More than 90% of customers read reviews before making a purchasing decision. This means most of your potential sales are at the mercy of what former customers say about your products or services.
Unfortunately, study after study has concluded that an unhappy customer is more likely to leave a review than a happy customer. The web has many more Simon Cowells than Paula Abduls – especially if you’re a brand. People expect satisfaction when they pay for something. If they don’t get it, you and all your potential customers will hear about it.
In a world where gratification is often expressed through silence, you’ll need a tactful way of asking your customers to speak up about what you’re doing right.
Enter the review request campaign.
Let’s walk through the basics of a feedback request, and take a close look at some of the very best email templates asking for reviews.
When to Request Reviews
The success of a review request campaign hinges upon seizing the most opportune moment to ask for a customer review. Here are 5 of them:
- Shortly following a purchase (make sure you consider the amount of time it would take for a customer to see the benefits of what you’re selling; a doughnut is consumed faster than a risk management platform).
- When a customer repurchases or reorders.
- If they have mentioned your brand on social media.
- Once success of your product or service has been demonstrated.
- Upon receiving a referral.
What Channels to Refer Reviewers To
Think about which of your brand’s online channels will benefit most from a positive review. Is it directly on a product page on your site? Is it in a niche industry forum? The Better Business Bureau?
Here are a few examples of some of the most prominent review destinations across the web:
Amazon and other third-party seller sites
If you’re a B2C e-commerce company that generates most of its sales through Amazon, then make an Amazon review request the default for your company. The same applies for Etsy, eBay, Overstock and other e-commerce platforms. Third-party platforms are a great source of revenue for many businesses, and great online reviews can help accelerate purchasing.
Your own website
Alternatively, if you have an e-commerce store that doesn’t sell on third-party sites, encourage customers to leave a product review directly on your product pages. A B2B company can also use its website or blog to publish a customer testimonial, a case study, quotes from satisfied customers or all of these. For highly niche B2B verticals, targeted outreach to specific satisfied customers requesting a positive testimonial may be the only way to generate social proof, and your business page might be the only place to promote those positive reviews.
B2B review sites
A less niche B2B company may want to direct review traffic to another source. For example, a CRM company will benefit from user reviews on G2.com or TrustRadius.
Companies with a local presence – both B2B and B2C – should set themselves up on Google My Business (GMB) to manage their Google reviews and ratings. The overwhelming majority of web traffic occurs through search engines, meaning the first reviews that a potential customer searching for a local business will see are directly on Google.
Optimizing a GMB profile is also essential for local search engine optimization purposes. It helps ensure that your company is listed in Google under the correct business name, with the right hours, address and other details.
Other business directories
These might include:
- The Yellow Pages.
- The Better Business Bureau.
How to Request Reviews (+ Email Templates)
You need to make it as easy as possible for customers to leave a review – or for that matter, provide any sort of feedback that could help your business improve.
Someone who wants to throw a tantrum on the internet will actively seek out the biggest audience for their tirade. But a delighted customer will only give you an attaboy if it doesn’t take very much time out of their day.
Start by including a “review us” link in the email signature of any transactional emails, customer service emails, etc. The recipient need only click this link to be taken to a review platform of your choice.
Also consider leaving a “review us” or “provide feedback” form on your contact us page to solicit feedback. If you offer online support, you can link to this page, or another review channel, after each interaction.
Even then, you’ll need to reach out to customers to encourage them to offer feedback, leave a review or speak positively on behalf of your brand. And there’s no better way to do that than via email.
When the time is right, use one of the email templates below to ask for a review, rating, feedback, testimonial or referral:
For a product review
Email subject line: Don’t forget to leave a review
Hi [First name],
Our customers rely on reviews from insightful people such as yourself to decide which of our products and services is right for them.
If you have a moment to spare, please click on the button below to tell us if you’re enjoying your [product name].
Rate it or review it.
And as always, thank you for choosing [your brand or company name].
For a one-time B2B or B2C service
Email subject line: How did we do?
