You've built a fantastic product or service.
Most of your customers are happy. Naturally, you'd like to spread the word. The obvious question is, how? How do you acquire online reviews at scale?
The simple answer? Review request scripts.
At some point, you'll need to rely on your team. Your employees will need to take up the mantle and begin requesting reviews from your tribe of happy and satisfied customers.
Your employees don't know how to ask
They don't know what to say.
They're not entirely sure when or how to say it. What's worse, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of direct upside for employees.
They need guidance.
These employees need a framework. Scripts that give them a set of guidelines they can use to request online reviews. It's possible to acquire positive online reviews at scale - if you have the right scripts.
A word of caution here.
You'll need to resist the temptation to follow these scripts, any scripts, blindly. Conversations with customers are free-flowing and organic. They can be messy and unpredictable.
Flexibility is key here.
Mindlessly following these scripts is an easy way to turn your would-be positive reviews, into scathing negative responses. A face-to-face request requires nuance, attentiveness and sincerity. The requirements are simple: be excellent to your customers.
Your excellence attracts more excellence
Sounds a bit vague doesn't it?
It's actually about accumulated advantage, a concept known as the Matthew effect. It's a phenomenon that's summarized as "the rich get richer, the poor get poorer."
How does this apply to reviews?
If you rely on the best members of your team to make the face-to-face ask, you're far more likely to receive compelling and outstanding reviews. Send a surly or disagreeable employee out to make your request and you're far more likely to attract more negative reviews.
So send your best.
Send your best marketing, customer service, or account management people. The employees who've developed close relationships with clients. The legendary support reps your customers seek out. The small number of employees your customers are disproportionately drawn to.
Having a set of scripts employees can use gives them confidence. But it's also on managers to remind employees to use them. Offer encouragement and verbal praise by highlighting standout reviews, sharing the positive ones with everybody.
This upfront work is the key to a successful face-to-face ask.
A face-to-face request is unnecessary
You can make your request via email. Or text, or Facebook Messenger. Right?
These methods definitely work.
But they don't work as well as face-to-face interaction. I've covered this before, but it's worth repeating here. Face-to-face review requests are 34 times more effective than impersonal requests made via email, telephone or social media.
This is the secret most organizations miss.
Your review requests scripts won't be very effective if you neglect this upfront groundwork.
What about timing?
When should you use these scripts?
Is there a specific time that's more effective than others?
The short answer is yes.
Here are a few examples that explain the timing behind review requests.
1. Reciprocity. You've done something huge for your customer. You've just wowed them, you've gone above and beyond the call of duty. The principle of reciprocity kicks in, triggering a desire in your customers to return the favor.
2. Scarcity. There's something about your customer that makes them special or unique - they're your first customer, consistent big spenders, key influencers, etc. Uniqueness creates scarcity. Scarcity creates motivation and triggers behavior.
3. Authority. Your customer's story is compelling and powerful. So you extend them an opportunity to share their story with a key influencer. You keep the focus on them, raising their profile and creating prestige.
4. Consistency, or a failure in consistency, creates a review opportunity. If you've done amazing work, created a consistently amazing product, you've created ongoing review request opportunities. What about when you've let customers down? You request their feedback, using it as a trigger to create action.
5. Admiration. Your customers display behavioral markers showing that they love and/or admire your business. These customers are the believers and evangelists who are willing to spread the word about your greatness.
6. Consensus. Your list of powerful and influential customers shared glowing reviews about your organization. You approach new customers, inviting them to share their review, implicitly honoring and acknowledging them as peers of the powerful.
Did you catch that?
These six opportunities create a consistent stream of opportunities your employees can use to request online reviews at any time.
How do you go about using these "windows of opportunity?" They're not exactly clear, are they? And this doesn't really give your employees a clear idea of what they should say.
Ah, but it does.
Review request script #1: Reciprocity
When you make your customers happy, when you do something they expect you to do, your employees can use the "reciprocation script."
Here's an example.
We're really happy to hear [our product] exceeded your expectations. The fact that you [achieved these results] and that it was faster than you expected, is huge.
Would you be willing to share the details of what went right?
Your feedback would help some of the new customers we're bringing in. Takes approx. 3 min. It's no problem if you can't swing it.
Thought I'd reach out and ask.
Repetition is why this works.
Train your employees to expect and resist the temptation to manipulate, beg or harass your customers for a review. Be gracious and kind when you approach your customers. Attempt to force customers into a review and all the goodwill you've built up, evaporates.
Be excellent to your customer.
You've made your customers very happy. At this point, all you have to do is remind them of the amazing things you've just done for them. Preferably, right after the event in question.
Review request script #2: Scarcity
Identify the metric that makes your particular customer segment unique. Have these customers spent a considerable amount of time or money on your products? Do they know your products as well as your employees? Is your particular customer a foodie? An active Zomato reviewer?
Identify the particular segment you're looking for, then feed it back to them in your script, like this.
Hey Jan, got a sec?
Okay, so we noticed you're a prolific Zomato reviewer. Here's the thing: You're also one of our most knowledgeable customers. You as much about us as our employees do (which is amazing).
