Five Ways to Ask for Referrals and Reviews

By: Irangi Gamage
Reviews are important for your business because, quite often, potential customers rely on them when making a purchase or using a service. One less 'star' compared to your competitor on a review site, or one horrible review left by a customer, is sometimes enough for a potential customer to consider not using your service.

What about those companies without any reviews? Are they reliable? Many customers could be as suspect of businesses with no reviews as they are with all positive ones.
Similarly, referrals are as important to any business. When a customer refers to one of their friends, it adds to the credibility and trustworthiness of your business.

Having online reviews about your company or asking your customers for referrals are two of the important components of online marketing today. You should not be afraid to ask your customers for reviews and referrals for your business. After all, customers are the ones who know you the best. They will be able to provide honest reviews and refer your company to the best people.
If you don’t know where to get started with asking for reviews and referrals, here are 5 ways you can ask your customers.

  1. Be Direct
  2. The first step you can take is to be direct and ask your customers for a review/referral. This could either be done in person/in-office or by sending an e-mail, or even prompting from your website and social media. Either way you communicate, be specific about what you want and make sure your tone is polite and not demanding.

    An in-person example:  

    I’m really glad you are satisfied with our work. It would be great if you could refer us to one or two people that would need our services/if you could leave a review for us. Would you like some business cards?

    An e-mail example:

    Mr. John,

    Our business is always looking for referrals and this upcoming year, with our expansions, I wanted to ask if you knew anyone that would need our services, to please forward them this email or a link to our website.
    Thank you for your time.
    A similar template can be used for reviews. After this has been communicated to your client, make sure to follow up after you receive a response from them. It is important not to make the requests sound demanding, while keeping it short and precise.

  3. Make the Process Easy
  4. People are busy with their lives and are not be pleased if they have to do a long and complicated task for free. Since reviews or referrals are favors that you are asking of them, ensure to make this process is as easy as possible.
    It is better to ask the customers for a review when they are at the peak of their satisfaction with your business. This could be during the final stages of a project, once they have received their services, or after they have bought products. This will help not to frustrate your customers and encourages more positive reviews.

    Send customers the links to your review sites to make this process easier for them. If you are doing referrals, you can send them a prepared template that they can use to forward to their referrals. You can also simply ask them what you can do to help them and make this process easy and fast.

  5. Create Incentives
  6. Create incentives to encourage your customers to post reviews and send referrals but don’t pay them. Paying them may not look good for your business and your customers may not take to it well. However, you can set different smaller incentives. For example, a draw for movie tickets, or if you have a customer loyalty program, you can give extra points for referrals or reviews.

  7. Give Out Business Cards

  8. If you want reviews, your first step should be setting up accounts on relevant review websites, but most importantly ensure that your business is listed and verified on Google. These review sites can be advertised on your social media, so customers know where they can go to leave a review. It is also a good practice to give your business cards to customers after they are finished doing business with you. Your business cards can include your review sites as well, which can further encourage customers to write reviews for your business.

  9. Thank Your Customers
  10. After receiving referral contacts or reviews from your customers, you should always thank them immediately. The more personal your thank you is, the better it is. It should be something thoughtful and not expensive (as giving an expensive gift is equivalent to paying them) such as a thank you email, a call, or a handwritten thank you note.
Using these tips you can improve your business by getting more customers through referrals and good reviews. If you receive negative reviews, UpOnline’s 5 Ways to Publicly Respond to a Bad Review blog can help you respond to them in the best way possible.