Customer reviews and feedback are important for every business.
Not only does the feedback help you to align your business with customer needs, but reviews show other potential customers that you’re worth looking at.
The challenge for most businesses is getting enough customer reviews. Ideally, you need a steady stream of regular reviews so that people see you as being “current,” but giving a review isn’t always the first thing a customer thinks to do.
Fortunately, text messaging can be put to work to help you to get more reviews. Here’s how:
Why do businesses need reviews?
There are several very good reasons for businesses to put energy into getting more reviews. Firstly, it’s about your credibility. Customers look for reviews before trying a new business because they want an unbiased opinion on what you are like.
Consumers lean on the idea that people freely give reviews with nothing to gain or lose. On balance, reviews are seen as a trustworthy measure of your business. In fact, somewhere around 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Secondly, reviews are an expectation of customers. They demand the “social proof” of reviews, to show them that other people use and trust your business. Around 97% of consumers consult reviews before making a purchase decision.
Consumers look for businesses that have a decent number of reviews first, because that suggests more people use and trust the company. This means a business with 700 reviews averaging 4.5 stars is generally more likely to win the customer over, compared to a business with a 5-star average but just 10 reviews.
Thirdly, recent reviews show what people are saying about you right now. Businesses often go through changes over the years and people want to know that your current products or services are at a standard they’re looking for.
If you need any more reasons to pursue reviews, consider their impact on your search engine ranking. For local businesses especially, reviews significantly impact where and how you’re shown on Google results. Reviews have been shown to be among the top ranking factors. Google favors businesses that have more good reviews, and tends to show them first in results.
What prompts people to give a review?
Lots of research has been conducted looking into why customers give reviews. There are both positive and negative reasons, but one overarching theme is that they give reviews when the experience they have has struck an emotional chord.
This appears most obvious in negative reviews. There are many people out there who will rush to write a negative review if they perceive that they’ve had a poor experience. Sometimes it’s the first thing they will do! This comes down to the emotions the experience made them feel. You can picture someone saying “I’m just so angry right now and I need to tell people about it.” There’s often some kind of validation of their feelings in doing so. The impulse to write the negative review is usually their way of doing something about those feelings.
On the flipside, the emotional response to great service or an amazing product can also prompt people to write a review. Most of the time, it’s an exceptional experience that has a customer seeking to provide a review without being prompted. The top three motivations for writing a positive review are: to help others make a better buying decision; to share an experience; or to reward a company for good performance.
How can you get more good reviews?
It’s true that the majority of people need some kind of nudge to provide a review. It’s an extra step that they may not have thought of themselves unless prompted. Our number one strategy for getting more good reviews is simple: ask! Give people that prompt after they have made a purchase or signed up with you. How? Here are some examples:
- Send a review request by text or email once people have received their product or service.
- Use text messaging for in-store shopping experiences. You can text a customer right after they have shopped with you.
- Have signs up in-store with a QR code people can scan to leave a review.
- Prompt customers on-screen to leave a review after purchase.
If we’re talking about more good reviews, you’ve got to do everything reasonable to earn them. Find ways to deliver those exceptional experiences that leave people with a positive feeling. Deliver warm service and top-quality products. Going the “extra mile” is a somewhat cliché term, but it’s exactly what moves people to leave a review.
Finally, it’s got to be easy for people to leave a review. If you liken it to how you’d optimize the website user experience for the customer, it’s about removing as many potential roadblocks as possible. For example, instead of simply requesting the customer leave a review, clearly direct them to where to do it. Provide a link to the place you’d prefer reviews to be left (your website, Yelp, Google Reviews, Trip Advisor…)
How can you use text messaging for reviews?
Text messaging is an ideal channel to enlist for more reviews because it has such immediate reach. Most people are very quick to pick up text messages and you’ve got a good chance they’ll respond, especially if you’ve made it easy for them.
The first step is that the customer needs to be signed up to receive text messages. You can have them give permission on checkout when they make a purchase, or have separate sign-up forms where anyone can sign up for text messages.
One of the cool features of TextRetailer is that you can set up all sorts of automations. This means you can send texts automatically based on customer actions. Making a purchase with you could be one of those actions, triggering a text message to go out requesting that they leave a review. If you sell the sort of products that need to be shipped out, we suggest timing your request for after the products have been received by the customer. Make your ask simple and clear, for example: “Hi [Name], thanks for your purchase of [Product]. We’re working hard to create quality products our customers will love and would appreciate your feedback. Please leave a review here [link].”
A store visit could be another trigger, especially if their phone number is connected to an account they use in-store (rewards, for example). This could automatically generate a message, for example: “Thank you [Name], for visiting us in-store today. We’d love to hear about your experience! Please click here [link] to leave a review.”
Every business needs to get reviews coming in regularly. The bottom line is that customers demand it. They want to check out reviews as part of making their purchase decisions, so it makes sense for businesses to focus on getting more.
Most businesses find that if reviews are left until the customer thinks of it, very few come in. While people do often give reviews when they had a strong emotion connected with the service they received, most of the time, they need a prompt.
Text messaging is a great tool to help with that prompt. It’s simple to set up and it’s easy for your customers to respond. Check out TextRetailer to find out how we can help.