How to Get Great Customer Reviews (& Why You Need Them)
Learn more about why customer reviews are important (including stats), ways to collect them and how to encourage positive feedback.
Great customer reviews and closing sales go hand in hand. That’s because most of us read reviews before buying items, either to learn more about the quality of a product or to decide whether to buy from a specific seller.
But there’s a science to getting your feedback strategy right. So, for today’s guide, let’s do a deep dive into customer reviews, including why you need them, tips for collecting them and ways to get good ones.
The Importance of Customer Reviews
We’ll begin with why you need to collect and showcase your customer reviews. From increased sales and higher profits to transparency and trust, online reviews can lead to a number of significant benefits for your company.
Customer Reviews Lead to More Sales & Higher Profits
First of all, customer reviews can result in more sales and higher profits. Just take a look at some of the stats in this Invespcro infographic that compiled data from multiple sources and studies.
According to the data, 90% of shoppers report that they read online reviews before even visiting a business. Furthermore, 31% of consumers are willing to spend more on a business with stellar reviews, while a whopping 92% of customers say they’ll go to a local business if it has 4 stars or more.
Looking further at the research, we also find that 72% of consumers report that they will only “take action” (such as shop with a company or add an item to their cart) after reading a positive review. Also, a 1-star increase on Yelp can reportedly lead to a 5% to 9% jump in a company’s revenue, and just one negative review can cost a business as many as 30 customers.
Customer Reviews Convey Transparency
One of the reasons why customers are more likely to shop with a company that has plenty of online reviews is that showcasing feedback conveys transparency.
By letting your shoppers see what others have to say about your brand and products, you are demonstrating that you have nothing to hide. And by being transparent, you can also develop a trustworthy reputation, which we’ll cover in the next section.
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At a loss of how to follow up on negative reviews or what to say? We’ve done the work for you. These free templates include content for addressing negative reviews, automation, shipping and more.
Customer Reviews Inspire Trust
As stated, along with transparency comes trust. Having plenty of customer reviews on your website (especially positive ones) will make shoppers feel much more comfortable buying from you.
According to the aforementioned Invespcro data, 72% of consumers say positive reviews inspire them to trust businesses more. The majority of customers (56%) also report that they read at least 2 to 6 online reviews before trusting a business, while another 18% read at least 7 to 10.
Customer Reviews Help Establish Your Brand
In addition to increasing your sales and profit through better transparency and inspired trust, customer reviews also help to establish your brand.
Think about a time when you’ve looked for a certain product or service online. If you found it at multiple stores for around the same price point, what factor did you consider when deciding where to ultimately make your purchase? If one store had no reviews whatsoever, and another one had hundreds, you most likely felt more confident buying from the shop with lots of feedback.
That’s because those reviews make the brand seem more established. You can tell by the feedback that this is a store that has handled plenty of orders in the past, so you feel more certain they actually have the item listed on their website and will be able to ship it out to you within an appropriate time frame.
Tips for Collecting Customer Reviews
Now that we’ve explored why you need customer reviews, let’s talk about a few ways to collect them.
We’ve already written a comprehensive guide on the subject here: 22 Ways to Collect Customer Feedback — The Ultimate Guide. But, you can also find a few quick tips for asking for and gathering customer reviews below.
Send Follow-Up Emails / Communications
For starters, anytime a customer makes a purchase from you, be sure to follow up with them. Send out an email or other communications asking about their experience.
In your email, inquire about how the shopper’s order went. Did they receive their items in a timely manner? Were the correct items all included in the shipment, and were the products to the customer’s liking? Do they have any questions that you can answer?
And during your follow-up, invite the customer to provide feedback. This can be in the form of a survey to be filled out and / or a link to leave an online review. But remember, it’s important to be careful when asking for online reviews. You can request honest feedback, but many marketplaces and platforms (such as Amazon) have rules against expressly asking for positive reviews. Also, if you’re an eBay seller, eBay prohibits the inclusion of any contact information (or links) in your messaging to buyers. This is why it’s crucial to read up on the communication policies of any marketplace or platform on which you sell.
Use Phone Surveys
Another way to collect feedback from your customers is to use phone surveys. While this method is more for gathering internal feedback rather than online reviews, it can still help you to make necessary adjustments to your business practices in order to improve your odds of receiving positive online reviews in the future.
Create Pop-Up Forms
Ask shoppers for feedback while they’re on your website by using pop-up customer review forms.
These forms should contain a simple layout, such as an opportunity to give a star rating, provide comments and answer a few yes / no or multiple-choice questions. You can set them to appear at certain intervals or when users pull up specific pages on your website. One note though, make sure your forms aren’t set to pop up so often that they wind up being annoying to customers and causing click-aways.
Offer Perks in Exchange for Customer Reviews
Finally, in order to inspire more shoppers to leave customer reviews, offer perks in exchange for doing so.
For example, when sending a follow-up email to a customer after they’ve made a purchase from you, offer them 25% off their next order or free shipping if they leave an online review.
But remember, when using this or any other feedback collection strategy, it is crucial that you are only soliciting honest feedback. You also need to research the feedback solicitation policies of any marketplace or platform on which you sell, in order to ensure you are fully compliant with all rules. Here are links to the review solicitation or communication policies of several major platforms:
How to Get Great Customer Reviews
So, you know that customer reviews are important and you know how to collect them, but now comes the most important piece of the puzzle — making sure the feedback you receive is positive.
Getting great reviews depends on offering a positive experience to your customers. Here are our top tips for doing so…
Sell Quality Products / Services
First of all, if you want your shoppers to be happy with their purchases from your store, then you need to sell high-quality products and services.
