Getting a 5 star review is your obvious target when requesting reviews – but what is the minimum number of stars required to gain trust from prospective customers?
We asked over 1,000 people their opinion about reviews. We then broke down the information by age and gender and crunched the numbers. The Leave.Review 2021 review survey will help your understanding of what builds customer trust, how reviews impact your online reputation and also gives you faith that online reviews will work for your business.
OK, so that’s interesting – so it looks like 4 stars is the sweet spot, with fewer consumers demanding 5 star reviews. In other words, 56% of new customers expect to see a minimum of 4 stars before they’d consider using a business
This means when receiving a 4 star review, you should celebrate as you’re in the “hot-zone” of customer reviews.
Diving down in to the detail a bit more, we learn that there is very little difference in the response to this question by gender:
When reading online reviews, what’s the minimum number of stars a business must have for you to be interested in using them (by gender)?
Breaking down the data of minimum stars required to use a business illustrates that there is an increase in demand for the 35-44 age group for 5 stars. This group accounts for 22.73% of the 6 age bands. The smallest volume was 5.68% for the 18-24 year olds demanding 5 star reviews.
Key statistics – Minimum review count
56% of new customers expect to see a minimum of 4 stars before they’d consider using a business Tweet this
Only 9% of consumers require a business to have 5 stars before they will consider using them. Tweet this
Just 6.76% of consumers would consider using a business with a 1 star, and only 7.85% would customer using a business with 2 stars Tweet this
Do people read online reviews?
Ok – it’s great to know that the specific star rating is important for people reading reviews, but how many people actually read reviews?
How frequently did you use the internet to find a local business in the 12 months?
What’s reassuring about this is that it’s clear that a lot of people are using online reviews before choosing a business. Over half (53.98%) of those surveyed use online reviews at least once a week. Only 9.64% have not used online reviews in the last 12 months.
The shockers? 18.09% only use the internet once a monthly basis to read reviews. My assumption before analysing the data would be that people are as dedicated to reviews as I am. I was expecting the “Few times per week” statistics to be a the leader with a much bigger lead.
Let’s see how these stats look when split down by gender:
How frequently did you use the internet to find a local business in the 12 months? (by gender)?
Ok – where’s the notable stats? The graph shows us that men are 30% more likely to read reviews a few times a week compare to females. They’re also 38% more likely to read reviews daily compared to females.
All other gender comparisons have too little in difference to be remarked upon.
Let’s break down the data by age group to see if that creates an interesting angle.
How frequently did you use the internet to find a local business in the 12 months? (by age)?
How likely are people to write a review (in the last 12 months)?
It is quite interesting to know how many of those surveyed have actually left a review in the last 12 months.
This gives us an idea of the size of the review writing market out there – which may have an influence on your review outreach strategy.
Have you written an online review for a business in the last 12 months?
That’s another interesting statistic. My assumption would be that most people would have written at least 1 review, but it appears that just 34.19% of those surveyed had left a review in the past 12 months.
The internet has created a superpower called reviews. Reviews can be a force of good and evil for consumers and businesses alike. They’re the perfect double-edged sword.
This article gives you the tools to defuse review grenades and maybe converting shrapnel into medals of achievement for your company service.
Back in the olden days (pre-internet), the only way consumers had to determine if a business is a right fit was to read publications or by asking a friend. Today you can read a review of most products or services within seconds, filter by the number of stars, sort by recency and get immersed in tales of misfortune, joy and the occasional rant.
What’s interesting is how the business owners respond to a negative review. I’m quick to read how the owner addresses a public complaint. Their response can be one of the most telling signs of their approach to customer service.
If you take reputational management seriously, you’re actively encouraging your customers to leave reviews on sites such as Google, Tripadvisor, etc.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m choosing between 2 places to eat, if they both have 5-star reviews, I’m likely to select the one with the most reviews.
Reviews are an excellent opportunity to confirm what works (or doesn’t work) in your business. When I receive a 5-star review – where the customer is waxing lyrically about how absolutely awesome we are, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that my ego gets a power-up.
On the flip side, your customers have a free reign on the internet. At any day and any time they can open their phone and vent their fury. For business owners, their terrible experience can trigger a reputational crisis for you.
Negative feedback can come in from a complaint, personal attacks and even exposure to a particular product’s dangers. If you represent a larger organization, then there is a risk of a mob mentality – a viral effect causing others to ride the wave of momentum by piling on their views. If the speed of reviews increases rapidly, then there is a risk of catching the attention of a local or national news organization.
Customers are not alone in writing negative reviews. You may also see reviews written by:
Competitors running a digital smear campaign
Disgruntled employees and their friends
People are accidentally reviewing the wrong company.
