Customer reviews can be like gold dust for your business.
95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase, making them an essential tool for closing a sale. And you don’t need many reviews to see a huge difference, either — when a product or service has just five reviews, the likelihood of it being purchased increases by a massive 270%.
But securing reviews from your customers isn’t always easy, is it? “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”, as the old saying goes. So to claim those revenue-boosting reviews to display on your website and social media, you need to take the lead.
And let’s say you’re already in the habit of asking for reviews, but you’re not seeing many come back in return. In that case, it’s less about having to ask more, and more about asking at the right time.
Welcome to the variable world of customer reviews, where the answer to what, how and when pretty much always comes back to: it depends.
The ‘right’ amount of days to leave between a customer buying from you, and you asking for their review, will be specific to your business and the kind of reviews you’re after.
Take product reviews, for example. You shouldn’t ask for these until your customer has had enough time to get to grips with their new purchase. How long that takes will depend on the type of product you’re selling, but it should usually fall somewhere between a week and 30 days.
If you’re in the service industry, it’s better to strike when the iron’s hot — you want to catch your customers when your service is still fresh in their minds. We’re talking no later than a few days after their visit, ideally even sooner. That way, if they’ve had a positive experience, they’ll be more likely to let you know.
It’s also important to send your review requests at the right time of day. Reviewtrackers did some great research into this and found that 2-3pm and 6-7pm were the best times to ask for feedback, based on a sample of over 150,000 reviews.
This, unsurprisingly, suggests that customers are more likely to leave a review during their lunch breaks and out-of-office hours when they have more free time. It makes sense, then, for you to try and catch your customers in these quieter times, too.
That said, every business is different and what works for others might not work for you. There’s no hard and fast rules here, which is why — ultimately — you need to get out there and collect your own data to figure out the right approach for your business.
Ready to put your research hat on? To identify the review sweet-spot that works for your business, you’ll need to test out some theories...
Are you more of a gut instinct business owner, or someone who uses data for evidence? Both approaches are valid to start — you can go on a hunch, or use the research we shared above.
Whatever you do, just commit to sending out those review requests.
The worst that could happen is you don’t get as many reviews as you’d like, which is totally fine. You don’t need to get it right the first time.
But before you hit ‘send’...
Now that you’ve got your initial list set up, you’ll want a way of recording what works and what doesn’t. You don’t need anything too fancy to do this — a simple spreadsheet will do.
On it, track the number of days that have passed since the customer purchased from you, the time of day you sent the request and the response rate for every request that goes out. You can do this by creating columns for zero-seven days post-purchase (or more/less, depending on your business) and rows for each hour of the day.
For a month or so, try sending review requests at different times and keep populating your spreadsheet with up-to-date data. It’s worth following up each request with a quick reminder, too. Three or four reminders sent out spaced over a couple of weeks should help to increase responses.
Eventually, you’ll begin to notice a pattern emerging — slowly, at first, but then very clearly as your data set expands.
This will give you the insights you need to take on the next step.
What do your results tell you? What seems to be the right time of day to send review requests? And how long should you wait after a purchase to reach out?
Lock-in these findings and send your requests using this formula for another week or two.
Have you found your sweet-spot? Are you getting a better response rate than before your experimentation? If not, repeat the above steps until you do.
And even if you have landed on the perfect slot, remember to keep a close eye on how many reviews come back. Customer behaviour can change pretty quickly, so it’s important to monitor your strategy and stay ahead of the curve.
Work through the steps we’ve covered today and you'll be well on your way.
Let us know how you get on, and remember to just dive right in and get started. You can’t go wrong!
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