your thoughtful replies to reviews encourage others to leave a review because it shows that you genuinely care.
Great Eastern responding to all customer reviews
For customers that have ignored your review invitation, continue keeping them warm for an extended period but be careful not to be too spammy! Sometimes your customers aren’t in the right frame of mind to write a review at your point of invitation, or they haven’t had the time to use your product/service. Don’t give up; try out different messaging and send times for this group of customers.
3b. Display customer reviews
The primary objective of displaying customer reviews is to advertise your brand with your customers' voices. But a secondary and lesser-known impact is that it also subtly influences your customers to leave a review.