It’s for these reasons that it’s good to be prepared. Welcome to your ultimate negative review response guide:
Check the facts
Your business is your baby, but don’t let that maternal instinct kick in like a mother protecting it’s young from a predator. Just like socks with sandals (sorry Uncle Bob), this is not going to be good for your image and is the first step towards failure in damage limitation.
We recommend the first thing that you should do is investigate the validity of their claim. It’s vital to recognize that the reviewer also may not be alone – one person may voice their views, but it can actually represent the same opinion of many others. Some people are either reluctant or too afraid to express. Therefore, dismissing a single reviewer can amount to being rude or uncaring.
If you need more time to investigate, then do this – Thank the reviewer for their feedback and promise to look into the issue before getting back to them with a detailed response
Respond to reviewers. Immediately.
ine wines, smelly cheese and George Clooney are examples of things that improve with age. My waistline and on online reviews definitely do not.
Most review sites have timestamps against each post that effectively starts the clock in evaluating your vigilance and to a surprising degree how much you care about your customers. Leaving it too long and the details of the occasion will have faded, momentum is lost and if anything you’ve actually made the issue worse.
Pro tip: Even if there is no answer to a question raised or concern posted, it is useful to acknowledge their problems and give a specific time to look into the issue and solution.
If you fail to respond to a negative review, you will by omission add enormous credibility to the critic – always, always, always respond. A comprehensive explanation can reaffirm their trust in your business and demonstrate to future customers that you care. You could even reclaim a lost customer.
What about happy customers? Engaged customers can be your best marketing team. Reviewers love it when they receive a response to their review. They’ll get an email from the reviewing platform and a simple “Thank you” can trigger a happy endorphin response. Good reviews have to be recognized. People are short of time. So when a client takes the time to leave a glowing 5-Star review please, please thank them!
Irrespective of how great you believe your services and products are – at some point will be someone who will still be dissatisfied. As soon as you come to terms with this, the easier it will be to deal with the general public!
A business owner can become emotionally overwhelmed and engage in a fierce PUBLIC exchange. Although tempting, you’re likely to kick off a knee jerk response which will backfire like your first cars motor. It’s absolutely the worst thing you can do.
I know I said in the previous section to respond immediately, but being rational takes priority. It’s way better to respond 1 day late than to react aggressively.
Storytime: A few years ago, my team pushed a significant software feature live. The upgrade resulted in some users receiving the annoying Google Captcha code too frequently. Within minutes one of our customers left an aggressive all caps post on our preferred review platform.
If you’re ever worked in software, you’ll know that releasing software is a stressful time and I was tired. To be honest, I was expecting the responses from our customers to be full of virtual high fives, glowing feedback and appreciation of our hard work and dedication to helping their business grow.
To say I was disappointed when I got the 1-star review (on 2 different review platforms) is an understatement. First thing I did was (curse under my breath) verify the issue.
Equipped with knowledge (and a tech guy on standby) I called him and immediately apologized for the inconvenience. While talking through the details of the issue, he started to explain how his business has had a tough time recently. Apart from the irritation of the google captcha code, he was dealing with two major customer issues of his own. In reflection, the software bug was an irritation, but it was the tipping point of his stress levels. Writing a negative review was an easy way to vent his frustration.
Fortunately, we were able to resolve the issue while I was on the call. Within 10 minutes of the call ending the negative reviews had been deleted and replaced with super positive 5-star ones, highlighting our excellent customer service.
Personalize Your Response
Advertising companies have been hyper personalizing adverts for years. When a message is 100% directed to you, including exact details of your experience, it has far greater traction than a generic response.
Start with the customer’s name and introduce yourself with your organizational title and name.
“Hello Sam, I am Stan Smith, PR Manager at Acme Corporation…”
If you can identify the customer – who they were served by, what they bought, when they received the product or service, etc. All of these details within your response demonstrate your attention to detail and how seriously you take their complaint.
It’s a Marketing Opportunity!
A response to a client’s negative feedback should offer an opportunity to market an organization and reinforce its core values.
Companies mission statement / pledge
There is a company in the UK called John Lewis who claim that they are “Never Knowingly Undersold” – this means if you can find the same product for less money, they will reimburse you the difference. They actively monitor their competition to ensure that you’re getting the best value. John Lewis’ price matching and their excellent customer service are core to their success.
Having a dependable guarantee to their customers allows John Lewis’ customer service team to promote this message in their review responses as well as provide refunds (if the occasion occurs).
It is also helpful to mention customer service procedures or standards.
These standards should explain that the organization takes customer complaints seriously and that every complaint will be thoroughly investigated and addressed.
