7 Strategies for Getting Over the Fear of Asking for Customer Reviews
If you don’t have a lot (or any) reviews, it can be intimidating to get the process underway. You might not know the best way to ask for customer reviews, or you might be nervous about rejection.
The good news is that 71 percent of people will leave a review for a business if they’re asked. The bad news is that most happy don’t write a review without a compelling reason. This means that if you’re not being proactive about asking for reviews from your satisfied customers, then you leave yourself vulnerable to disgruntled customers who may talk about your business unfairly.
You know that you need to take control of your online reputation, but you might not feel ready to start asking for reviews yet.
7 Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Asking for Reviews:
- Identify the Source of Your Fear
Ask yourself what you’re afraid of. What’s the worst that could happen?
Some business owners are worried that their first review will be negative. A single negative review can seem impossible to overcome. But, if that’s what you’re most fearful of, think of it this way: you have a better chance of getting a positive review from someone you ask (make sure you ask someone who has had a good experience with you) than if you sit around and wait for a random person to write something.
Another worst-case scenario is the person says no. Or, they say they’re not happy enough with the service you’ve provided to write a glowing recommendation. While both of these responses are bound to be blows to the ego, now you get the opportunity to find out what bothered the customer and what you could do to improve their impression of your business.
If you’re shy or you don’t consider yourself a salesperson, then you might feel self-conscious or uncomfortable making this ask. If this is the case, you might want to start by including review requests in your email newsletter or a survey. However, we encourage you to expand your comfort zone and interact face-to-face with your customers when possible.
- Visualize Success
Top coaches and athletes recommend visualizing a positive outcome in order to achieve success. Imagine how the conversation would go and consider all the positive scenarios in your mind. In your visualizations, you are confident and enthusiastic. Your customer is honored that you thought of her to write about your business. She is excited to go and write a rave review.
As soon as she gets home, she writes a specific example of how you provided her with exemplary service. Immediately, the review goes viral, and the next day, your phone is ringing off the hook.
This visual might seem exaggerated, but creating this excitement internally will motivate you to act. After all, you’ve heard the saying, “Reach for the moon. Even if you fall short, you’ll land among the stars.”
- Role Play with Your Team
Meet with your team weekly and roleplay different scenarios. Practice different ways to request the reviews and interact in real-time with your team to address objections, answer technical questions about the review process, and discuss any questions your customers have about leaving reviews.
By rehearsing this conversation repeatedly, you’ll be more adept at thinking on your feet, and the request will be smooth and natural. No one will ever know that you had any fear at all.
- Ask Your Most Loyal Customers First
This is a no-brainer, but it’s helpful to mention. The first people you ask should be your most loyal and frequent customers. The most obvious reason for this is that you’re virtually guaranteed to get a positive review.
Another reason to ask these customers is that they’ll know your strengths the best and will be better able to comment specifically on what they like about you and your office.
Instead of a generic, “Dr. Adams is the best,” they’ll be likely to write something like, “I’ve been seeing Dr. Adams for five years. I was incredibly nervous during my first visit because I had a skin issue that was becoming increasingly worse over the years. I didn’t think anyone could help. Dr. Adams knew precisely what was causing my skin irritation and recommended a treatment plan that helped me immensely. My skin has completely cleared up, and I no longer worry about my sensitive skin and rashes. Now, my entire family sees Dr. Adams for dermatology exams, and they are as thrilled as I am.”
A review like this is bound to attract more new patients than a simple “Dr. Adams is the best.”
There’s nothing wrong with the occasional one-liner review, but when you have several thought-out reviews it shows that your customers care enough about you and your business to take time to share details about their experience. In turn, this makes potential customers excited to see you, especially because it hints that they’ll get a similar result or the same VIP service.
- Practice Makes Perfect
The first couple of times that you ask for a review might seem awkward. You might not know at what point during the appointment to ask or how to begin the conversation.
One helpful hint is to wait until the end of the appointment. An office manager or another team member can ask for the review when the customer is getting ready to leave or is scheduling their next appointment. If you’re the office manager who’s been delegated to this task, don’t stress about a choppy delivery during your first few (or several) asks.
As you practice, you’ll get better at this. You’ll be able to identify who is rushing out the door versus who has a couple of minutes to speak with you. You’ll perfect your delivery so that you sound confident. You’ll have updated cards that have links to the relevant review sites. And you’ll be a pro at identifying who your most satisfied and enthusiastic clients are first. Remember, begin by asking the ones that already love you, and your review program is more likely to start off on a positive note.
- Know Your “Why”
If you want someone to do something for you, the most persuasive word to use is “because.” In Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence, he discusses the importance of this word and how it can be used to get people to do things that they normally wouldn’t.
His most famous example has to do with people waiting to use a copy machine. If someone simply asked to cut in line, about 60% of the people granted permission. However, if the person gave a reason for wanting to move to the front, then more than 90% of the people said it was okay.
The first example goes something like this: “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?” Though 60% of the people said yes, that speaks more to their desire to avoid confrontation than being persuaded. However, when the statement shifted to, “I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I am in a rush?” 94% of the respondents let the person go first.
Cialdini did discover a surprising outcome, however. He found that the reason itself doesn’t even have to make sense to persuade people. For example, compliance dropped by only 1 percentage point when the request was, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make copies.” This reason makes zero logical sense. Everyone who is waiting has to make copies. But, by providing a reason, people were sufficiently persuaded to let the person move to the front of the line.
In your case, you probably have a compelling “why” that will inspire your customers to write a review. You might say something like, “I would really appreciate it if you would leave a review for our office because I am trying to help more families in our community understand how I can help them achieve their health goals in a natural and drug-free way.”
If your why is compelling, the vast majority of your clients should have no problem at all writing a review. And, even if you fumble on your delivery, as long as you use the word “because,” you should still get several reviews.
- Include Easy Instructions
When you ask your customers to leave a review, make sure you can give them clear and concise instructions about what to do and how to do it. If you’re not sure what link they’re supposed to go to, or you don’t have a card handy with the information they need, then you might face confusion or resistance from your client base.
Once you fumble through a few of those, you might end up dreading these requests, especially if you’re not familiar with the best way to answer any questions. Be able to walk your customers through the steps they need to take, especially if your client base belongs to an older demographic.
Once you get those first few reviews, remember to keep asking for them. The more positive reviews you can collect, the better. Just remember not to incentivize people for reviews and don’t exert any pressure on your clients to follow through. To preserve the integrity of these review platforms, it’s crucial that their content is objective, unbiased, and voluntary.