You may be asking for reviews, but are you doing it at the right time? Today we're going to discuss when to ask for customer reviews for optimum results, so you can make sure you're getting the best return on all that time you're putting in.

Did you know that the majority of customers who have had positive shopping experiences with a company don’t express their feedback publicly? They are so-called “silent advocates”, as they feel positively about a company and its products, but don't spread the word or write reviews about the company.

Unfortuntately for businesses, customers who have negative experience are much more likely to go out and leave a review publicly. This can be a big issue for businesses, but luckily it's an easy one to fix: start asking every single one of your customers for reviews to spur them on a bit. In fact, 77% of shoppers are willing to leave a review if asked.

Maximising Review Collection Conversion

The two most important factors to consider when approaching your customers with review invitations are timing and the review journey - both have a significant impact on the rate of conversion.

Take timing for example. Many companies make the mistake of inviting their customers to leave a review too early, when in fact, customers are much more likely to leave a review once they feel that they have an informed position from which they can publish their opinions about a product or service.

The right invitation method and timing varies from business to business. In some cases, it’s optimal to ask for a review immediately after the purchase via a form on order confirmation page, or using an in-store review collection terminal when a purchase is made in a physical store. Alternatively, review invitations can be delivered post purchase via SMS or most commonly via email after 7 days or 30 days depending on the type of the review  i.e. merchant vs product.

The best time to ask your customers to review you

As we've already mentioned, no two buisnesses are the same and the best time to ask for a customer review varies. Now we're going to have a look at some of the most popular industries to showcase best and worst practices when it comes to optimising your review collection.

Immediate review requests

In some cases, the transaction with your company can be reviewed immediately. Whilst we wouldn't advise this for eCommerce businesses, it's a good method for some companies.

When to ask for a review immediately

For companies that are the 'middle man', such as comparison sites or food delivery sites, immediate review requests are arguably the best option. If the customer is going from your site to another, or dealing with another business through your site - such as with SkySkanner or JUST EAT - it's easy for the focus to move away from your site. Requesting a review immediately helps prevent this.

If you are a physical store collecting reviews, then, again, reviews are best requested immediately after the goods have been handed over the checkout. Whilst the customer may want to sample their goods before reviewing, in most instances, such as with clothing stores, the customer will be ready to leave feedback based on the garments they've chosen, the selection available in store and customer service receieved.

How to ask for a review immediately

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  • Online: the best method is using a web form and dynamic link. Unlike with a review invitation email, this way, you can ensure the customer has seen your review request before moving onto another site. instore-stand
  • In store: review requests can be given out with the receipt on a piece of card. Companies often include entry into a competition upon completion to incentivise reviews. Another option is to use an In-Store Collection Terminal. This is a very engaging way to collect reviews and, similarly to the web forms, catches the customer whilst their experience with your business is still fresh in their mind.

Review requests sent 7 to 30 days post purchase

In some instances, asking for a review request immediately just doesn't make sense. Normally, we say the ideal time to ask for a review is when you can be sure the buyer journey is over. Ideally, the product will not only have arrived, but the customer will also have had a decent chance to use it.

This way, they can get as informed as possible and leave a review that's really insightful and of high quality, covering everything from the on-site experience to delivery speed and quality of the item received.

When to delay your review requests

We normally recommend all eCommerce businesses to delay their review requests. Additionally, those offering personal services, such as local tradesmen, solicitors or even businesses like gyms and leisure centres, shouldn't really be asking for feedback until customers have had a good chance to experience the service.

How to send a delayed review request

We recommend sending a review request when the entire buyer journey has been completed - this could be anywhere from 7 to 30 days.

With a Review Platform such as Reviews.io, this is easy to set up automatically with review email invitations or SMS requests. Using a review partner takes away the stress of sending review requests, which would otherwise be a process you have to do manually.

- SMS review requests: SMS review invitations are nice as they are arguably slightly more personal and modern than email requests. Messages usually arrive with a notification, making the customer more likely to see your requests, and as they are kept extremely short and friendly, also more likely to reply. These can be ideal for young audiences.

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- Review collection emails: Review collection emails can usually be customised and offer a more corporate look. Our in-email forms enable customers to leave reviews without having to click through to a landing page, making it easier than ever to increase conversions. These are ideal for personalisation.

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In Summary

When asking your customers for a review, it's always a good idea to put yourself in their shoes. Always try to ask for reviews at the right time - failing to do so could cause confusion and even irritation. Once you've decided when to ask for a review, it's important to match your collection method to this. Collection methods should make things as easy as possible for customers to increase your conversion rate further.

Want to know the best time to ask your customers for a review? Give one our friendly team a call, or head over to our website to jump on live chat with one of our advisors and we'll point you in the right direction.