Finally – I’ve seen this done well – A business owner can respond to a customer about their complaint informing that they can have a full refund as well as full payment for them to receive the same service at one of their competitors. This response is mind-blowing. This company seriously believes that their business is so good that they’re happy to pay for you to go somewhere else if you’re not 100% satisfied. A potential customer reading will feel their trust growing with this company – especially as it out there for the world to see!
Example negative review response templates
Hi Jane, I’m Bob from Acme Inc – I’m sorry to hear about your issue with us, and I’m personally responsible for helping resolve this.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a phone number or contact email for you, so please contact us at XXXX when convenient.
Hi Jane, I’m Bob from Acme Inc – I’m the manager/owner at here. We try to maintain the highest standards of service, but clearly, that’s not what happened here. I am sorry to hear about your bad experience yesterday.
Unfortunately, I was not in at the time. Please give me a call at XXX at your convenience. I want to find out what I can do to help.
Example negative review response template with detail
We want to sincerely apologize for your negative experience on at . However, we’d like to learn more about your situation and what exactly happened with .
We want to make things right. So, please give us a call on [phone number]. You can also email us at [email id], and we will get back to you promptly.
We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
Yours sincerely, Bob – Customer Sevices Manager Acme Inc
Example positive review response templates
I’m Bob from Acme Inc – Thank you for the 5-stars! We appreciate you taking the time to leave feedback. Hopefully, see you again soon.
I’m Bob from Acme Inc – We are incredibly grateful that you took the time out to leave us this review. Our company values put customer satisfaction as the top priority, and we are committed to our customers. Its customers like you that make our job fulfilling.
We look forward to serving you again.
How do I handle a complaint that is creating damaging online engagement?
The organization should aim to move the conversation offline and engage the complainant on a private platform.
It helps minimize online engagement on a complaint by moving the conversation to a video chat, a phone call, direct message on the phone or social media platforms.
If multiple people are experiencing the same issue, create a formal channel for their problem to raised, log and dealt with in o a structured way.
How do I respond when the customer is right about the problem?
If the organization is responsible for the action that caused the negative review, it should offer a discount or any other compensatory measure.
How do I respond when the customer is wrong about the problem?
The organization should explain itself using facts and offer to help the client understand the situation entirely.
How can I find negative reviews about my company?
It’s excellent idea to get your whole team involved.
All employees should be encouraged to report instances of bad reviews on any platform. Younger employees may be more on the pulse with emerging social networks than you are. My kids think that Facebook is for oldies.
Try and work as a team in spotting bad publicity in any form.
Getting a 1-star review is bad enough, but what do you do if you have no detail in the review? From a positive viewpoint, people reading your company reviews won’t attach much value to an empty 1-star review.
Knowing this does not help your response approach – you’ve got very little to work with.
In the past we have dealt with this by getting our detective hats on.
Let’s start with the information we have: The reviewer’s name and the review date.
Look up the reviewer in your database.
In our case, we have a log of all customer support enquiries and users within our database. Our first point of call is to check the customer support enquiries for the reviewer. If we can find more information about what their issue is, we may be able to start building our response.
I’ve had occasions where we not only found the reviewer in our database but also found their phone number. We take negative feedback very seriously, so our senior customer support, even our director, on some occasions, has called the reviewer. We found this an incredibly effective way to understand the reviewer’s frustration. This approach is so effective that everyone we have phoned has deleted their negative review.
No customer database? Some options how on how to respond to the 1st reviewer with no information
Ask your staff
There may have been a situation at your business.
Every day may be a typical business day, but very recently, the customer from hell arrived and complained about everything. Although you can not confirm that this was the reviewer, it may steer the way you formulate the response.
General points on how to respond to the 1st reviewer with no comment
Thank the reviewer: Start by thanking the reviewer for taking the time to leave a review. This shows you appreciate all feedback, even if in this case they didn’t provide specific comments.
Apologize for their negative experience: Even though the reviewer didn’t provide any specific feedback, it’s safe to assume they had a negative experience with your product or service. Apologize for this experience and acknowledge that you understand they were not satisfied.
Offer assistance: Since you don’t have any specific feedback to address, offer the reviewer your assistance in resolving any issues they may have had. Let them know you’re available to help in any way possible and provide them with a contact email or phone number.
Highlight your commitment to customer satisfaction: Assure the reviewer that their negative experience doesn’t reflect your overall commitment. Emphasize that you strive to provide the best possible customer experience and constantly work to improve.
Please encourage them to provide more feedback: Encourage the reviewer to provide more feedback. Tell them you value their opinion and that their feedback can help you improve your products and services.
Are they reviewing the right company?
I’ve seen some occasions where a company has been closed for some time – e.g. for refurbishment or as a season-specific business. If a review is left when the company is closed, then it’s fair to respond with this fact. This makes it evident that the review is either for the wrong company / untrue.
