Should You Request Customer Reviews?
The short answer: definitely, unequivocally YES! Business owners tend to (fairly) focus on negative reviews – but the majority of reviews on Yelp are 4 or 5 stars! The more reviews you have, the higher your star-rating tends to be, so you should aim to get as many reviews as possible.
The long answer (which is totally worth reading!): there is a lot of debate on this question. Some business owners feel that requesting reviews cheapens the ‘natural’ reviews that a business gets just by providing great service. That is not the case – when you request reviews, you still get the excited customers, who are so in love with your business that they would review you even if you didn’t ask. You’ll also get the ornery, unsatisfiably vindictive 1-star reviewers. But by having a system in place to get more reviews, you’ll have a more typical representation of your customer base to show to potential new customers both on your site and on third-party review sites.
Argument 1: You need the reviews
Reviews are crucial. Think of the incredible number of competitors in your market. Your customer simply does not have time to sit down for sales presentations. Even if they did, they may not understand your product well enough to tell which company fits their needs best, despite your sales’ teams best efforts. So, many customers rely on reviews from similar customers as their gauge for how good a company is.
- Reviews are scalable – only takes 5-10 minutes, and you can review a dozen companies.
- Reviews are private, so a customer doesn’t have to worry about their phone ringing off the hook with sales offers.
- Lastly, reviews show the 'social proof' we increasingly expect in our business interactions – buying a book on Amazon, you see star-ratings. Why wouldn’t you use that tool for a far larger purchase, like a major home renovation or hiring a mover?
Argument 2: People respond well to being asked
As a matter of course, you should stay in touch with your past customers. Read our article on customer emails for email templates, if you’re not already doing it! If you have an ongoing conversation with a customer, asking for a review will seem like a natural and friendly thing to do. How do we know? Well, our response rate is pretty good when we ask for reviews as part of our customer contact process.
Imagine how sharp your reviews presence could be if 27.8% of customers you asked left you a review. You could quickly have more reviews than even your largest competitors! That’s a powerful advantage to convincing people to buy from you, as well as a powerful advantage in moving your company up the page in Google search results.