Getting online reviews for your business is notoriously hard. You’re often asking overworked people to use their time, risk their reputation and be creative in response to the service you offer.There are five key elements to asking for reviews in a natural way: Wording Delivery / Timing Survey tools Review Platforms Incentives Wording To ensure the best outcomes for your review, you need to ensure all wording in your review request, review form and follow-up carries the same voice and tone. Keep it light, personal and very concise. Who is asking? What do you want? When do you want it? What’s the benefit? Let’s look at three examples of asking for reviews via email and SMS. Example #1 Anatomy of a well-crafted review ask email Title: Tell us about your recent [service name] experience Body: You recently bought our [service name] and we want to know how it went. Take a few moments to give us your thoughts by clicking through to this survey. CTA: Button “Take survey now” Incentive: Finish it up by [today’s date + 7 days] and you’ll be entered for a chance to win 1 of 5 $75 Amazon gift codes Why This Works Reinforces how you know each other Clear and short “A few moments” highlights short length of survey Clear CTA with friendly colour Incentive reinforces that action should be taken now instead of filing away to complete later Gift allows for varied purchases Example #2 Anatomy of a well-crafted review ask SMS (long) Hi [first name], I hope you were thrilled with the service you received today. If you have 1 minute, could you be helpful and leave us a Google review about your experience? Here’s the link – [link]. I’ll be in touch with a high-five after you’ve posted your review! [staff member name] Why This Works Personalised to mention their name (and potentially mention staff member or be from staff member) Mention service they had Mention shortness of survey “Could you be helpful” – people want to be known as helpful Include link Incentive is high-five from staff member Remember to follow-up in your weekly check on reviews Example #3 Anatomy of a well-crafted review ask SMS (short) SMS #1 – Great to catch up today [first name]! Would you be up for leaving a review (I’ll send a link)? [staff member name][emojis] SMS #2 – Oh, thanks so much! The link is [link]. You’re a star! Why This Works Personalised to mention their name (and potentially mention staff member or be from staff member) Uses the power of a micro-commitment Short, single question Delivery (How & When) How do you send a link, asking for feedback? Via email Manually from your inbox or automatically triggered as an automation based on a sales stage. For our clients, we have review requests triggered based on the sales cycle stage or by tagging clients. If you want to control which clients receive review requests, you can manually trigger review asks using tags. If you’d like to get feedback from all clients, emails can be triggered by sales stage updates. Via SMS SMS has a higher open rate but also has a shorter potential action duration (you can leave an email in your inbox unread but text messages that have been read are harder to remember to action later). You also need to be mindful of the time of day that the text is sent. If it was a hair salon appointment, waiting for one hour post-appointment means that the client probably isn’t still driving & is less distracted. Other sending times could be between common dinner time but before common bedtime or sending around common work lunch breaks. Via your website Shared through a link on your website – having the review form embedded on your website at www.sample.com/review means that you can easily, verbally share with clients. Options for when to send We recommend that you experiment with sending times to find the time that gets the highest rate of engagement. Sending times could be: After payment During sales process In-person at the end of a client meeting Delayed send after appointment via SMS You can also experiment with sending a follow-up email after the initial ask reminding your client to complete the review. Survey Tools If you were a freelancer with one new client per week, you could probably get away with using Google Email Templates (previously Canned Replies) and copying/pasting SMS requests, remembering to replace the client name in each new SMS. Once you get to have a handful of clients each week/month, you’ll start either forgetting to send the emails/texts or you’ll send that request to Doug with Phil’s name in the subject line (yikes!). It’s at this stage that you’ll need survey automation tools that you can lean on to do your follow-up. As workflow coaches, we’ve seen the benefit of asking for reviews at scale. Like clockwork, each new client gets their survey request, personalised to their service, delivered on time. Our top recommendation in this space is Typeform or SurveySparrow with their integration to many CRMs. By having your survey results recorded on customer contact records, you’ll be able to get insights into each customer and their experience with your company. In contrast, asking customers for feedback via many online tools leaves you with a flooded inbox and enough copy/pasting to break your finger & thumb. Review Platforms Reviews are a source of social proof that give your future clients confidence when choosing between service providers. If you only have 1-star reviews and have posted rude review replies on a major platform, your business may be on the downhill path towards online reputation failure. There are two main types of review platform categories: Social networks Industry-specific review sites & directories Common social networks for service-based businesses include: Google MyBusiness Facebook LinkedIn Yelp TripAdvisor Industry-specific review sites for service businesses include: OneFlare