Example responses for negative reviews with no comments
Dear [Reviewer Name],
Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We’re sorry that you have had a negative experience with our product/service. We take all feedback seriously and would like to assist you in resolving any issues you may have had. Please get in touch with us at [contact email/phone number] if you require further assistance.
At [company name], we’re committed to providing the best possible experience for all our customers. We’re constantly working to improve our products and services, and we appreciate your feedback.
We encourage you to let us know if you have any specific feedback or suggestions. Your opinion is valuable to us and can help us improve our offerings.
Thank you again for your time, and we hope to hear from you soon.
Best regards, [Your Name]
Dear [Reviewer Name],
Thank you for taking the time to review our product/service. We appreciate your feedback and are committed to providing our customers the best possible experience.
However, your review did not contain any comments or feedback. We would greatly appreciate it if you could provide us with more information about your experience, so we can address any issues and continue to improve our products/services.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
How to find your Google Business review link via your mobile/cell phone – video
We have created this VERY short video demonstrating how to get your Google Review Business link on your phone. You will need the Google Maps app and be logged in to the business owner’s google account.
How to find your Google business review link on your laptop/desktop
Some of the dedicated software providers will find your Google review link for you. Others don’t. If you need to find your link, then follow these simple instructions:
1. Go to Google Maps (maps.google.com) and search for your business. When you find your business, you should see an option to “Manage your business profile”
This should open the google search results page; hopefully, you’ll see something like the menu below. If you don’t have the option to manage your business, you’re probably not logged in with the business owner’s Google Account. Log in to the owner’s account and try again.
Find and click on the “Read reviews” button.
A new window will open where you can read all the reviews submitted for your business. In the top right corner, you will see a button labelled “Get more reviews.”
Another pop-up window will appear with your unique review link
Google makes it easy to share your link. If you click the email button, your default email client will open. Google places suggested text for you to send to your customers:
Clicking “WhatsApp” will open your Whatsapp application and ask you to select who will receive the message request:
The Facebook option opens the rather basic version of the Facebook post page. This approach is more of a generic Facebook update rather than direct review request:
The aim on this set of steps is to get your Google Review link – which is easy to get from the centre of the window:
We don’t like this link because it’s not memorable. You can’t just verbally give this link URL to someone – it’s complicated to remember. Leave.Review has a system to provide a free unique URL for your Google Reviews. It takes the format of leave.review/yourbusiness name. eg if your business name is Kate Makes Cakes, then your leave.review review page could look like leave.review/KateMakesCakes
How do I Identify the review websites for my business?
Here are several ways to identify review websites for your business. Here are some steps you can take:
Search for your business name on Google: Start by searching for your business name on Google. Our experience tells us that you will get more accurate responses by including the postcode/zip and the town/city your business is in. For example, “Your business zip town”. Look for websites on the first page of the search results that allow customers to leave reviews. Examples of review websites that might appear include Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google My Business, and Facebook.
Ask your customers: Ask your customers where they typically leave reviews for businesses like yours. They may mention specific websites that you weren’t aware of.
Check your industry associations: Check to see if any industry associations or organizations maintain lists of review websites for your industry. They may have recommendations for the best review websites to use.
Once you have identified the relevant review websites for your business, claim your business listing. By claiming the business listing, you can actively monitor and respond to customer reviews.
How to create a review collection landing page
Creating a review collection landing page can be a great way to encourage customers to leave reviews for your business. Here are some steps you can take to create a review collection landing page:
Choose a platform: Choose a platform to host your landing page. You can use a website builder like Wix or Squarespace or a landing pages builder like Leadpages or Unbounce.
Write compelling copy: Write clear copy that explains why leaving a review is essential for your business and how it can help other customers make informed decisions. Highlight any incentives or rewards you may offer for leaving a review.
Include a call-to-action: Include a clear call-to-action on your landing page that encourages customers to leave a review. This can be a button that links to your business’s profile on a review site or a form that customers can fill out to leave a review directly on your landing page.
Use social proof: Use social proof on your landing page, such as customer testimonials or reviews you have already received. This can help convince potential customers to leave a review as well.
Make it easy to leave a review: Make it easy for customers to leave a review by providing clear instructions and links to the relevant review sites. You can also consider using a review management tool, like Podium or BirdEye, that makes it easy for customers to leave a review and allows you to manage and respond to reviews from one platform.
Test and optimize: Test your landing page and make adjustments based on the results. Monitor your analytics to see how many people are visiting your landing page and leaving reviews, and make changes as needed to improve the conversion rate.
By following these steps, you can create a review collection landing page that encourages customers to leave reviews for your business and helps you build your online reputation.
How to generate a QR image for online reviews
Generating a QR code for online reviews is a simple process. Here are the steps you can follow:
Choose a QR code generator: There are many online tools that you can use to generate a QR code for your business’s online reviews. Some popular options include QR Code Generator, QR Stuff, and Kaywa.
