Best Practices to Collect Online Reviews


April 2, 2024

Online reviews wield significant influence over consumers' purchasing decisions. Whether it's choosing a restaurant for dinner or selecting a doctor's office, people often turn to online reviews to gauge the quality and credibility of businesses.
 
For businesses, collecting online reviews isn't just about reputation management; it's a crucial aspect of their digital marketing strategy. Positive reviews can build trust, improve search engine rankings, and ultimately drive more sales. However, acquiring these reviews requires a strategic approach. Here are some best practices for collecting online reviews ethically: 

1. Provide a Great Experience

The foundation of positive reviews lies in delivering outstanding products or services. Prioritize customer satisfaction by going above and beyond their expectations. When customers are delighted with their experience, they're more likely to leave positive feedback voluntarily.

2. Simplify the Review Process

Posting a review should be easy for customers, so they’re more likely to do it. Provide clear instructions and multiple platforms for customers to share their feedback, such as Google, Yelp, or industry-specific review sites.
​​Additionally, embed review forms or links in follow-up emails or on your website for convenience.

3. Offer an Incentive (Ethically)

While incentivizing reviews can be effective, it's essential to do so ethically. According to FTC guidelines, if you offer an incentive in exchange for a review, such as a discount or free product, you can't condition the review to be positive.
 
The review should also disclose the incentive for transparency. However, always make sure to check and follow the review platform's policies. For example, Google's Seller Rating Partner Requirements prohibit merchants from offering their customers financial incentives for reviews. 

4. Use Signage in Business Locations

If you have a physical business location, display signage that lets customers know where they can read and post online reviews. The signage can be on entrance doors, cashier registers, menus, tables, and more.

5. Respond to Reviews in a Professional, Timely Manner

Respond promptly to reviews to show customers that you value their feedback. Thank customers for positive feedback and address any concerns or issues raised in negative reviews. Demonstrating your commitment to customer satisfaction can enhance your brand's reputation and credibility.

6. Ask for Reviews at the Right Time

Timing is key when asking for reviews. Request feedback when customers have just had a positive interaction with your brand or have experienced the value of your product/service. For instance, after completing a purchase or successfully resolving a customer service issue, politely ask for their feedback.

7. Leverage Email Marketing

Incorporate review requests into your email marketing campaigns. Segment your email list based on customer satisfaction levels or purchase history and tailor your review requests accordingly. Personalized emails with a clear call-to-action can significantly increase review submissions. 

8. Consider a Third-Party Review Partner

Another way to follow up with customers for reviews is to use a Google-supported review partner, like Trustpilot and Reviews.io. Although these are paid services, they allow you to test multiple messages and schedules to optimize your strategy.

9. Train Your Team

Ensure that your team is trained to encourage and facilitate the review collection process. Equip them with the necessary knowledge and tools to solicit reviews effectively, handle negative feedback professionally, and maintain a customer-centric approach. 

Launch a Review Collection Strategy for More Sales

Collecting positive reviews is essential for attracting customers. By implementing these best practices, your business can leverage the power of customer feedback to enhance its reputation, attract new customers, and drive business growth.
 
Remember, the key to cultivating a positive online presence is to prioritize customer satisfaction, simplify the review process, and engage with customers authentically.
 
Book a free 30-minute call with our digital marketing experts to explore review acquisition solutions that bolster your sales efforts!
 
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in August 2020 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.  

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