So you’re about to see your sales go through the roof and are all primed to collect tons of reviews from your holiday season customers. It’s a smart move that can benefit your brand in the long run. But if there’s one piece of advice we want you to listen to it’s this - hold your horses and delay those review requests.
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Why are we telling you to wait? Logic says that you should jump on this opportunity to boost your trust score by collecting reviews at scale. Of course, we agree. But we also want you to see positive results. 

The problem is that events like BFCM come with a host of issues that can tarnish the customer experience, resulting in an influx of poor feedback. 

Now we’re not opposed to the odd 1* or 2* rating - in fact, when you handle them in the right way there are actually a number of benefits to negative reviews. But they’re not something you want to accumulate en masse. Because a sudden dip in star ratings can be difficult to come back from. 

With that in mind here’s a look at some of those key sales season pitfalls, and how pressing pause on your review requests can help you get around them.   

Shipping Delays

This is one of your biggest issues over any period of increased sales. Millions of eCommerce merchants are attempting to deliver on millions of orders, which inevitably leads to delays. And if your review requests land before your products do, you’re going to have a lot of unhappy customers on your hands. 

Whilst you might be unable to speed up delivery, you can choose when to ask for a review - so leave a longer gap than you usually would. This helps mitigate the risk of negative reviews based on things outside of your control. 

In the meantime, clearly communicate estimated delivery times and provide customers with tracking options. The more you manage expectations the more likely you are to receive positive reviews when your requests do go out.

Customer Service Issues

Stats from the helpdesk platform Gorgias show eCommerce merchants see an average 20% spike in customer support tickets over BFCM. Product availability, pricing discrepancies, damaged goods, returns and exchanges, technical issues with your site - the sheer volume of inquiries can overwhelm your support team and cause a backlog of unresolved issues. 

Negative reviews here can come from customers feeling neglected or dissatisfied with the support they’ve been offered. 

When you delay your review requests you give yourself breathing room to sort these problems out, and in the process change a customer’s perception of your brand - particularly if you tailor your support to their individual needs. 

Try using our Gorgias integration to assign customer review data to support tickets. That way you’ll have more of the information you need to personalize your response.

Competitive Pricing

Imagine this - you’ve sold a customer a quality product and delivered on time, but they’ve since found it much cheaper elsewhere. Because let’s face it, the holiday season is competitive and there are merchants out there willing to massively undercut you.

Now, we know these merchants are likely to offer little by way of added value. But at this point in time all the customer sees is the price difference, and that leaves a bitter taste that might result in negative feedback. 

Your tactic here should be to show them added value before you ask for a review. Try using zero-party data to create a customer experience that exceeds expectations. By doing so, you can eliminate their price sensitivity and replace it with brand loyalty.

Customer Fatigue

Shoppers get sent a barrage of emails over BFCM - some promotional, some transactional, some just plain annoying - and they can all contribute to communication fatigue. If your review request lands in the middle of that bombardment it might not get the best response.

In delaying your requests you make your post purchase communication more customer friendly by showing their inbox some respect. 

If a customer has opted in for text messages, try asking for a review via SMS. These direct invites are a great way to cut through all the noise and have a 3x higher conversion rate than email requests.

Perfect Your Timing (and See More Positive Reviews) with Flow

Now we’ve established it’s a good idea to delay your review requests here’s a quick rundown on the logistics. 

First up - check the trigger you already have set up. Depending on the eCommerce platform you use, review requests will automatically be sent 7 days after order fulfillment, shipment or completion (assuming you haven’t already changed this).

Set this to completion and consider a 14-day window. That way you give yourself breathing room and the customer time to form an opinion on the product. It’s also not so much of a gap that it feels disconnected from the buying experience. 

Next, create an engaging email sequence with our Flow tool. This allows you to set conditional sending triggers and time delays, so each review request will feel personal to the recipient. 

For example, if a customer doesn’t respond to your initial request, you can send an automatic follow-up after a certain number of days. If they respond immediately with a 5* review, you can trigger a request for photo or video content. 

And if they do leave a negative review (because no merchant is perfect), you can send an acknowledgment and apology for the issue whilst your support team jumps on a resolution. 

While we’re on the subject, check out our advice on how to handle any negative reviews that do come in, and how to prevent them in the first place. It’ll all help you build a better review strategy so you can come out of this holiday season with a stellar reputation.

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