Choose the type of QR code: Select the type of QR code you want to generate. You’ll likely want to choose a website URL or a text QR code for online reviews.
Enter the review website URL or text: Enter the URL or text to which you want the QR code to link. This could be your business’s profile URL on a review site like Yelp or Google My Business or a text message asking customers to leave a review.
Customize the QR code: Customize the QR code by choosing the colour, size, and design you prefer.
Download and test the QR code: Download the QR code image and test it to make sure that it links to the correct URL or text message. You can test the QR code using a smartphone or a QR code scanner app.
Use the QR code: Use the QR code in your marketing materials, such as on flyers, business cards, or receipts. Encourage customers to scan the QR code to leave a review for your business.
Following these steps, you can quickly generate a QR code for your business’s online reviews to encourage customers to leave feedback.
How to design a review request flyer
Designing a review request flyer can encourage customers to leave reviews for your business. Here are some steps you can follow to design a review request flyer:
Choose a design tool: Choose a tool you’re comfortable with, such as Canva or Adobe Photoshop.
Choose a template: Choose a flyer that fits your business’s brand and style. You can find templates for review request flyers on Canva or other design tool websites.
Choose your colours and fonts: Choose colours and fonts that match your business’s brand and style. Ensure the text is easy to read and the colours are visually appealing.
Write a compelling headline: Make sure it grabs the reader’s attention and encourages them to read the rest of the flyer. For example, “Love our service? Let us know!” or “Help us improve by leaving a review!”
Include a call-to-action: Include a clear call-to-action that encourages customers to leave a review. This could be a statement like “Leave a review and receive 10% off your next visit!” or “Tell us what you think and help us improve!”. It’s important to note that Googles review policy clearly states that you must not solicit reviews. ie do not offer anything in reward for leaving a review. Other review sites dont have this policy – just make sure you do your home work!
Provide clear instructions: Provide clear instructions for how to leave a review, including the review site URLs, social media links, or QR codes.
Add visual elements: Add visual elements to the flyer, such as images of your products or services or customer testimonials. This can help to make the flyer more engaging and convincing.
Test and optimize your flyer by printing it and seeing how it looks. Make adjustments as needed to improve the design and messaging.
Following these steps, you can design a review request flyer that encourages customers to leave reviews for your business and helps you build your online reputation.
Leave.Review has its own system to create a leave a review flyer, which is completely free.
The design is simple but may suit your needs. The websites such as Canva have much more elaborate designs. If you have your own designer, then just grab the review QR code from Leave.Review and ask them to add it to the design. Otherwise, claim your free leave.review your account and create your leave a review flyer today
If you’re here, you know that Google Reviews are essential for growing your business. This is often called “improving your online reputation / social proofing”. You will also know that asking for reviews is time-consuming and can detract from running your business. So instead of chasing reviews, what can you do? The answer is automation – let’s get started.
Before we jump into “how”, I’m going to walk you through some of the “why” of Google review automation
What is an automated google review request system?
An automated Google review request system is typically online software.
The system requests customers to leave a review on your Google Business listing. The software sends the requests by email or text and includes a direct link to the business’s Google review page. The goal is to improve your online reputation, search ranking, and sales!
Most systems can also “chase” your customers if they miss the first request.
Why do you need to automate your Google review collection?
In short – it’s about saving time and simplifying business processes.
When running a business, the list of jobs to do is never-ending. So sending out customer review requests can fall into the “yeah, I should be doing that” category. If you could automate the process of asking for reviews, it would save you time. We all know that good reviews boost your online reputation and social proofing.
Automated review collection allows business owners to analyze customer feedback over time. Improving your business by reviewing historical feedback allows you to make informed decisions. E.g. If you run a promotion, you can see how that affects your customer’s perception of your business.
What are the negatives of automating your Google review collection?
There are several potential negatives to automating the collection of Google reviews:
An increase in reviews may result in more work. Suppose a customer vents online and gives you a bad review. In that case, you will need to plan a response – which I assure you will take time to ensure your answer is not emotional. We have a great article on responding to negative reviews to get a positive outcome.
Following Google’s policies is a must. Failure to follow the guidelines can result in removing some or all reviews. In severe cases, they can suspend your business listing.
Dependence on technology. Review automation is excellent until it stops working. You’ll stop getting reviews if something breaks and you don’t notice. You will see that you are receiving fewer Google alerts about new reviews.
Decreased customer engagement. Customers like to feel valued. You’ll lose that human touch by automating the review collection process. We have found that personalised review requests have a higher conversion rate. If your business values customer engagement, canned requests may not suit you. For example, “Hi Bob, great seeing you today. Please let me know if there are any issues with the grass mower 2000. It would be awesome if you could leave a review – here is the Google review link “<link here>”. This is more engaging, personal, and likely to gain a positive review.
