How To Ask For Customer Reviews – Nicely.

Customer ReviewsKelly Mooney from Resource Interactive recently shared an email her friend received from apparel retailer Boden.

Soliciting customer reviews is a challenge because you want to tread carefully in asking for them. Including an incentive with your request is a good strategy, but some experts advise against offering discounts on future purchases. Jay Shaffer from Power Reviews recommends offering a chance to win something, rather than a $ or % discount which may serve as paid user reviews.

Boden uses this strategy in follow-up emails after a customer has made a purchase.

Boden Email

(click to enlarge image)

Here’s what I believe Boden does well:

  • Good subject line. Review your Boden order and enter our prize draw. The subject line communicates exactly what is being asked for, with an incentive to encourage click through. Using the store name in the subject line indicates this is not a “thank-you-for-your-order-that-you-didn’t-make-please-enter-your-credit-card-information-again-to-avoid-deleting-your-account” spam scam.
  • Opening the email copy with a “A big hearty thank you” sets a warm tone, and the choice of font sizes add character to the message.
  • “Did you know that underneath my ginger head of hair lurks two unusually large ears, which are all the better for listening with?” This is a fantastic intro. The reader gets a humorous image of the writer of the email, while communicating that the sender of the email is personable and genuinely interested in customer feedback.
  • “…starting with a chance to win $200 to spend at Boden…” That ain’t a bad prize at all. The link to the terms and conditions is also a good idea.
  • “…it takes no time at all…” Reassuring the customer that this is not a labor-intensive task. We know that time is a huge deterrent for signing up for anything or contributing to anything.
  • The personal signature is a nice touch. It’s coming from a real person, Boden founder Johnnie Boden.
  • Images of purchased products and links to where to write a review is great usability and looks nice too.

Boden also solicits customer feedback from its website for a crack at a $500 spree.

Boden Feedback Survey

Do we give you satisfaction?

We know the Rolling Stones couldn’t get any – but that’s probably because they weren’t shopping at Boden.

We’d really love to know what you think of our website. Please help us improve our service by taking this quick 10-minute survey.

And as a thank you we’ll enter you into a free prize draw to win $500 of Boden clothes.

Thanks very much for your time.

The page links through to a survey customers can do right on the website, using a tool from eCustomerOpinions. Again, Boden injects personality into its web copy, and adds the personal touch from the head of the company. Including the average length of time to complete the survey is another best-practice.

In fact, there’s a lot of light-hearted information about Johnnie Boden on the site. It’s nice to see a family business branded in such a friendly way. There is consistency between web copy and email communication. This warm and fuzzy email might appear less authentic if the website wasn’t the same way.

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12 Responses to “How To Ask For Customer Reviews – Nicely.”

  1. Luke says:

    I think the personal approach used here, which I see as friendly and conversational is great. The light humor helps it slip by my natural skeptic filter.

  2. LA says:

    Thanks for the tips. I’m currently experimenting with what’s the best approach for this on my site. I agree humour and a sense of friendship and warmth are the way to go. I’ve had some amazing feedback for customers ranging from ideas for Gift Wrapping through to profuse thanks for making their shopping so fun and convenient.

    Also I agree a competition is a better idea than money off. I’ve found most people use the money off coupons I’ve given away but they are only spending a little more than the value of the coupon – making it a fairly expensive exercise. I’ll try a competition. Thanks again.

  3. Luke and LA, I think this approach would work especially well for your sites whereas it might not be as appropriate for others.

  4. Luke says:

    I think that even if the subject matter is dry, there is always going to be one pair of eyes processing the information and they belong to a person, so it should be personal.

  5. Beautiful beautiful beautiful.

  6. I am fixing to request product reviews…. here again, nothing wrong with looking at how Amazon does it.

  7. Customer reviews are such a pain. It’s like comments on a website – if there are none, it’s like you can hear the crickets chirping. SO bad, and yet so hard to overcome. This seems like a good approach – am eager to give it a try.

  8. Very timely. I just switched from an ‘in your face’ pop-up survey to an opt-in survey with incentive.

    The results were pretty surprising. I was getting lots of great info with the pop-up survey (with no incentive attached) – not so much with the opt-in survey.

    I have no way of knowing how many people were annoyed by the pop-up survey while it was in place (no change to the bounce rate or conversion rate) but I switched because of the thought I might be annoying my customers.

  9. I like the personal touch here, I just might use this myself.

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  11. [...] or bad) to tons and tons of review sites about your business.   What we recommend is that you find creative incentives to barter for reviews from your clients.  On almost all of our client’s regional sites, we trade discounts/coupons [...]

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