The vast majority of customers don’t leave reviews. They don’t offer feedback. There’s a wide variety of reasons but it really comes down to a few common barriers.

So, how do you get more customers to write reviews?

It’s simple.

You eliminate the barriers.

But first, you have to identify them.

Barrier #4: Happy customers are secretly unhappy

Most customers aren’t open with the companies they do business with. The sad part? Many happy customers are secretly unhappy. Most customers won’t tell you they’re unhappy.

Here’s the real reason customers won’t tell us the truth. We’re socialized to be “nice”. Telling the truth often comes with unpleasant consequences.

For some customers it’s just not worth it.

These customers feel it’s better to simply keep their thoughts, feedback and opinions to themselves.

So, how do you fix this?

Create an environment of safety. On the surface that sounds easy but it can be difficult to apply. Here are a few strategies you can test in your business.

  1. Welcome horrible reviews. A negative review is a wonderful opportunity. It’s a chance for you to show prospective customers you’re a safe company to do business with. When something goes wrong customers know you’ll take good care of them. Thank customers for their unpleasant review, act on their feedback, then show what you’ve done.
  2. Ask customers for good, bad and ugly feedback. Reassure customers, letting them know it’s safe for them to hold you and your staff accountable. Then, keep your word. New customers will test you; they’ll attempt to verify your words. Handle it well and you’ve earned their trust (and a review). Mess things up and they’ll quietly slip away.
  3. Improve staff EQ. Give staff the incentives they need to eliminate dysfunctional behavior. Use training, resources and tools to eliminate the big four relationship killers – condescension, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. Be kind, be helpful or your chance at a review will be gone.
  4. Promote clarity over persuasion. Anticipate and defuse concerns, objections, risks and fears ahead of time. Create policies that ensure customers feel safe and treated well.

Barrier #3: Customers don’t remember what you did

When you’ve done a great job, customers tend to forget. Do a bad job and customers never forget.

The longer you wait to ask customers for their feedback (or a review) the less likely they are to remember what you actually did for them.

So, how do you fix this?

You ask customers for their feedback or a review, immediately or shortly after they’ve purchased and used your product.

Kind of obvious, right?

There’s actually a better way. You prime the pump. When you sign customers up, you tell them you’re going to do a regular check-in to make sure they’re taken care of. You dramatically reduce churn and you gain valuable insights to make them happy.

Barrier #2: It’s too hard to write or share a review

Great success! You have a customer who’s able and willing to share a positive review. They decide to search for your business online and they can’t seem to find the right account or profile…

They spent 15 min writing a review only to lose it…

It’s too time consuming…

Customers stop caring when it becomes tough to actually write a review.

They lose interest and they abandon their review. And just like that the opportunity is gone.

Here’s the thing.

It’s not just about technical difficulties. It’s also about direction. Customers don’t always know where to write or share their review.

They need direction from you.

So, how do you fix this?

You make things ridiculously simple. You make it incredibly easy for them to write a review. Then you show them where you’d like their reviews to go and you show them how to do it.

You’ll have some customers who ignore you anyway. That’s fine. Focus on the customers who answer. Thank them for their feedback, act on it (if possible), then show them that you’ve taken their advice.

Barrier #1: Customers don’t know what to say

The biggest hidden barrier by far is awareness. Many customers simply don’t know what to say. So, rather than struggling with it they simply do nothing.

You can change that.

You can guide customers. Does this mean you’re telling customers what to say and when to say it?

Absolutely not.

It means you’re focused on asking the right questions. Why do questions matter? And, how on earth will questions get you the amazing reviews you’re looking for?

Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School, shared the answer:

“Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question – you have to want to know – in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.”

So, how do you fix this?

Ask the right questions and you give customers the fuel they need to create amazing reviews.

Which questions do you ask and when?

First, start with the basics.

  1.     What would have prevented you from buying?
  2.     What did you find as a result of buying this?
  3.     What did you like most about our product (or service)?
  4.     What would be three other benefits to this product (or service)?
  5.     Would you recommend this to someone else? Why?

You can add in additional questions as needed provided that you make it easy for your customers.

Make it easy, and barriers come tumbling down.

Happy customers want to write a positive review. Remove their barriers. Make it easy for the right customers and you’ll find their reviews exceed your expectations.