Software designed for Google review automation
5 of the best google review automation software packages
Many software products on the market aim to save time requesting reviews. Almost all the systems have a charge. Let’s have a review of the top 5
Podium is a good, if expensive, solution. At $249 per month (at the time of writing), Podium can be out of the reach of many smaller businesses. Podiums speciality is text messaging, so your customers can leave you reviews in 20 seconds with two clicks.
Automation of review invites
The ability to respond to reviews
and more, all from one easy-to-use platform.
Birdeye is more than a review automation solution – it is a Customer Experience Platform. Customer web chat, messaging, mass text, appointments, payments, surveys, referrals, etc. Unfortunately, they have an annoying thing on their website where you can not see the price. You must surrender your email address to get the price!
Nice job is a smaller package than the others listed above, but it does its job well. Their messaging on the website talks about getting 4x more reviews for your business. The lowest price you can pay – including automation- is $75 per month (this is one of the cheapest of the range we looked at). Remember that the default settings can make customers feel “pestered,”. Contact their customer success team, who help get the system as you need it.
Grade.us starts at $110 per month, so more than an excellent job. It does support multiple languages and highlights what it calls a “review funnel”— a landing page designed to remove friction from writing reviews about your client’s business. Their portal to respond to reviews is well-designed. They support over 100 significant and industry-specific review sites (e.g. Salon review sites, etc.)
Leave.Review has fewer features than the other Google review automation packages. But, what it lacks in features, it makes up for in performance. It has one ultimate core aim – getting your business more reviews – in the simplest way possible. You’ll find that you will get started much faster with Leave.Review than other software (in our tests). Leave.Review has a free plan – try it here
High-level steps that are required to set up review automation software
Whichever software package you put in place, the setup process follows the same flow. Some software providers may support you as part of their onboarding approach.
Choose a review management software based on your long-term marketing goals. Changing systems in the future can take more effort than you might think. To see a more comprehensive list of software, head over to Capterra.
Connect the tool to your Google Business account (or paste in your review link). Most tools will connect to your Google Business account, automating this process. Other systems rely on you pasting the review link.
Set up review request triggers. Many review automation tools allow you to set up triggers or schedules. Reviews are sent after an event, such as making a sale or getting added to a mailing list.
Customise the review request email. Most review automation tools allow you to customise the email sent to customers. For example, you can change the subject line, message body, and sender email address. Consistent branding/messaging is essential in all marketing. ie making the email they receive the same as your company’s branding. Lack of consistency could result in your email being ignored (or, worse, marked as spam). Run an e-commerce store? Some tools allow you to include details about the product purchased—for example, product images in the email body and product name(s) in the subject line.
Test and track the results: Once you’ve set up your review request automation, testing and watching the results is essential. You will see how many customers respond to your requests, and you can make any necessary adjustments to improve the success rate. The simplest way to do this is by asking, “Am I getting more reviews on the Google Business platform?”. The default setting on Google is to send the business owner an email when a review is received. (The email notification also gives you a quick link for you to respond)
Respond to reviews: I know we touched on it above, but some Google review automation tools also allow you to respond. Maintaining a positive reputation and relationship with your customers is essential. However, we would not recommend automating the response. It lacks sincerity, and it is hard to make a canned reaction look like it came from a natural person.
It’s important to remember that automation is not a one-size-fits-all solution. You need to test and monitor the results and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Googles own solution – Collect reviews via Google Customer Reviews
Did you know that Google has a solution designed for E-commerce sites? It’s available from the Google Merchant Center. This section will explain in more detail how to get set up. Let’s start with what the result looks like. You can read more about the Google Customer Reviews experience here
Turning on Google customer reviews. This will allow you to boost your Google Seller rating. Also available is a badge with real-time scoring. You add this badge to your website. Advertising your google seller rating is another form of social proofing.
An example of the seller rating graphic is on the left.
What do Google’s automated customer reviews look like to your customers?
The screenshot below was taken from an actual review request sent to me a couple of days after I purchased a new coffee machine.
When you click on one of the stars, your customers will be redirected to a webpage (hosted by Google). Here they can write about their experience (with the star you selected pre-filled on the page)
When your customer has completed the review submission, the thank you page looks like this:
How do you turn on Google E-Commerce Automated review collection?
Unfortunately, you will need a developer to install the automated E-commerce script provided by Google. A non-technical person CAN get the code to send to a developer, though – watch this video to get your Google Merchant review collection code:
So this is all great, but what if you don’t own an e-commerce store, e.g. a Gym or Cafe? Fear not; there are different solutions – but they will need an email address or phone number.
