With over 95% of online buyers basing their buying decisions on online reviews, it’s a no-brainer that, as a service provider, you should collect as many reviews as possible to attract business your way.
One of the most important factors to pay attention to when asking for reviews is the time you are doing it. Ask them at the wrong time, and you will attract negative reviews even if you gave a satisfactory service. Ask them at the right time, and you have an easy time and higher chances of getting positive ones even if your service was subpar. It’s all about the timing.
When is the best time to ask for customer reviews? If you are asking this question, you should know that there are plenty of ideal times you can take advantage of. These times include:
Immediately after delivering a service
It’s often said that you should strike the iron when hot, and you should follow the same mantra with your business.
Have you just finished cleaning a client’s air conditioner or mowing their lawn? Don’t wait a few days to ask for the reviews. If you are confident you delivered a great service or the client has expressed satisfaction, ask them to give you feedback.
Let them know that they will be helping your business grow by letting other people know about their experience. Of course, don’t make them go online searching for your business and sites to leave you a review. Send them a link to the site where you would want them to leave their feedback.
When the customer talks to you about a positive experience
Studies show that most customers will get in touch when they have had a bad experience. Rarely will they get in touch when happy and satisfied with your service.
Are you one of the lucky people, and you have had a customer reach out to you, thanking you for your great service? You should not only leave a “thank you” reply or the usual “thank you for your kind words” message.
Tell the client that you seriously appreciate their kind words, but you would also want them to let the world know about their experience by leaving an honest review on your preferred review sites.
Since the client took the initiative to get in touch, they are more likely to spare a few minutes to leave a review. Again, make their work easy by sending them a link to the site where you want them to leave a review.
So, did you fix a client’s car, and they can’t stop raving about how well it runs? Or you fertilized a client’s yard, and they are over the moon because of how rush and green it looks? Don’t let the opportunity pass you by. Ask for that valuable review!
Immediately after providing support
If your business requires you to offer support to your clients, you can take the opportunity to ask for as many reviews as possible. After a client has called you on the phone or had a chat and solved their problem, as they are about to leave, ask them if they mind letting you know about their experience.
Of course, if you were resourceful and provided great support, most won’t mind sparing a few minutes of their time to give their feedback.
If the client got in touch via phone, send them a link to your preferred review site over their phone number. If they did so on social media, send them a link there too. It also doesn’t hurt sending a link to their email address.
When the customer hits a certain milestone
The milestone can be anything, but one of the best is when a customer repeatedly seeks your services. For example, if you are a mechanic, when a customer contacts you three or more times, it’s a clear indication that they love your service, and this is one of the best times to ask for a review.
After satisfactorily delivering a service for the third time, ask the customer to review your business.
During the holidays and special days
Holidays seem like competitions as different businesses try to outshine each other on who gives the best discount.
While this is good, as a smart business owner, you should think out of the box.
One of the ways to stand out is asking for reviews while others are bombarding clients with emails and phone messages with offers.
An excellent opportunity to take advantage of is during thanksgiving. As other businesses thank their customers and give them offers and crazy discounts, you should thank your clients and tell them how thankful and appreciative you would be if they left you a review.
Most people know that businesses thrive on reviews, and since they are in a happy and positive mood, they are moiré likely to give you the vital positive review that gives your business an edge over your competitors.
When interacting with your clients on social media
With everyone being on social media, you most likely post there at least once a week, don’t you?
As you are making the posts, ask for reviews from your followers.
Ask a simple question such as, “recently enjoyed our services? How was your experience?” Remember to include links to your Yelp, Google, or any of your preferred review sites.
What is the best way to ask for reviews?
Now that we have seen the best times to ask for reviews, the next question to ask yourself is what is the best way to ask for reviews? Well, there are plenty of ways to go about it. Some of them include:
It’s often said that the best way to stay on top of people’s minds is to get into their email boxes, and it’s true.
People visit their emails boxes every day or even several times a day, and you can take advantage of this.
Set up an email campaign for a customer survey and send it to the customers you want to collect reviews from.
