How to get customer feedback: 3 best practices for collecting online reviews

Do customers like your clients’ businesses? Are they telling other people about those businesses on social media or across various review platforms? The goal is to have answered yes to both of those questions. If you didn’t—no worries—you’re in the right place to learn more about gathering customer feedback.

You might be wondering, do customer opinions or online reviews really matter? Does the rating, frequency, and "freshness" of online reviews matter? Yes, to all of the above. Your clients should be aware of their online reputation and continually look for ways to strengthen their review ratings on various websites.

If 92% of consumers are reading online reviews before a purchase then every single local business should concern themselves with customer feedback. In fact, as Google’s study on micro-moments states, more than ever people are turning to their phones for advice on buying decisions. Where does that advice come from? Other customer reviews, of course. Not only do positive reviews help build trust with consumers, but the same study shows mobile searches for “best” have grown over 80% in the past 2 years, which means business reviews with “best” included may show up higher in search rankings. So the next time a customer leaves your client’s business happy, make sure they are sharing their great customer feedback online.

We will outline the most effective ways to bring positive reviews to sites like Google and Facebook, which are highly visible and influential on potential customers.

(Check out Vendasta’s Customer Voice to help get more customer feedback!)

How to collect more customer feedback

People tend to leave reviews when they’ve had an awful experience at a business. It’s the positive voices that go unnoticed, because they’re not motivated to share. Unless consumers are reminded or nudged by a business to take the time to review their business, they probably won’t. In fact, 70% of consumers will leave a review if asked. This can be as simple as saying, “We are happy that you enjoyed your experience today, it would mean a lot if you shared a review to our Facebook page.”

The reality is that consumers are more likely to leave a great review for a business when two things happen:

1) They receive great customer service.

2) They were asked to leave a review.

1) Ask - In Person 

It’s simple but effective. When customers are asked personally to leave reviews, it often leads to more reviews, as opposed to asking via email.

“Asking in person can garner you seven to eight times more reviews than asking via email.”
Marketing Land, 2016

Ask, don’t beg. Asking for reviews in person is not a bad thing, nor does it appear as desperate. Local businesses work hard to acquire customers and even harder to establish great relationships with those customers. Utilize the great relationships that your business has formed, and ask for reviews from those individuals.

Every single business has a handful of loyal supporters. Start with these people. Chances are they not only write a review but write a 5-star review that you’ll want everyone to see. So, begin gathering customer feedback from your biggest fans and supporters!

Key Takeaway: Try having your clients train their staff to ask for a review of their experience post-purchase! Or, develop a card that employees can hand out to customers that asks them kindly to leave a review. The card should have relevant links to social profiles, which makes it easy for the customer to find the business online.

2) Email Marketing

Email is always going to be one of the most efficient ways for companies to communicate with their customers. Consumers have even stated that they like receiving promotional emails from establishments they have done business with. Tacking on an email signature asking for a review is a simple and non-invasive way to ask for customer feedback.

Along with automated email receipts, email order forms, or simply on their own, emails can help collect reviews from customers in creative ways. For efficient, easy-to-use, and trackable review requests, email is and always has been the best option.

Key Takeaway: Gather a client list of emails or phone numbers (with the consent of the customer) and be sure to reach out to customers after a purchase, when they’re most likely to share their experience.

3) Text Message Marketing

Everyone has a phone, and it is likely that people are looking at their phone often enough that they’ll see text message marketing from their favourite brands and businesses.

Text message marketing has been developed in recent years after the widely documented success of email marketing. With essentially the same idea behind it, text message marketing allows local businesses to target large audiences of customers. Communicating with such large groups allows businesses to send messaging or marketing fast to people who have already established a relationship with the business.

Highly measurable and extremely user-friendly, businesses are starting to use text message marketing more and more to gather reviews from satisfied customers.

SMS Review Request: Mini Case Study - Customer Voice

Don’t just take our word for it! Our partners have tested SMS review requesting for themselves using Vendasta’s in-house product, Customer Voice. Our great partner, EzyReview, shared the success of one of their clients who has been using SMS review generation. Here’s what happened:

Prior to January 2016, Pizza Pirates was a failing pizza joint. When the new owner and his business partner took over the Pizza Pirates name, they flipped the business on its head, with plans to turn it into the city’s go-to pizza destination!

Pizza Pirates’ goal was to improve its online presence, increase foot traffic, and earn a reputation of quality. While there remained some loyal clientele, the shop’s owner knew there was more revenue to be earned and that he should be targeting customers online and on their phones.

Before SMS Requesting:

Review Rating →  3.8 out of 5 stars

Reviews Received → 68 Reviews

After SMS Requesting:

Review Rating → 4.9 out of 5 stars

Reviews Received → 199 Reviews

As you can see, SMS marketing not only increased the amount of reviews that Pizza Pirates had, but it also increased their rating. Pizza Pirates was able to convince happy customers to share their 5 star experiences. This is the ultimate online reputation win for any business!

The Power of Review Requests

In just one month of sending review requests with Customer Voice, Pizza Pirates achieved a star rating of 4.9 stars and boosted sales by 30%.

Download the case study

Note: Be sure that you are being transparent with your customers.

When collecting customer information such as a cell-phone number or email address it is best to inform the customer that they will be receiving a varied cadence of text messages and emails. Customers DON’T like surprises, and without their consent this messaging can be spammy.

Above all, make it simple for customers

Customers are not going to leave a review if it takes them a lot of time or if it is difficult to understand how to leave a review. Loyalty exists and people care about businesses, but not many will leave a positive review on their own. Remember, if you ask and provide a way to leave a review, 70% of customers will!

Make it simple for customers to leave reviews. The easiest ways are to use text or email. That way, customers are only a couple clicks away from sharing their positive experience with others.

Sign up and try Customer Voice for free! 

Collect more authentic customer reviews for your clients

If you’re an agency that helps local businesses with their online reputation, you want an all-in-one customer feedback tool to do the heavy lifting. Start generating more reviews for your clients by using Vendasta’s white-labeled customer feedback tool, boost sales.">Customer Voice.

More reviews equal more traffic through the doors! With Customer Voice, you can gather authentic reviews via email or text on the sites that matter most, to grow customer loyalty and boost sales.

Generate More Reviews:

Generating more reviews for your clients helps to grow their business as they establish both trust and credibility with consumers. With Customer Voice, users upload customers lists, customize templates to suit their branding, and send messages to one or many customers.

Listen to Feedback:

Listen and monitor reviews across the most important review platforms online. Customer Voice listens to online conversation and gives users the opportunity to address negative feedback before it goes live.

Target Various Review Websites:

Customer Voice allows users to choose which websites to request reviews on. Your clients can request reviews on general review sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook, or target sites specific to their industry.

Find Customers Everywhere:

With the ability to reach consumers on their mobile devices through text message or email, Customer Voice allows businesses to find their customers anywhere. Customer Voice makes it easy for customers to leave reviews in only a few clicks.

About the Author

Paige is a former Product Marketing Manager, who proudly crafted the marketing and communication strategy for some of Vendasta's owned & operated products Her passion for marketing runs deep, but her first loves are movies, musicals, and (you guessed it) movie-musicals.

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