Automating Google review requests via E-mail.
For all automation, you will need some software, and one of the cheapest ways is to use email marketing software to automate google review requests via email.
The video below demonstrates implementing a review request via Mailchimps automation. It works by sending an email AFTER an email address is added to an audience list. Mailchimp has many ways to add email addresses to the audience list, such as:
We recommend getting an iPad or similar and setting it up in kiosk mode. This is where a customer can add their contact details into a form on the iPad at your location. Mailchimp provides sign-up forms as standard, so set-up is easy.
1. Log in to MailChimp and look at the left menu for Automation / Overview
2. Then click started to choose the audience. Every time a new email address is added to this list, the automation is triggered
3. Click on the Create an email workflow item – this will open the email configuration page
4. When you click on “Create an email” the configuration block appears for you to customise the review request email
5. When you click save, you will be presented with how to design the email. Choose the new builder option:
6. Add your text and images to reflect your branding. It’s a great idea to try and make the experience as continuous as their previous engagement with your business. There will always be a call to action in the email. You need to get your Google review link – use this tool to find it.
7. Change the automation delay setting from 1 week
8. The shortest option available is 1 hour
9. Finally, test the email to ensure it looks good and, most importantly, that the Google review request link works
The following video demonstrates the whole process in 2 minutes 38 seconds!
Set up Mailchimp to automate sending reviews to your customers
It’s a pity that Mailchimp does not provide a free, basic plan to allow you to automate review requests. Their cheapest plan, the “Essential plan”, costs $13 per month (at the time of writing). This is cheaper than most of the dedicated automation tools.
Note: Be sure to follow the laws and regulations related to email marketing in your region. You don’t want your emails to hit the spam folder or, even worse, get legal action!
Automating request reviews by text message
Sending review requests by phone or text (SMS) has a higher response rate than emails. Set up is a lot thicker, though. The best solution we found was to use Zapier and Twilio. On the zapier website, there are dozens of integrations with market-leading products. The most straightforward approach was using Google Sheets integration.
This solution is clunky, though. You hook up Google Sheets to the Zapier integration. A trigger to send an SMS review request happens on each new row in the spreadsheet.
Our recommendation is not to use zapier but to use a dedicated review collection service. It’s a lot simpler, easier to customise and will have an audit on the success.
Automating responses to Google reviews – the pros and cons
Let’s face it nobody appreciates a canned thank-you response. Typically they lack sincerity. But let’s dive into this topic more closely and see if we can find any nuggets of gold or if it is just a set of robot-powered lip service.
The benefits of automating responses to google reviews
Fast and 100% response rate. Google combines dozens of factors in defining your search engine position. The speed at which you respond to questions and reviews is essential. If you have a 100% response rate to all reviews, you add another reason for Google to rank you higher.
We have a good article on how google defines relevancy in search results. If you had a solution that could ping a response back to a review immediately for ALL reviews within minutes, you might have a competitive edge. It’ll also save you heaps of your precious time. We mentioned earlier that responding to reviews takes much longer than you’d think.
The final benefit of automating google responses is scalability. It’s a set-and-forget operation that will support your business no matter how large it grows.
The negatives of automating responses to Google reviews
Lack of personalisation. Using the exact same/canned response to all Google reviews lacks warmth. I.e. if you look down at a set of reviews and the responses are all 100% the same, it does not look impressive.
Loss of the ability to impress. It’s common for reviews to mention the staff who helped. So including the individual in the response shows that you’re paying attention.
Correcting actions: Sometimes, a review may knock off 1 star, and they’ll tell you why you didn’t get five stars. Your response can deal with the issue. It highlights to review readers that you care about feedback and are happy to act on it.
It’s a sales opportunity. People reading your reviews is when you have their full attention. They’re unlikely to have visited your website before reading your reviews. Your detailed responses is your opportunity to educate and sell!
So it is all possible.
If you have a developer and an eCommerce store, then the Google Merchant Approach is the best way. It’s designed for this task and does it well.
Use a 3rd party software like Broadly, Get More Reviews or leave.review. Some may incur a cost, but they’re dedicated to the problem you’re trying to resolve. Using software for review automation will save you time and boost your reviews.
Build your solution with Mailchimp or Zapier.
Appendix / More review collection tips
Ways to Increase Your Google Reviews
Show your customers that you value their opinions.
When requesting a Google review, express gratitude for their patronage and tell them you appreciate their input. Pharasing your request carefully could encourage them to take action.
Ask at the appropriate time.
The phrase striking while the irons are hot has never been more apt when asking for reviews. In short, you’re more likely to get a review if you ask immediately after product or service delivery.
The longer the gap between the delivery of the product or service and the review request, the less chance you’ll get a review.
