The Do’s and Don’ts of Asking for Reviews: A Roadmap to Reputation Success

The Do's and Don'ts of Asking for Reviews: A Roadmap to Reputation Success
Casual business team working on a project

Getting customers to leave reviews is both an art and a science. Asking the right way can make a difference in the quantity and quality of reviews you receive. But if you make one mistake, you might annoy customers or even violate review platform rules.

This guide breaks down the essential best practices for review requests, common pitfalls to sidestep, and real-life examples to illustrate what works (and what doesn’t). We’ll also explore how Review Spike can streamline the process and safeguard your reputation.

DO: Ask at the Right Time

  • The ‘Peak Happiness’ Moment: This is the ideal time to ask for a review when the customer will most likely be satisfied with their experience. The timing of this moment varies by business type: Restaurant: Right after a fantastic meal, while the customer is still savoring the experience.
  • Online Store: A few days after the product arrives, giving them time to use it
  • Service Business: Once the project is completed successfully
  • Follow-Up Requests: An automated email/text a day or two later is fine for those who haven’t had a chance to review it at the moment.

Don’t: Be Pushy

  • One Ask Is Usually Enough: Repeatedly badgering customers for reviews can be counterproductive. It’s more likely to irritate them than to get you a review. Instead, focus on providing a positive experience and making it easy for them to leave a review when they’re ready. 
  • Avoid Guilt Trips: Phrases like, “Reviews are essential for small businesses like ours…” come across as manipulative. Focus on them sharing their experience.

DO: Make Reviewing Easy

  • Direct Links: These links take the customer directly to the review form on the platform of your choice. They can be embedded in emails, receipts, or your website. Using direct links can make it easier for customers to leave reviews, increasing their likelihood of doing so.
  • QR Codes: Perfect for brick-and-mortar businesses, letting customers scan with their phones to leave reviews.
  • Simplify Your Wording: Instead of a long-winded, “If you have a few minutes, we’d appreciate it if you could consider writing a review…” try a snappy “Loved our [product/service]? Share your feedback!”

Don’t: Offer Incentives (In Most Cases)

  • Platform Rules Matter: Major sites like Google and Yelp prohibit offering discounts, gifts, etc., in exchange for reviews.
  • Exceptions EXIST: Some industry-specific platforms may allow it, or contests where a reviewer is randomly selected. Always double-check guidelines.

‘Soft’ Incentives Can Work: These incentives are not directly tied to the review but can motivate customers to leave a review. For example, entering customers who leave reviews into a monthly drawing for something small and on-brand (related to your business) is often safe territory. These incentives can effectively encourage customers to share feedback without violating platform rules.

DO: Personalize Whenever Possible: Show your customers they’re more than just numbers. If you’ve had an in-person interaction, a simple “Hi Sarah, we’re so glad you enjoyed your appointment!” can make a difference.

  • Mention the Customer’s Name: If in-person interaction happened, “Hi Sarah, we’re so glad you enjoyed your appointment!” shows individual attention.
  • Reference Their Experience: “Loved helping you find the perfect outfit! Would you mind sharing your thoughts on [platform]?”
  • Automation with a Human Touch: Tools like Review Spike help personalize review requests at scale, saving you time.

Don’t: Use Generic Templates Exclusively

  • Balance is Key: Templates streamline the process, but a personal sentence or two goes a long way.
  • Overly Formal Can Be Off-Putting: Make your request sound like how you speak, matching your brand’s tone of voice.

Real-World Examples

  • Example 1: Restaurant (DO)
    • Server: “So happy you enjoyed the specials! Would you mind leaving us a quick review on Google? It helps others discover us.” [Hands card with QR code]
  • Example 2: E-commerce (DON’T)
    • Email Blast: “Leave us a 5-star review and get 10% off your next order!” (This likely violates platform rules)
  • Example 3: Local Contractor (DO)
    • Invoice: “Thank you for your business! If you were happy with our work, we’d love a review on [platform link].” Simple and unobtrusive.

The Role of Review Spike in Smarter Review Requests

Review Spike goes beyond simple request templates. Our platform helps you:

  • Target the Right Platforms: We guide you on where to focus efforts based on your industry and location.
  • Timing Optimization: Trigger requests after appointments, upon order delivery, etc., increasing the likelihood of positive reviews.

Stay Compliant: Rest easy knowing that our system is designed with platform guidelines in mind, ensuring your reputation is protected.

Ready to simplify and supercharge your review generation process? Review Spike makes it easy to get more positive reviews ethically and effectively. Sign up for a free trial and see how we can transform your online reputation.