Around 75% of online shoppers read company reviews before making a decision to purchase or visit a location. This makes it critical to ask for reviews from your satisfied customers as their positive reviews might help sell your company to someone on the fence in making a decision. While you should encourage feedback, incentivizing reviews can lose the trust of potential customers.
Why to Not Incentivize Reviews
Most users believe they should ask clients or customers for a review. In return, they will offer a percentage off their next service or free items. This is strongly discouraged for numerous reasons:
- Yelp will publicly shame your business, ruining the authenticity of your customer data.
- It’s against Google’s guidelines and they will penalize your business listing.
Reviews are most valuable when they are honest and unbiased. If you own or work at a place, please don’t review your own business or employer. Don’t offer or accept money, products, or services to write reviews for a business or to write negative reviews about a competitor. If you’re a business owner, don’t set up review stations or kiosks at your place of business just to ask for reviews written at your place of business.
- It is unethical and against many review websites terms of service. The FTC wrote about this back in 2009, explaining that the reviewer must disclose any endorsement or kickback from the review. If you do it wrong, you could get fined.
It’s not worth it.
You should be requesting feedback from all of your customers, even the occasional negative feedback. It’s full of valuable data that can actually improve your business. If you don’t know something isn’t working write, how can you improve or fix it?
In theory, if the your customers love the experience, they’d be more than happy to leave you feedback, without the incentives. It’s important that you’ve got the process in place to ask for these reviews while it’s still fresh on their mind. Asking for feedback from those that are unhappy shows that you appreciated their business and may just be the sounding board they needed to clear up a misunderstanding.
There are a variety of ways to encourage customer feedback, without the incentives, and controlling the negative feedback before it hurts your reputation. Our Reputation Marketing services can help you start growing and improving your business.