Your local business needs Google reviews to build trust, generate interest, and convert new customers. But even though some of your customers may leave reviews on their own, unprompted, asking for reviews is a better bet. Plus, requesting a review is a great way to engage your customers and establish a more personal relationship with them.
It does take some time — and a little creativity — to request reviews, and not every method may work for your business and available resources. Pick what makes sense for you and your customers, but whatever you do, don’t discount the importance of Google reviews. Instead, make it a central part of your review management strategy.
Here are some ways to request a Google review:
1. Send a text
Asking customers for a review via SMS (or text message) is an increasingly popular way to do it, especially since consumers are so comfortable interacting with businesses by text these days. The vast majority of consumers (93%) have already opted in to receive texts from a brand, so chances are good your customers are open to getting texts from your business.
Before you text your customers, though, make sure they’ve actually opted in to receive texts from you. If not, don’t bother them.
For those who have opted in, send a brief text that includes a short link where they can go and leave a review. Always include an opt-out or unsubscribe option if they don’t want to get texts from you anymore.
2. Send an email
Requesting reviews by email is another popular option that’s relatively simple and easy to personalize.
When customers make a purchase, make sure to add their email to your customer list. Then send a follow-up email asking for a review. To save time, you can even create a reusable template and just fill in the customer’s details, such as their name and the product or service they purchased.
As with a text message, provide a short link in the email where the customer can leave the review. It’s important to make it as quick and simple as possible so the customer will actually do it. Giving them too many hoops to jump through or too many steps to follow will quickly turn them off.
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3. Provide a QR code
If you want to get creative, consider providing a QR (Quick Response) code that customers can scan with their smartphone to get a link where they can leave the review. QR codes became more common during the COVID-19 pandemic when restaurants started using them to give customers contactless access to menus. Restaurants and retailers still widely use them today.
One of the benefits of QR codes is that the customer doesn’t have to take the extra step of clicking on a link or searching for a URL. With one quick action, they scan the code and land directly on the review link. This also makes it easy for them to leave a review at that moment — and not save it til later when they might forget.
You can use a QR code generator to create your code and then place it on product packaging, signs or brochures in your store, or even your website. QR codes tend to appeal to technically savvy customers who feel confident using them. But they may not be the best option for every customer, especially older customers.
4. Include a link in your customer portal
Another personalized way to request a review is online via a customers-only portal. Businesses in the home improvement or personal services industries, for example, often have a portal linked to their website where customers can login to access their account, make payments, book services, and more.
Though you can always include a review link on your website, too, providing a link at the customer portal level is even more useful, especially if customers access their accounts often. That way, you can get the request directly in front of them, and not have to assume they’ll notice the review link elsewhere on your site.
Include a prominently displayed review link when customers first login to their account. As with every other method listed here, make it as simple and as easy as possible for them to click and leave a review.
5. Ask the customer in person
Finally, don’t underestimate the value of asking for a review in person — especially after a positive interaction. When the purchase or service experience is fresh in the customer’s mind, it’s a great time to seize the moment.
Hand them a receipt with a review link circled at the bottom, or give them a business brochure or card that includes the link. Any little nudge can inspire a satisfied customer to post a review.
You can also have the business owner or a salesperson make the request in person, especially if the customer has a relationship with them. It’s another personalized touch that makes customers feel appreciated and therefore more inclined to do what you ask.
Incentives can help
Offering an incentive to a customer who leaves a review might increase the likelihood that they’ll respond. This could be a gift card, a discount off their next purchase, or some other free gift or reward.
Note: According to FTC guidelines, you should not incentivize customers for only positive reviews.
It’s important to understand, though, that you can’t dangle an incentive in front of a customer in exchange for a positive review only. Even with an incentive, the customer has the right to leave whatever type of review they see fit — positive, neutral, or negative.
On the whole, offering an incentive in exchange for a review tends to result in more positive reviews because it makes the customer experience more positive in general. But you still want to be careful that the reviews that are posted are accurate, and that you’re not seeking a bunch of positive reviews to cover up a bad product, service, or customer experience. In other words, you’ll still need to address any problems that come to light from a negative review.
Use a review management platform
When in doubt, or if time and resources are in short supply, you can always use a review management platform like GatherUp to automate the process of requesting and receiving Google reviews.
GatherUp’s platform is especially valuable for multi-location businesses or for digital agencies that manage reviews for multiple clients and want a white-label review management solution. You can manage the request process in one place with customizable, branded review requests sent from a single platform that can scale up or down, no matter how many business locations you have or clients that you’re managing.
You can request, gather, and manage more Google reviews through text, email, your website, and other links, without expending tons of time or resources.
To learn more, chat with one of our experts today. Or download the eGuide for comprehensive information and tips for effective Google review management.