When people are looking for a product or service, they want to know they can trust the company they do business with. Testimonials and reviews can help consumers or b2b customers establish that trust, and get over uncertainties they may feel during their decision-making process.

Search Engine Land conducted research in which they found that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation. In the same survey, 52% said that positive online customer reviews make them more likely to use a local business, compared to 28% who make their decision on factors like location and price. Furthermore, 76 percent of consumers use online reviews to determine which local business to choose. So, if you didn’t believe that having positive reviews was important, hopefully those numbers help convince you.

Now that you have a picture painted of how many consumers are using reviews to make decisions, it’s important to understand how to get positive reviews, and what makes a review effective.

What makes a good testimonial?

If you’re trying to get positive testimonials from a customer, you first need to have a clear understanding of what makes a good testimonial. Is it merely a gushing description of how wonderful the customer’s experience was? No. It needs to be more than that.

The kind of reviews that will be most effective focus on both a problem and a solution. While this format may not be relevant for every product or service, ideally, the kind of testimonial you want will share the customer’s journey with the product by sharing the problem and then focusing on the solution they got with the product/service.  

Here are a few tips on how to get positive reviews and on how to take the right approach as you do so.  

1. Go Out and Find Them

The first tip is to recognize that you’re going to have to seek out positive reviews. In general, consumers are far more likely to write a review when they’ve had a bad experience than they are to write a review when they’ve had a good experience. Their frustration with their negative experience will quickly drive them to report on it in their vengeful state. However, a normal experience will likely not inspire them to feel that they should write a polarized review. For this reason, if you want positive reviews, you will need an action plan to get them.

2. Provide Outstanding Products & Services

If this one seems like a no-brainer, that’s because it should be. Just as we mentioned above, if people have a generally pleasant experience with your product or service, they may not feel the need to write a review as much as they would for a more extreme experience. We can all relate to the need to vent our frustrations when we’ve had a negative experience. However, have you ever had an experience that was so positive you felt like you wanted everyone to know about it?

While seeking out positive reviews is still necessary, providing exceptional services and products is crucial in giving your customers something to talk about. If they have an incredible experience with your customer service or your product, they are going to be more likely to want to share that with others. Your quality and service are key to being deserving of positive reviews. Examine your company’s weaknesses and implement needed changes to improve customer experience.

3. Ask the Right Questions

When you are gathering testimonials, be sure that you ask your customers the right questions to help you get the right answers. Remember that the most effective testimonial will share both the problem and the solution. Choose a format as you gather your testimonials that allows you to outline the specific questions you want to be answered. Here are a few questions you may want to include, where relevant:

  • What problem did you want to solve before your purchase of this product/service?
  • What reservations did you have about purchasing the product/service?
  • What was the result you had?
  • Was there a specific feature or service you enjoyed?
  • Would you recommend this product or service to others? If so, why?

4. Create a Dedicated Review Space

Creating a dedicated review space can be a great tool for gathering reviews. This is effective for a few reasons. By giving customers a place to leave reviews on your own site, you can also provide valuable content to them as to how to best use your product or service. If they’re already going to your site to leave a review, they’ll be more likely to check out a relevant blog post or page on your site that provides them with additional value.

Having dedicated review space on your site not only gives you a chance to easily invite customers to leave positive reviews but makes managing negative reviews easier. A negative review posted on your own site is a lot easier to manage and respond to than a negative review posted somewhere else. Having a dedicated review space also provides ease of use for clients and gives you the chance to give prompts for the kind of responses you desire.

5. Offer a Reward

Offering a reward can be very effective for gathering reviews but you have to be careful. While it may be tempting to offer a reward in exchange for a positive review, that tactic will get you into trouble quickly. You shouldn’t ask specifically for positive reviews in exchange for the reward. The reward has to be given for ALL reviews. While rewards are a great way to increase customer engagement and illicit reviews, just be mindful that you won’t be able to control the type of review you receive.

6. Make reviews part of your customer email communication

Sending an email to a customer, asking if they’d like to contribute a review right after they make their purchase is a great way to connect with the customer while their experience with your business is still fresh in their mind. In the email, send them to a form they can easily fill out. Then, you can more easily manage negative and positive reviews and choose those that you wish to use publicly.

7. Make it as easy as possible for the customer

Ease of use will always be vital to getting customers to engage in a review process. You will need to give them a way of providing feedback to you that is convenient for them. As mentioned above, an email form or survey are both great options. Directly sending them a link is also a tactic that removes steps from the process, making it easier for less motivated reviewers to leave their feedback.

You can also use customer service calls as an opportunity to ask a customer if you can share their story once the problem is resolved. Take natural client conversations and ask for permission from the customer to use them as reviews. Opening your reviews tab on Facebook also makes review access for the majority of consumers, as the average person spends nearly 2 hours browsing their social media accounts each day.   

Gathering positive reviews holds great value for your business but it can also be a challenge. This list gives you a solid place to start. Above all, remember that getting positive reviews takes effort on your part, but the results are totally worth it.

Megan Shockley
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