How to ask your customers for online reviews

With nearly nine out of ten consumers consulting online reviews before they consider even stopping by your business, giving attention to your customers’ online reviews is more important than ever.

Imagine how much effort, money and time you’d put into a marketing campaign if you knew 90% of your customers were actively engaging with it. Yet many businesses have not yet recognized just how connected online reviews and their success truly are.

One of the best strategies to gain reviews for your business? Establishing a habit of asking customers for reviews—as many as 68% of consumers, when asked, are happy to leave a review and tell other consumers about their experience.

However, knowing why reviews are important and how to ask for them can be a game changer for a business of any size or industry. Tap into this powerful opportunity!

Although most customers are happy to leave a review, there's a right way to go about requesting one. Your request email should be about the customer and their experience, invite honest feedback and, importantly, read as if it's coming from a human.

By requesting a review, you are asking for a bit of their time and attention, so it's important to let them know up front what's in it for them. Use language that conveys how they benefit. For example, their review is an opportunity to make themselves heard, contribute great ideas and help their friends and family who may one day use a review to make a decision. Be sure to show your appreciation for their time and input.

Of course, you don't just want great feedback; having issues go unnoticed doesn't help you or your customers. While some people may be inclined to only ask for positive feedback, it can come across as disingenuous to your customers. They want the truth to be heard, not just what you're hoping they'll say.

If you've paid attention to the marketing efforts of brands, big and small, over the past several years, you're likely to have noticed a change in tone. With social media breaking down barriers between customers and companies, marketing has become more genuine, friendly and down-to-earth. Brands have personable approaches and it's important to mirror this authenticity in your request emails by using the language, tone, words and humor that you believe resonates with your customers. If you're not sure what resonates, look at the social media copy of similar successful businesses in your niche and study their approach.

Use your real name in the signature of the email and send it in a plain-text email to make it look as genuine as possible; heavily stylized HTML emails will show customers this is automated. You want them to feel as if you sat down at your laptop, thoughtfully considered their visit and sent them a personal email.

One vital piece of advice: create a review request habit to make sure you don't miss a single review opportunity. Decide when you'll reach out after a customer purchase or invoice, setting calendar reminders or alerts, if necessary.

3 Winning Email Templates

If you’re short on words or time and looking for review request email inspiration, these four email templates are a great place to start:

Email #1

Subject: {{company_name}} would love your ideas and feedback

Hi {{first_name}},

We’re so glad you stopped by! We’re serious about giving our guests the best experience possible when they visit {{company_name}}—and we’d love to hear from you!

Would you kindly take a moment to write a review and tell us what you loved and how we could make your next visit even better?


Email #2

Subject: Help your friends and family with a review of {{company_name}}

Hi {{first_name}},

How often do you read reviews before deciding where to eat, shop or relax? If you’re like us, it’s quite often!

Would you do us a small favor and leave a review to help guide your friends and family when they look for a business that (WHAT THE BUSINESS DOES)? We’d be grateful!


Email #3

Subject: {{first_name}} - A quick thank you from the {{company_name}} team!

Hi {{first_name}},

We want to thank you for the opportunity to serve you. As a valued customer, we would appreciate your feedback and have a quick request. Could you please leave us an honest review about our work?

Even a sentence or two would be greatly appreciated because your review not only helps us, it helps potential customers who are considering our services.

Here is a link to review {{company_name}}: {{review_link}}

Thank you from all of us here at {{company_name}}!




Post Email Action

As you request reviews, you’ll hear a variety of feedback and ideas from your customers. Look for patterns and trends, topics that appear often in reviews. This can give you insight into improvements you can make within your business.

Inevitably, there will be one or two less positive reviews. The two worst things you can do are ignore the review or respond in a defensive, rude manner; business owners reacting badly to reviews is ripe to go viral online. Listen to their concerns, thank them for their feedback and try to get in touch with the customer to hear their side of the story and find a solution. There may be grains of truth to their complaint—and making them feel special with your extra attention may even help make the review disappear.

One of the biggest barriers business owners face when trying to give reviews the proper attention they deserve is that it does take time and effort. With so many things happening in a business, many entrepreneurs simply don’t delegate the responsibility or lose the habit. 

One way to make it easy to invite, manage and publish reviews is with Harvest Reviews, an all-in-one platform that lets you automate review requests, view analytics and boost your online reputation. For business owners fearing negative reviews, Harvest Reviews actually alerts you to negative reviews before they’re published, allowing you to be proactive.

If you’re ready to transform your business with online reviews and empower your customers, request a demo below to get started.

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