ProductReview WordOfMouth ServiceSeeking We recommend taking the approach of building reviews on major social networks first, starting with Google MyBusiness (due to its prominence in local search) in order to build review volume. As many customers already have Google or Facebook accounts, it makes it easier to get reviews faster. After you’ve built some reviews on major social networks, we recommend that you ask for reviews on the most popular industry-specific review sites. You may need to offer step-by-step sign in instructions for some review sites plus offer an incentive to encourage people to sign up to a new review website. In Summary: Have a primary review platform and a back-up platform We’d all love our customers to leave reviews on more obscure review sites that are specific to our service niche. It’s fine to ask for a review on niche sites but we’d recommend that you also ask for reviews on more general platforms that your client might already be logged-in to like Facebook or Google. Example: A financial adviser might ask for a review on Adviser Ratings (with CTA button) but may offer in the text below “Prefer to leave a review on Facebook? Click here to post your feedback.” Incentives If you’re not getting the engagement you want, you may need to offer incentives for your clients to complete an online review, including: Short survey (incentive is small time commitment) Written from a friend perspective (incentive is giving back to staff member) Let customers know that positive reviews have a personal impact (incentive is one business helping another) Mention staff are appraised on review scores (incentive is giving back to staff member) Asking for feedback to improve (incentive is getting better service over time) Asking for feedback that may incentivise a staff member (incentive is giving back to staff member) Chance to win (incentive is the potential to win a monthly prize) Discount off products (incentive ties to more sales) Credits towards products (incentive ties to more sales) Free products with eligible purchases (incentive ties to more sales) Gift card to all (incentive is direct) Gift card to first 10 (incentive is direct & limited) Donation to non-profit for each review i.e. hospitals, causes, plant tree, education, schools programs – something related to industry A note on gifts and gift cards In choosing gift options, consider the following: Ensure that your potential investment/loss is limited i.e. if you offer $10 gift cards to everyone, how many could you need to buy? Ensure you can handle the logistics. If you send out gift baskets, gift cards etc then you need to factor in the purchasing, packaging and sending of items. Ensure you choose a meaningful gift. A $20 office supply voucher isn’t as meaningful as $20 spent on a homewares gift. Ensure the gift is appropriate. A case of beer, bottle of wine or meat voucher might not suit all recipients. What to do with negative reviews Do you ever find yourself scrolling through glowing reviews looking for a 1-star review? Rare negative reviews happen and people trust your business more if not everyone loves you. How do you save your business after it gets a 1-star review? You can save the day by ensuring your response contains the following: Acknowledge that you understand the client’s complaint Apologise if appropriate Show concern Ask reviewer to contact your customer service team as your main priority is to assist the customer An example: We’re sorry to hear about your experience with our [service name]. We do all we can to wow our customers and having you unhappy is the last thing we aimed for. It sounds like your main issue was with the [main concern] of [service name]. Please contact our support team today on [contact details] and we’ll get this issue resolved ASAP. Look forward to hearing from you shortly. Extra Tips By writing reviews on their own phone or computer, you know they’ll be logged in to social networks to leave reviews. Having the review process take place on tablets means that some people won’t want to login on a public device. Thank every reviewer. Set a recurring task to check online review websites weekly. Sometimes you need 5-star reviews to cover a 1-star review Be careful of your wording. “Let us know how we could improve” leads to slightly more critical feedback whilst “What did you love about your service today from [staff member name]?” Decide what sites you want reviews on Plant seeds in sales process that they’ll be asked for a review Have staff member give a link to review for customers to complete whilst you go and prep for next part of sales process Ask for feedback on social media. Some of your customers may respond. This is called a micro-commitment and you can use this interaction to follow-up with this client via email, thank them for the feedback and ask them for a more formal review. If a member of your team receives great feedback via email or in person, get them in the habit of asking if they can share the feedback on your website or if they can send the client an email link so they can leave a review online. Ensure you have a process for handling negative reviews as these are an excellent way for you to improve your service Google My Business Review Link Finding the exact link to your Google MyBusiness listing can be tricky. We recommend that you visit https://supple.com.au/tools/google-review-link-generator/ to create a link to use in your review requests. ABT Always Be Testing The best way to find a better process for collecting reviews is to experiment with wording, delivery, survey tools and incentives. We hope this information has been helpful and look forward to hearing what has been working for your company when getting reviews. If you’re looking at ways to automate your review process, get in touch to discuss further.