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First of all, most businesses don’t even ask their customers for any kind of feedback on their service at all. Why? It’s probably because they just haven’t made it a priority. So before you go any further with this article, do yourself a favor: make customer service (and improving it) a priority in your business! I won’t go into why in this article. You should know why!
There are a lot of tools out there that help businesses get feedback from their customers about their customer service. Customer service tools are a big business. After all, whether a customer chooses your business or decides to ever do business with you again is in LARGE part due to the level (or lack thereof) of service you provide. There are almost too many to choose from: email survey tools, third party follow up calling services, net promoter score, etcetera etcetera. Push all of this aside for a second, and there are a couple thing you can implement to really increase both feedback to your business for improving your service, and the number of positive online reviews you get.
Tip #1 – Act as If
Unfortunately, customers judge your business on very limited information. Their impression of the entire company is going to be personal, and probably based on the interaction of 1, maybe 2 employees. So this is probably the most important tip: If you act as if every customer you see will actually be leaving a review for the world to see, you will behave differently. Act as if even if you don’t ask for a review, you will get one. Your boss, your other customers, and you will see this review. Aim to make 100% of customers happy.
If you do this, you’ll behave differently. The little things will matter. It’s a different frame of mind, but you need to think about this from the customer’s perspective. What’s important to them? That you’re on time? That it’s done right? That they feel comfortable with what you’re selling them? That they aren’t being talked down to? That they’re getting their money’s worth? That you’re friendly? Well obviously all of these things matter, so act like it!
This is the most important tip, because if you don’t “act as if” and you ask for reviews, you might not like the results…
Tip #2 – Make Things Personal
Someone is going to be interacting with the customer. It’s extremely important to establish rapport with the customer as soon as you can. How do you do that? This may be more of a touchy-feely subject, but the simplest way you can do that is to use their name frequently (but not too frequently). So start off with a few of these ideas to make things personal between the company (employee / team member) and the customer:
- Use their name (first name preferably) frequently.
- Look them in the eye when you’re talking to them.
- Talk about something other than doing business.
- Ask a lot of questions about them. People love to talk about themselves!
- DO NOT: be short, frustrated, use complex words, or bad mouth competitors.
This shouldn’t be forced. The idea is simply to make a friend. If you make a friend, it will be SO much easier to ask for feedback or an online review. Even if it’s not you that ends up doing the asking, if the customer liked you, they will want to help you.
So how, then, do you actually go about asking? After you’ve laid the ground work of establishing good rapport and making a friend, keep things personal.
Consider this: People don’t like to be solicited, especially by companies. They get that every day. Since you have a somewhat personal relationship with the customer, you will be asking for feedback on your service, not just feedback for the company.
The key concept here is that since you’ve got rapport with your customer now, you ask them personally for feedback, using words like “I” & “me”, instead of “us” and “we”. Example:
You: “Janice, is there anything else I can do for you today? Was my service up to your expectations?”
Customer: “Yes, it was good, thanks.”
You: “Good to hear. Would you mind leaving me some feedback about my service? I’d really appreciate it – you’d really be helping me out and it will hardly take but a minute.”
Customer: “Sure, no problem Amy.”
Instead of asking Janice to leave ACME, Inc. a review, Amy is asking Janice to personally leave her feedback about her service. This is much more likely to result in positive feedback and a good online review. The way you apply this to your situation may vary, but the concept is the same: the service provider is personally asking them for feedback about their service, not for feedback about the company.
Tip #3 – Create an Obligation
This is a time-tested sales technique. Give something to someone without asking for anything in return, and it creates a “soft” obligation for them to give something back to you. It doesn’t even have to be anything crazy. This can supercharge your efforts if it’s done consistently and tactfully.
There are a lot of ideas out there, but a simple & common one we suggest to businesses is to give them a coupon for a discount on something in the future. Not only does this create a soft obligation because you’re giving them something they couldn’t have gotten elsewhere, but it will increase repeat business.
A classy way to say this is, “Thanks so much for your business today, Janice. As a thank-you for doing business with us, here is a coupon for a free oil change next time you need one. We really appreciate it – no feedback is necessary.”
You mentioned the feedback again, and you said it wasn’t even necessary to redeem the oil change. Again, this has the effect of obligating the customer to give you feedback. Not everyone will, but it certainly will increase your success rate, plus hopefully bring the customer back to do business with you again. How can you implement this in your business?
Tip #4 – Keep it Classy
Never ask for a good review. ‘Nuf said? This one is common sense, but what’s the old saying? Common sense isn’t so common…
Instead, ask for “honest feedback” or “your feedback about my service” or something akin to that. NEVER ask a customer if they would leave you a good review or a 5-star review or whatever. It’s just cheesy, and it won’t work. You’re essentially telling the customer what to do! They won’t like it, and it could actually backfire on you because now it looks like you’re manipulative. Your customer will be wondering, “Have I been manipulated?” It’s extremely important to stay classy, folks.
Tip #5 – Make it Easy
OK so you asked for feedback, but how does that actually result in a positive review?
Remove the friction. Make it easy for them to leave you a positive review. With a system like review.camp, it’s as simple as visiting a web page for your business. If the customer clicks 4 or 5 stars, the software thanks them for their feedback and tactfully asks them to share their experience on whatever review site(s) you want (like Google, Yelp! or BBB, for example). It only takes a few clicks, and less than a minute or two.
Review.camp even works on mobile phones, so if you’re there with the customer, you can (again, tactfully & in a classy way) direct them to the web page.
Don’t be afraid to ask your customers more than once. If you have their email, send them a follow-up email, carefully worded. Again, this email should have a link they can simply click a couple of times that will take them through to ask for a review on a website of your choice. Here is a good example:
“Hi Janice, Thanks for the opportunity to do business with you. We truly appreciate our customers! We’re always looking for feedback about our service. If you wouldn’t mind taking just a minute to provide some feedback about your service provider, we’d truly appreciate it!
If you already have, thanks so much! Let us know if there’s anything more we can do for you.
ACME, Inc. Support Team”
In short, it should be easy & as painless as possible for a customer to leave feedback about your company, because that will result in the most amount of positive reviews.
Tip #6 – Ask the Right Customers
Just as important as asking the right way is asking the right customers. It goes without saying that you don’t want to ask a customer who is clearly disgruntled for feedback through a system that asks for online reviews. However, you should still ask for feedback.
Asking for feedback is critical to improving your customer service, scoring more 5 star reviews in the future, and winning more business. You just wouldn’t want to make it easy for these customers to leave a bad review on the internet. You should listen to the customer, address their feedback, and work hard to make them happy.
Sometimes you might have a great customer service success story, and end up with a glowing customer that clearly appreciates what you did to make things right. Is this the right customer to ask for a review? Sure! It depends on the exact situation, but most of the time, done tactfully, these types of customers can be your biggest referrers and proponents.
Learn How to Ask for Customer Reviews so You Actually Get Them!
Asking for customer reviews is step numero uno. How you ask for reviews can make an incredible difference in your success rate. This article can serve as a guide for you to create a process in your business that will ensure the highest rate of success with your online reputation. Share it with your team & start seeing more results today!