Should You Automate Online Reviews or Ask Every Time?
If you want to win the reputation game, you need to be asking for more online reviews.
But should the process of asking for reviews be an automated one, generated by some step in the transaction, almost as mindless as the production of a sales receipt? Or should the review request get a human touch–training and incenting your staff to personally request a review?
In addition to a simple A or B question, there are additional important things to consider, such as when you ask and how you ask.
With all of the expertise here at RepCheckup, I thought we’d put the question to three of our most knowledgeable Online Marketers and gather their thoughts on this important topic:
Arthur Miller – Customer Success Manager at RepCheckup
Asked: When? Arthur talks about when to ask for an online review.
“When it comes to requesting online reviews from customers, it’s important to have a practical understanding of WHEN (not whether) you should request a review. Right after, the day of, this week, or in the coming months are all acceptable, but the timing should be carefully considered and based on the type of service you provide.”
This type of business analysis is something that’s often left off the roster even when a business owner is thinking about how online reviews can benefit their business.
“It’s important for staff to inform customers: Knowing when and how you will be requesting feedback and a review will increase participation and avoid confusion.”
Because RepCheckup uses a direct link to guide your customers into leaving a review on a specific profile, the “guesswork” on behalf of the customer is cut down, which improves the likelihood of the review being left.
To round up his thoughts on timing review requests, Arthur explained: “A fertility clinic should wait 12 weeks to see if IUI or IVF treatment caused stable conception, for example. A dental patient that just had a root canal might need a few weeks to heal up, or a garage door contractor might immediately request an online review the moment the crew leaves the building.”
Nancy Roque – Ratings and Review Manager at RepCheckup
Asked: Why? Nancy talks about the importance of online review management software in automating your efforts.
“When it comes to automation vs asking everyone in person, automation is likely the best route to take if you want to make sure you’re definitely reaching customers and making it as easy as possible for them to leave you a review online.”
One of the most important steps you can take as you are trying to manage the online reputation of your business is to reach every customer you possibly can while improving the process that they must go through in order to leave their feedback. This also includes training staff to properly solicit reviews.
“It’s always a good practice to train your staff to ask everyone personally, but people often forget or don’t know what steps they should take once they get home. By sending them an email – or, better yet, a text message – that directly requests their feedback, you’re able to reach them directly through a medium that they can use to navigate to your business’s professional profile and leave the review then and there.”
As Arthur touched upon, timing is everything. It’s Nancy’s belief that making sure the timing of the ask is as important as the timing of the task – as the longer or more complicated the review process is for the customer, the less likely they are to go through with it. That’s why combining both in-person mentions of the review with an automated ask can work so well for many businesses.
“Automated online reputation management efforts, like soliciting reviews, work best when they’re complemented by in-person efforts but, in the case of most businesses who don’t have the time/resources to dedicate a lot of manpower to talking to customers in person, using tools to do the job for you is really what’s going to make this process a success.”
Garrett Smith – Founder and Managing Director of RepCheckup
Asked: How? Garrett talks about reinforcing an automated solicitation by also asking in-person.
Garrett Smith, the founder of RepCheckup, has seen and heard it all when it comes to online review solicitation and the tools businesses use to manage their online reputation. In his opinion, there isn’t an option that is 100% infallible.
Instead, Garrett stated that: “The best answer I can give is to do both! What I’ve seen work best in the past is to mention in the office to the customer or patient that reviews are important to the practice, and as result, they will be asked via an email or text message for their input.”
It’s sometimes difficult for a staff member to ask every single customer that interacts with them for a review, but this personal touch is key in Garrett’s opinion.
“Often times customers and patients respond better to a personal request, but forget to take action and leave a review later on in the day or the week. If you both ask in person, and then send an automated email or text message, you’re giving yourself the greatest chance at a new review being generated.”
How should you ask your customers for online reviews?
The results are in. Suffice to say that:
- Both asking in person and automating with online review software increases feedback.
- Automation is key as a failsafe to make sure customers participate.
- There is no replacement for the human touch.
- Paying attention to timing and context will yield the best results.
No matter what or how you do it, you’re way ahead of most of your competition if you can ensure that every customer is getting at least a reminder or two to leave you a review. As long as you’re doing it, it’s hard to go wrong.