That doesn’t mean you should only sell luxury items. But, regardless of the industry in which you operate, the products you offer should work as they are supposed to. That means your products should be the same in real life as they are portrayed on your website.
For example, if a customer orders a new stock pot that has been described on your website as “heavy-duty,” yet it breaks upon first use, that shopper is not likely to leave you a positive review.
Have Enough Inventory to Meet Demand
Next, keep shoppers happy by having enough inventory to meet demand. Do you sell an item that is especially popular or difficult to find in-stock elsewhere? By keeping enough of it on hand to have available to your customers, you can help improve the odds that you will get a good review.
Many eCommerce businesses have excelled at this during COVID. While brick and mortar shops were having difficulty keeping essential items such as toilet paper and bottled water on the shelves, several online companies thrilled shoppers by offering the products on their websites.
Make Shopping Simple for Customers
One of the most obvious ways to delight customers is to make shopping simple. From browsing your website to finding products to checking out, every step of the shopping journey should be as easy as possible to complete.
You can also go a step further by offering self-serve options on your site, such as FAQ pages and help docs. This kind of ease and simplicity won’t just encourage a positive experience (and therefore, positive customer reviews), it will also increase the probability that you will close sales by giving shoppers the answers they need to make good purchase decisions.
Offer Fair Prices
Want customers to rave publicly about how much they love your brand? Price your items fairly.
That doesn’t mean you need to offer the lowest possible price on every product. Obviously, it’s important to price your items in a way that is fair to the consumer yet still results in a company profit. But be sure to keep your rates reasonable and fair in comparison to other stores. You can also offset costs to customers by offering free shipping or product bundles for discounted prices.
Learn more about all the different ways you can price your products for success by reading our comprehensive guide: 23 Pricing Strategies Any eCommerce Seller Can Use to Increase Sales.
Process Orders & Ship Items Quickly
Another effective way to encourage positive customer reviews is to process orders and ship items quickly.
This is a big one. Two of the main reasons why customers shop online are speed and convenience. If a shopper orders something from you and then gets confirmation that it shipped on the same or the very next day, they immediately get a positive vibe about their experience with your store. Then, if they receive their items within just a few days of having placed their order, they are doubly happy.
While you can’t control the speed of shipping once an order leaves your warehouse, you can control how quickly your team gets it out. You are also able to decide which courier you use. So do your research and let past experience guide your future decisions so that you are always offering the most efficient solutions to your customers.
Get Things Right
If you want to receive positive customer reviews, it’s important to get things right.
When a customer orders an item, make sure they are sent the correct product. Double check that all of your product descriptions convey true information (and don’t contain typos). Ensure that any helpful content such as apparel sizing charts are accurate. And when a customer asks a question, give them knowledgeable answers.
Yes, we know mistakes happen. But you and your team should do your best to get things right the first time as often as possible. And when a mistake is made, own up to it and go the extra mile to address the issue.
Hold Sales & Promotions
Ever notice how the online customer reviews really rack up at stores that hold major sales and promotions? Just take a look over at Bath and Body Works during their semi-annual sale and you’ll see a plethora of reviews dated from December and June.
By holding sales and promotions, you’re not only encouraging shoppers to be so thrilled with the bargains they found that they leave you a glowing review, you’re also increasing traffic to your website in general.
On the same note, few things make shoppers happier than having their loyalty rewarded. Say “Thank you” to customers by offering them benefits for being repeat buyers.
Just a few ways to reward customer loyalty include:
- Member points that can be used toward future purchases.
- Discounts / free shipping on a customer’s next order.
- Birthday discounts or free items.
Pay Attention to Customer Preferences & Requests
Here’s a way to increase the odds that you will continually get good reviews. Pay attention to customer preferences and requests.
For example, are lots of customers asking you to stock a particular item? Stocking it might cause those shoppers to be so happy that they leave you a positive review. Or are shoppers frequently buying the same types of products? Keep that inventory in stock to make sure you’re meeting demand.
On the flipside, if customers are often asking the same questions or having the same problems navigating your site, make the necessary repairs. This improvement will surely lead to a better shopping experience and improved feedback.
Act on Previous Reviews
Along those same lines, act on previous reviews. Even if you’ve received negative feedback, this is a great chance to make adjustments accordingly. This can help you ensure future customers have a pleasant experience (and leave a good review).
You can even act on positive reviews by amping up any facets of your business that shoppers are particularly happy about.
If you want to receive good customer reviews and avoid negative ones, you need to practice proactive communication.
For instance, let customers know when their order has been received, processed and shipped. In doing so, you are showing them that you appreciate their business and are committed to getting their items to them efficiently.
You can also mitigate potential issues (such as courier shipping delays during busy periods) by anticipating them and communicating to your customers ahead of time. Your shoppers will likely appreciate the heads up and will be more likely to leave you a positive review.
Provide Excellent Customer Service
Finally, perhaps the most important component of any customer review strategy is to provide excellent customer service.
You need to respond quickly to inquiries, value your customers’ time and approach every interaction with a friendly demeanor. By doing so, you help to ensure that your shoppers are happy throughout every stage of the customer lifecycle.
As evidenced in our recent guide about customer expectations in 2021, today’s shoppers want answers to their questions in minutes, not hours or days. This is exactly why Replyco exists.
Our helpdesk software for eCommerce enables multi-channel online sellers to centralize all of their customer messaging into one easy-to-use inbox. And tools such live chat, smart auto-responders and email templates mean you can respond to inquiries quickly and effectively, even when you’re not in the office.