Hi [First name],
Thanks for choosing us to [service you provide]. We appreciate your trust in us and value your business.
If you were happy with our services, please take a moment to leave a review on [platform of your choice].
It would mean the world to us.
Until next time,
For a hotel, spa or salon
Email subject line: Was it as nice for you as it was for us?
Hi [First name],
Of all the [business types] in [your location], you chose ours. That makes us feel pretty darn special.
But we want to know: Did we return the favor?
Leave a review on [preferred platform] and let us know how your [service type] experience with [company name] went.
We read all of our feedback and take it to heart so that we can continue to improve on our [service type].
For a survey feedback request
Email subject line: Tell us how we’re doing in a brief survey
Hi [First name],
At [company name], we’re always trying to improve our [list your type of product service]. And we can’t do it without your honest feedback.
Please take a moment to fill out our brief survey. (I promise, it’ll only take a minute.) Pull no punches. We want the good, the bad and the ugly.
Complete the survey.
For a testimonial request
Email subject line: A case study/ testimonial featuring [client name]
Hi [First name]
I hope you and yours are well!
I’m reaching out because I was taking a look at some of the work we’ve been doing with you (thanks again for choosing us!), and was wondering if you would be open to us creating a [case study or testimonial]. I was hoping to [write up a piece/ create a video] about what we’ve been working on with you and incorporate some of your feedback and/or results.
Would you kindly respond back letting us know if:
- We can identify [you or your company] by name.
- We can quote you directly about your experiences with us.
- You have additional input on your relationship with [your company] that you might want to provide.
Thank you so much!
For a B2B referral request
Email subject line: Request for a potential referral
Hi [First name]
I first want to thank you again for choosing us for your [service or product type] needs. We’re so glad that we’ve been able to exceed your expectations.
And, in fact, I’m reaching out because I was wondering if you would be willing to vouch for us to a potential prospect we’ve been in contact with. All we need from you is to complete the [form, survey, attached document, etc.] and return it to us.
We would really appreciate the help if you have the time, but totally understand if not. Either way, we look forward to doing more great work for you.
A Few Best Practices for Email Requests
Short, concise emails are always better – especially if you’re just asking for a general product rating or review.
The only exception is a testimonial request email, which will need to be much more personalized if you’re hoping to get a specific individual to speak on behalf of your brand.
Otherwise, here a few other general pointers to keep in mind in with any review request email you write:
- Include a clearly labeled, clickable “review button” somewhere in your email.
- Try to address recipients by their first name.
- Be polite, gracious and always thank the recipient for their business.
- Encourage honesty when soliciting survey feedback that only your company will see. You want the truth about where you can improve your business.
- Consider adding an incentive (free points to your next purchase, a discount, etc.) for a customer to leave a review.
How to Respond to Bad Reviews
Ask and you shall receive. But beware: You won’t always like what you receive.
When a dissatisfied customer expresses their ire, you can soften the blow to your reputation with a diplomatic, well-meaning response.
Approximately 84% of potential customers will read a business’s response to a bad review. The goal here isn’t to be combative or to make excuses. Rather, a response to a bad review achieves two goals:
- It opens the door to further discussion on the phone or via email with the dissatisfied customer to turn a negative experience into a positive one.
- It demonstrates to anyone else who’s watching that you value your customers’ opinions, even the not so flattering ones, and are willing to work toward a resolution with them.
Here is a potential template you can use to respond to a negative review or social media comment:
Hi [customer’s name] – we’re sincerely sorry to hear that your experience with us hasn’t met your expectations. More importantly, we want to know more about your situation and figure out how we can make this right. Please [give us a call or email us ] at [insert phone number or email address] so we can discuss this together, and hopefully earn back your business.
Avoid using your own company name in your response if at all possible. You don’t want to bring any more attention to the negative review than you need to, and you want to minimize your brand’s association with bad feedback.
Also, remember that you can’t win them all. Some relationships won’t end well and, in many cases, it will be through no fault of your own.
As long as you actively focus on review generation, the positive feedback will always outshine the negative.