Can we get your feedback on these six questions? It'll only take two to three minutes at most, but your knowledge would make everything better for everyone.
Can you help?
(It's okay if you can't)
Specificity is why this works.
Can you pick out the specific details I've used to increase the likelihood that customers will bite? Here's a list.
· Got a sec? (You're asking for less than a minute of their time)
· A prolific Zomato reviewer. (We've checked you out. You're powerful, authoritative. We're impressed.)
· Most knowledgeable customers, know as much as our employees do. (We notice and value your contribution)
· Get your feedback. Asking for a review specifically triggers stress, fear and anxiety. Customers aren't sure what to say.
· Six questions, two to three minutes. These small numbers and figures decrease psychological resistance. It's an easy way to get the micro yes your employees need to score reviews.
· Can you help? It's okay if you can't. A low-risk, low-pressure call-to-action that decreases customer resistance and increases an employee's chances of getting that coveted yes.
These script details are simple, subtle and very sophisticated. But they're easy ways to increase your review request conversion rate.
Review request script #3: Authority
As people, we're concerned with and focused on status. The more noticeable status discrepancies are, the more focused on status we become.
The authority strategy depends on storytelling.
The more compelling your customer's story, the easier it is for you to increase their status. Here's a conversation script your employees can use.
Employee: So I heard this amazing story.
A restaurant got hit with a bunch of negative reviews. They were one month away from declaring bankruptcy. They worked hard, attracted a ton of positive reviews, and brought their company back from the brink.
Customer: I know right? It's been an amazing journey. I honestly didn't think we were going to be able to make it back. Thanks so much for everything you guys have done for us...
Employee: You guys are amazing! You guys came together and worked really, really hard. It's such an inspiring story. Would it be alright if we pitched your story to these [high profile sources]...?
Selfless and completely focused on your customer, that's why this works.
This story focuses on the customer's outcome. Their comeback, their opportunity, turn around or happy ending. What happens when customers express gratitude and say thank you? We put the focus back where it belongs, on them.
That's important because that's what high profile sources want.
They don't care about your company, they care about your customers. Use your customer's story to create value for a high profile source. Then, later on, ask customers if they'd be willing to share their story on the specific review sites you have in mind.
Review request script #4: Consistency
Reach out to your lifers, your loyal, long-term customers and request a review. Or reach out to customers who have been disappointed by failures on your part. Look for consistent experiences that are both positive and negative.
Here's an example:
So last week, during our [company meeting], we were talking about our some of our very first customers. The amazingly loyal ones who've been with us since the beginning.
Your name came up.
You're part of our top 1 percent. So I wanted to ask, how can we make things even better for you? Would you be willing to give us feedback on these six questions (takes 3 min. max)? Your opinion on this is kind of a big deal for us.
Reinforcing key metrics, that's why this works.
In this example, we were targeting our very first customers so the entire message reinforced that point. As we did before, this content focused on reducing as much friction as possible. This example keeps the request light, easy and engaging.
Again, specificity is key.
You'll want the details in your script to be sincere. Make any unethical or questionable moves and the goodwill you have with customers dries up.
Review request script #5: Admiration
This example is pretty straightforward. You reach out to customers who like your business. Their admiration makes the review request easy.
I wanted to thank you for all your generosity and support. Most people aren't as supportive and encouraging as you've been.
Would you be willing to share your feedback on your experience with us (only takes 3 minutes)
This example is simple and straightforward. It works because customers admire your organization. The more they like and trust you, the easier it is to attract the reviews you need, when you need them.
Review request script #6: Consensus
This script relies on credibility, using social proof to increase customer response.
I've got a weird request to make. [ABC corp.,] our biggest competitor, they have 75 reviews. They're making a push to bump us out of Google's local listings. Last week our five star reviews grew to 250 customers.
Would you be willing to help us extend our lead and win the race? All you'd have to do is answer six questions (only takes 3 min.).
No pressure if you can't help us out!
Social proof, that's why this works.
You can take these scripts in a positive or negative direction.
If customers are dog piling on your business and you can justify why that's unfair, you can rally customer support. If you have lots of reviews (50+) and you're looking to extend your lead on multiple platforms this works well too.
A consensus play can sway neutral customers but it won't change an unhappy customer's mind. it doesn't fix bad behavior and these scripts don't guarantee a yes.
Your employees don't know how to ask for reviews
Review request scripts give them the guidance they need.
They're helpful tools your employees can use to attract the reviews your business needs to grow. It is possible to acquire positive online reviews at scale - if you have the right scripts and systems in place.
Scripts shouldn't be followed word for word.
Mindlessly reading these scripts, it's an easy way to turn your would-be positive reviews, into scathing negative responses. Face-to-face requests require nuance, attentiveness and sincerity. The requirement is simple.
Be excellent to your customers at the right time and in the right way.
You've built a fantastic product or service.
Your customers are happy. Use review request scripts to spread the word. Give your employees the scripts they need to be excellent and you'll attract excellent reviews in return.