Remember that people receive emails from different people, so you should remind them about what you recently did for them.
For example, if you recently fixed the client’s HVAC system, remind them about it, and then ask for a review.
The beauty of email campaigns is that you can use them to hit two birds with one stone. For example, you can use them to collect valuable feedback and, at the same time, evaluate the customer’s loyalty and satisfaction levels.
To get the most from emails, personalize them. This means you should write them in a way that you individually acknowledge every client. As a rule of thumb, never send cold and impersonal emails.
The other thing you should do is to ensure that you keep your emails short and sweet. Be clear of what you want the client to do and give them a link to your preferred review site.
What is the best time to send review request emails?
The best time would be after you have delivered the service to the client and you are sure they are satisfied with your service.
For example, if you just installed an air conditioner or repaired their heat pump and they showed enthusiasm with your work, send them an email with a simple heading such as, “How did we do?” or any other relevant message.
Use phone or text messages
People are always on their phones, and with phone messages having an over 98% open rate, it’s absurd to ignore asking your clients for messages over their phones.
Like with emails, your message should be short. Also, remember to refer to your customers by their names.
What is the best time of day to ask for a review?
Research studies show that people respond to reviews between 2-3 PM and 6-7 PM, so as you can guess, this is the best time to ask for them.
The response rates are high at these times because this is often the time most people are having their lunch or relaxing at home after a long day at work.
While these are the optimal times for reviews, it doesn’t mean that you should confine yourself to them. Test the different timeframes and find out the one that works the best for your business.
Best practices when asking for reviews
To collect as many reviews as possible, you need to observe a set of tips. These tips include:
Keep it simple: As we have been saying, people are busy, and so are your clients. They don’t have hours to go through blocks of text, so keep your messages simple, whether you are asking for a review over email or phone.
Limit your options: It is natural to want to collect reviews from all the available review sites, but don’t take that route. While reviews boost your reputation, sending a list of ten or more review sites to your clients is devastating.
A good way to go about it is to send them one or two sites. These can be Google and Yelp or any other of your preferred sites. Never go beyond two sites, as you will overwhelm your clients and they fail leaving you even a single review.
Give a few nudges: It’s common for the clients to be a little busy sometimes, so they forget to respond to your request. When you send your request, and the client doesn’t respond to it for a week, remind them about it. If they are still mum, give them another nudge a few days later.
If you do this and they are still unresponsive, don’t bother them again for a few months or until they hire your services again.
Make it easy for them: You should make it easy for your customers to leave a review by providing them a direct link to your preferred review site. As a rule of thumb, don’t ask them to review you on Yelp or Google, then leave it to them to find your business profile on these sites and give you feedback.
What should you do after getting a review?
You should first show that you appreciate your customer’s effort to review your business, so you should say thank you for their effort.
If the client didn’t have a good experience, so they left a bad review, respond to the review immediately and give your side of the story.
Appreciating and responding to the review isn’t enough—you need to amplify your feedback. This calls for you to go social. Share the reviews across the different social media platforms.
Tweet the review, put it on Facebook, upload a screenshot of it on your business Instagram. Do anything that will get the review seen by as many of your clients and potential clients as possible.
The purpose of doing this is to show what other people are saying about your business. Sharing will also help in the future as people also search for businesses, products, and services on social media platforms. Having reviews there will make it easy for people to find you and see what other clients say about you.
What shouldn’t you do?
The first thing you should never do is to solicit reviews from your customers. This means that you should never give them a gift or reward in exchange for a positive review.
In fact, all of the review sites discourage this, and if they find out that you are soliciting reviews, they will ban your account. And you don’t want this, do you?
The other thing you shouldn’t do is to buy reviews. You might be wondering how this is different from soliciting for reviews, but they are quite different. When you are soliciting, you might opt to give a gift to a customer who already enjoyed your service, but with buying, you pay even a total stranger to leave a review.
This is uncouth and unprofessional for any serious businessperson.
Also, since the reviews aren’t a real reflection of your business, even you won’t know how your business is doing.