Consumer reviews are important to businesses for a wide range of reasons: they build trust, provide valuable insight, and most importantly, are used by customers who are considering doing business with you.
Our own research reveals that more than half of consumers (66%) read reviews to help them make a purchase decision, while 74% are usually influenced by reviews to some extent. Collecting reviews can have a serious impact on your conversion rates.
But for consumers to truly trust your ratings, you need an adequate number of recent reviews. For a significant one-off purchase, shoppers require 55 reviews on average. Even for smaller purchases, such as clothing and cosmetics, consumers require around 27 reviews before they trust the store’s rating.
So how can you encourage more of your customers to leave feedback? Here are our top five tips.
1) Ask them!
If you don’t ask, you don’t get: 49% of consumers say they would likely leave a review if they received an invite. You can do this via email or SMS; the latter is – statistically – the better option. Text messages boast an open rate of 98%, while emails achieve an average open rate of between 20% and 30%. Moreover, research from Smart Insights revealed that 31% of consumers will respond to a survey via SMS on average.
Remember to personalise each review request, too. Customers are more likely to respond if they are reminded of the product or service they purchased/used. This can be done with product information, pictures and customer details. Explain what their feedback means to your business and specify how long leaving a review takes.
2) Provide a fantastic experience
Leave a lasting impression on your customers and they’ll want to tell others about their experience! Our research showed that 71% of consumers will leave a review following a positive experience – only 52% said the same of a negative one. No matter what industry you work in, word of mouth is vital, so wow every customer to ensure they recommend you to others and come back to do business with you again.
3) Respond to every review
No one leaves a review with the expectation that no one will read it. Often, part of the reason for leaving the review, is to thank the company for their excellent service, or let them know where they could improve. If they don’t think the business is going to read or pay attention to their review, they might not bother writing one. In fact, more than one in ten (14%) said they are unlikely to leave feedback if they believe they won’t get a response from the company.
It’s important for businesses to respond to every review, especially the negative ones. Customers need to know their complaints and concerns are being listened to if they are to return to your business – and 95% of unhappy customers said they would if the issue was dealt with efficiently. Meanwhile, those considering making a purchase with you will be judging your responses, so make sure you get it right.
4) Make the process quick and easy
We all lead busy lives, and chances are most consumers don’t have the time (or the willpower) to fill out a ten-question survey. It’s therefore no surprise that 67% of consumers are put off leaving a review if the process takes too long.
An easy way to get more customers to leave reviews, is to make the process as clear and efficient as possible. Ask one or two relevant questions, and make it clear in your review request message how quick the process is.
Whatever review platform you’re using, make sure it’s optimised for mobile, too. If the feedback form doesn’t load properly, or takes too long to open, don’t expect customers to struggle through.
5) Time it right
Whether you issue review requests via SMS, email or both, timing is crucial. No one wants to be woken up by a text at 2am asking them to leave a review for a vacuum cleaner. Equally, your customers may not be able to write a review during work hours, so think about which times are most suitable.
According to research from Deloitte, 40% of consumers look at their phones within five minutes of waking up and more than 30% check their devices again give minutes before going to sleep. When it comes to emails, most studies indicate you should avoid sending emails at the weekend, as this is when open rates are lowest.
Try sending review requests on different days, at different times, to measure when the response rates are highest. There is no one ‘right’ time to send a request, as it will depend on the demographic of your businesses’ customers.
Start collecting more reviews today
Using a trusted reviews platform is the perfect way to reach out to your genuine customers and gather their feedback. Feefo has one of the highest response rate in the industry (up to 25%) and only real customers are invited to leave a review, eliminating the chance of damaging fake feedback.