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Why You Need Customer Reviews (and the Best Ways to Get Them)

Customer reviews give businesses the chance to see what’s working, get discovered by new customers, and sell more stuff. Here’s how to collect them.

In the world of digital marketing, human contact might feel like a thing of the past. But if someone is thinking about a purchase, they want advice from a real person. When word-of-mouth recommendations are passed along by a friend, family member, or neighbor, it’s invaluable for the business. In fact, a Nielsen study found that 83% of people believe this is the most credible kind of advertising. That’s where customer reviews come in—they’re like the digital version of advice from a friend.

Consumers don’t trust brands as much as they once did. Of course, they want to hear about how your products and services can benefit them, but they want to ensure they’re making the right purchasing decision by learning about other people’s experiences. Customer reviews can convince customers to take the plunge and purchase your products and services because they trust real people to give real opinions about businesses.

Why are customer reviews important?

Customer reviews increase consumer trust in your brand. When you’re willing to let customers state their opinions of your business or its products and services, you allow potential customers to see the proof for themselves instead of asking them to take a leap of faith and believe your product will do what the business says it will. There are many reasons why you need customer reviews, such as:

They help people find you online

Publishing customer reviews can improve your SEO rankings, which help online shoppers find you and then decide to buy your stuff.

Search engines reward content that is unique and regularly updated. Posting reviews is one of the easiest ways to meet those standards. And in many cases, people will specifically search the name of the product along with the word, “reviews.”

They let your customers know you care

Asking for reviews does more than help you get future shoppers, it solidifies your relationship with the customer who just bought something. By asking for their feedback, you’re showing them that you care what they think and that you want them to have the best experience possible.

When customers write a review, you want it to demonstrate that you care about their experience with your business. Customer relationships are important if you want to succeed in a competitive marketplace. Now more than ever, consumers are looking for brands that go the extra mile to provide them with a quality, personalized experience.

Reviews also allow you to improve upon issues that customers have experienced. If you respond to reviews from customers quickly and professionally, you can prove that you care about them as people, which can help you build customer relationships.

They can help you learn what’s working (and fix what’s not)

The co-founders of Everly, a natural, sugar-free drink flavor, conceived of their products while on a canoe trip. The idea was to hydrate active adventurers while camping, hiking, canoeing, or the like. But when customer reviews showed their product was mostly used as a day-to-day healthy alternative to soda, they changed their strategy drastically.

Now they create new products and marketing with their actual customers in mind, and they continue to check reviews for good ideas about their direction.

What does this example prove? If your customers have something to say that can improve your business, listen to them. Sometimes customers will have similar complaints, which means there’s something wrong with some aspect of your business, whether it’s the customer service they received or issues with the product. If your customers all say the same things, it’s time to listen and make improvements based on feedback from the end user.

They boost your credibility

Getting a review from a customer can help to increase trust with other customers. Positive reviews can help boost credibility and make potential customers trust you more. Since trust is an important factor when someone buys something, especially online, reviews can make you seem more trustworthy. Remember, people ask other people for recommendations, not businesses. Therefore, you can make your business and its products more trustworthy by allowing customers to leave reviews.

They can increase sales

Gathering customer reviews can help you market your business because it provides free word-of-mouth. Positive reviews can increase online sales because of many of the other benefits we’ve mentioned and how they impact your brand consistency when it comes to the customer experience.

For example, by making potential customers trust you more, reviews are able to help people finally make the decision to purchase your products or services. Additionally, because reviews can boost your SEO efforts, more customers can find you online, increasing the chances of conversions.

What you need in customer reviews

  1. Capture honest, authentic reviews. If reviews are presented in a way that reads as honest and authentic, shoppers will get on board. That’s why you should collect reviews from actual customers—it gives other people an idea of what your product is really like from a voice they’ll trust.
  2. Collect and share a variety of reviews. A study by BrightLocal found that people read an average of 7 reviews before deciding to trust a business. Having a variety of reviews makes people more inclined to believe you sell quality stuff. Plus, it makes it more clear that the reviews are real.
  3. Balance quantity with quality. It’s important to focus on both the quality and quantity of reviews. A study published by Northwestern University in 2015 found that the perfect number of reviews to compel shoppers to buy depends on what’s in them. When they go into greater depth and are longer, you don’t need as many. When they’re pretty short, you need more.
  4. Embrace negative reviews. Not all reviews have to be resoundingly positive to help your business. Northwestern’s study revealed that customers are most likely to buy something that has a 4.2-4.5 star rating than a 5-star rating, because perfect scores make customers suspicious. If someone has critical feedback, it helps shoppers trust what everyone has to say.

How to get customer reviews with Mailchimp

How do you get customers to give you the feedback you’re after? Northwestern’s study shows that up to 80% of reviews originate from post-purchase emails.

Mailchimp makes this kind of follow-up easy. With the any product follow-up or first purchase automations, you can send an email to the person who just bought your stuff and ask them to write back with a product review. These automations send at a default time, but you can make adjustments to the timing based on your own needs. You can also set the automation to send only to customers who bought a particular item, an item from a specific category, or anyone who makes a purchase.

Timing is everything

Decide when to follow up based on what you sell. For example, if you sell clothes, people typically try them on the day they arrive. They’ll be ready to share feedback the day after their package gets there.

But if you sell something like outdoor adventure gear for cats, you might want to give your customer a week or two to test it out before you ask for a review.

Track your reviews

The product follow-up and first purchase automations are totally free, and you can use them to direct customers to submit reviews on your website or via email. If you have a paid Mailchimp account, you can use conversations tracking to manage customer responses.

Integrations like SurveyMonkey also make it simple to collect and consolidate customer feedback.

In general, it’s important to make it easy for customers to leave reviews of your products. If you allow them to rate the product on a straightforward scale, like with 1 to 5 stars, a review can take just one click. You can even offer incentives like a discount on their next purchase to make it more appealing.

Make the most of your reviews

Once you’ve rounded up customer reviews, be sure to use them to their fullest potential.

Wrapping up— Customer reviews

Reviews from customers can improve all aspects of your business. Not only can they provide you with valuable feedback from the end user on how to improve your products, but they also help you earn new customers since people trust reviews more than they brands. Now that you understand the importance of reviews, it’s time to start gathering feedback from your customers.

The easiest way to gather reviews from your customers is to follow up with customers after they’ve made a purchase and have had time to use the products and services. You can use Mailchimp automation to set a timer for how long to wait to send a post-purchase follow-up email that asks customers to provide reviews on your products and services. With customer reviews in hand, you can begin posting them to your website, including product and service pages, to help potential customers commit to a purchase.

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