Reviews clearly add value to your business. Once you start seeing what value it brings, you will go far to get as much quality reviews as possible – and preferably with good ratings too, of course. But there is a fine line on how far you can go, when getting your customers for feedback. Buying, bribing or even threatening your customer backslaps on the quality of your reviews and your overall reputation. But what methods work when collecting reviews? And when do you know when you crossed the line?
If you are doing a good honest job by serving your customers well and asking them gently for reviews, you are among the majority of professional users on Trustpilot. So you may wonder: Why even considering things like bribing for reviews?
I’m not encouraging you to do so. By no means! But you would be surprised to learn about what creative methods we have seen companies apply in the hunt for more reviews. Paying for reviews – which we consider as bribe and don’t look easily upon – happens sometimes.
One of the more extreme cases was this small business owner: He delivered the products including a message to the customer that he would not send any written guarantee, unless they left a quality review with top ratings on Trustpilot. Some of his customers told us, and soon he was banned from using the review service.
But such episodes happen because reviews play a big role in the buying process. Recently, a study found that 52% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company if they have positive reviews. In fact, online reviews are now the second most important factor when making buying decisions – right after personal recommendations.
But just because online reviews can turn into a sale, it does not mean that they should have a price tag. And it definitely does not mean that buying reviews is acceptable. On the other hand, you may want to give your customers a stronger incentive to give you a review. Entering raffles or contests for writing a review is okay, and a method that some companies on Trustpilot are using to get the quantity of reviews up. But there is a fine line and the grey zone begins when there is a direct award offered for a review. Giving vouchers or gift cards away in exchange for a review is similar to buying reviews. There are a lot of reasons why you should stay away from that:
If you use contests as a part of collecting reviews, it has to be clear that all kinds of reviews can qualify – not just the good ones. Picking a winner that has left a negative review could actually end up boosting your credibility. But remember, just by asking all your customers to leave a review will give good results.
Aggressive methods are also bad for the quality of the reviews. If customers write reviews just to get a reward, they don’t put their hearts into it. Expect brief reviews that do not go into details about the actual buying experience and as a result as more useless for potential customers, who are checking up on your level of service.
Just like flowers in the spring and robins that sing, the best things in life are free. And I bet you increase the quality of reviews, by serving your customers well. Ask humbly what they think about doing business with you, and integrate that as a part of your after-sales and you will see the reviews coming in.
We rely on our active community who are writing and reporting lots of reviews on Trustpilot every day. They actively help us spot when unusual things happen – it gets reported and our team of supporters investigate what is going and take the necessary actions. So don’t try any of this at home. We will find out and in the long run the quality of your reviews is much better, if you simply ask your customers.
But please feel free to disagree or comment on, where you think the line goes between what is bribe and what is a good incentive for leaving a review.