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Written by
Katy Ratican
3 May 2021
5 minutes

Reminder text messages for reviews: How soon, how often, and how many times should you ask?

Small business owners should know when, how soon, and how often to send reminder text messages to maximise their chances of getting online reviews.
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If only you could have a conversation with every customer after their purchase and personally request them to leave an online review, that would be great. But in the real world, you’ll have to send a reminder text message.

This doesn’t mean that you can send a reminder text message as soon as you hand over the receipt or when they leave your store. You should base it on your product or service and the nature of delivery.

Before we get to that, you might wonder why you need to send a reminder text message. Well, an SMS request for a review is easier to open and less intrusive. Even those customers with basic feature phones will be able to read it and importantly, they’ll get your text immediately.

All of which makes SMS reminders one of the most effective ways to request online reviews. With that, let’s get to the first question.

How soon should you send a reminder?

That depends on whether your customer has had a chance to experience your product or service. In other words, whether it’s regular consumption or delayed consumption.

Regular consumption

These are instances where the customer would’ve had the time to consume your product or service. So, gratification would’ve already happened. In these cases, you can send a reminder text message within an hour of the product delivery or experience. These businesses include:

  • Hair salons

  • Restaurants (Both dine-in and delivery)

  • Grocery store (Both checkout and delivery)

  • Florists

  • Coffee shops (Both table service and carry)

  • Carpet cleaning services

  • Casual clothing

  • Massage parlours

Delayed consumption

In certain cases, the consumer wouldn’t be either able to consume your product or service or importantly, not be able to judge its effect. In such cases, you should wait at least a couple of days to send your reminder text messages. These small businesses include:

  • Veterinarians

  • Dentists

  • Auto mechanics

  • Utility repair (plumbers, electricians)

  • Tax consultation (In this case, you could send it even after a week)

  • Tour operators (After the tour, not after the booking)

  • Bookstores (Here, you could send it after a week or even two)

  • Formal or seasonal clothing

Consider the timing

In either of these categories, you shouldn’t send a reminder text message if it’s late at night. This especially applies to restaurants. If your diners are leaving your restaurant at nine or if you’re delivering it after ten, it’d be intrusive to follow up with a review request later that night.

You can send it the next day. People usually remember their previous night’s meal.

How often should you send a reminder?

You’re requesting only those customers who’ve experienced your product or service. So, if you lose out on a chance to send a reminder text message and remember it a week later, you can send a reminder once.

Customers are more likely to disregard your request if you take too long. The longer it’s between consumption and review, the less likely they’ll be interested. Plus, they may have forgotten your product or service.

The only exception to this is if you’re certain that these customers are regulars. In that case, they’d remember the place even if you send it a couple of weeks late.

When not to send a reminder

There's a window of opportunity in which you can request reviews. Once it’s over, you shouldn’t remind your customers for reviews in certain instances. That’s because any other issue that may have come up will be attributed to your product or (especially) service. So, don’t send a reminder a month late if you're in any of these businesses:

  • Utility repair

  • Carpet cleaning

  • Veterinarians

  • Auto mechanics

How many times should you send a reminder?

As a small business, the last thing you want to do is to irritate your customers. So, you should only send out a couple of reminder text messages. What’s important is the timing of the second message.

If you don’t receive a review with the first request, you should wait a couple of days to send the second reminder. If nothing happens after the second review, you should forget it for the time being.

If you do know them personally, you can request them in person the next time they’re at your premises. But do it only after they would have bought the product or service.

Test and tweak

The success of the timing may be unique to your business, your customers, or your product. A good idea is to create a spreadsheet and do test runs of different timings and frequencies. Record the number of responses and see which strategy works best for you.

If you see no pattern but get a high response rate across the board – pick the fewest number of reminders possible. The less intrusive, the better.

If you see no pattern but get a low response rate across the board – consider whether there is something wrong with your message. Is something confusing? Is the tone ‘off’? Could you change the phrasing or get a writer to check it? Could it be that the link to the review platform isn’t working?

In short

It’s only human to forget. Remember that even you may forget to review other businesses or services that you like. But with a structured response system like this, you increase your chances of being reviewed online. Which will go a long way in building your online reputation and drawing in more customers.

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