Most reviewers are motivated to write reviews soon after their experience. So doing an end-of-month run of bulk review requests will work, but it will not be as successful as asking for a review within hours.
Cut barriers and technical issues.
The best advice here is to give customers the link that takes them straight to the review writing page. In addition, it’s sometimes a good idea to watch customers as they try to submit reviews to ensure that the process is seamless.
Ask, then ask again.
Don’t give up if customers do not respond to your initial request. Instead, follow up with them and make requests via various channels such as email, social media, in-person or SMS.
Automate your requests.
Due to a lack of processes, don’t miss out on valuable Google reviews. Instead, use a service (or follow this guide) to find ways that will request reviews when appropriate.
Don’t be afraid of negative reviews.
Prepare to respond to unfavourable reviews, but don’t allow fear to deter you from asking for reviews. In the eyes of a prospective customer, your reaction to a negative review can be as important as a positive one.
More about Leave.Review
An upsell / promotion opportunity for your customers after they have left a review.- Allowing you to make more sales; Ability to generate a leave-a-review flyer (for free)
As one of the few systems to offer a free plan that delivers real, measurable business value, it’s a no-brainer to give it a go. To start, follow this link for leave.review. Within minutes you’ll have claimed your free custom leave.review/your-business URL.
There are lots of Google Business categories – check this list for the full amount. Be warned that the list is added to almost every month, so by the time you read this it is probably out of date. So not the most informative web pages you’ll stumble across in your lifetime. This chap has a great site that queries the Google my business API. You will need to know the categories for your Google My Business listing
You will have been living in a cave for the past decade if you have never used Google to find a business.
When you do a business/service search on your phone’s browser via Google, it will automatically find businesses local to you and display these within the search results. Let’s dissect the results:
Let’s break down these search results in more detail:
Google knows where I am. Google is pretty smart at identifying where you are in the world, so the business listings that are displayed in the search results are all LOCAL – which matches the User Intent. And Google is ALL ABOUT INTENT – ie delivering results that align to the attention of the users search request – which in my case is location / region specific.
Showing the Google My Business category here. In your Google My Business setup you can define the primary category of your business from a drop down list. This category you can see on the screen is from that list.
It is showing me the MOST RELEVANT results – That’s good to know!
This business has no photos uploaded, so we have a generic photo – Notice that if you upload images for your business, Google will display them. It’s fallback position is to show your location on a thumbnail google maps icon. You can upload photos in your Google My Business page.
Notice that this has more reviews but is LOWER in the list. It’s a reasonable, but common misconception that if you get more reviews you’ll be higher up in the rankings on search results for local businesses. I thought it too until I research it and wrote this article on How Google ranks businesses in local search results
Lastly – these results appear ABOVE the webpage listings – ie the normal google results listing. So, if you had a website that scored position #1 for the keyword “Bicycle Rental Service” – you would appear underneath these Google My Business / Google Maps listings
Why rank higher on Google Maps?
We did a survey, crunched the numbers, and produced pretty graphs on how the general public (customers in your world) use Google and reviews to find local businesses. The results below come from our consumer review survey on how often do people use the internet to find reviews
In short – if you’re not ranking higher on Google Maps you may be losing new customers to your competitors.
Steps to boost your business listing on Google Maps and Google searches
Claim your Google My Business Listing
It kind of goes without saying – If you have not claimed your Google Business listing yet – then it’s super important you do this. We have created this guide to show you how to Claim Your Google My Business Listing – it’s pretty straightforward, but does take a few days to complete the verification as Google will need to send a postcard to your address.
Optimising your Google My Business Listing
Name Address Phone (NAP) – Google My Business Optimisation
What is NAP and why is it important to my Google Business location?
NAP is an abbreviation for Name, Address, Phone Number and it’s part of Googles (brace yourself for another abbreviation) EAT – So what is EAT? E-A-T is part of Google’s algorithm and baked into Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. What this means is that everywhere your name appears on the internet it should be spelled exactly the same way. For example, This Company Ltd and This Company Limited although the same company lack consistency in spelling. Also, your phone number appears with country code digits and lacks consistency. Think accuracy and consistency with these. There’s a Forbes article on this that expands on this concept.
While you’re updating your NAP, please also remember to check the website linked from your Google My Business Location. It’s important that the phone number, address, and location all match those on the website.
Check ALL Categories Relevant To Your Business
Many businesses only state their primary category when creating their Google My Business profile. This is the minimum you should do. You’ll probably find that your business can fit into multiple categories, so your mission (that you should accept) is to seek out those categories.
How to segment your Google My Business traffic into Google Analytics
After logging in to Google Analytics to review your conversion goals and the results of your marketing campaigns you wonder how many conversions came from from your Google My Business page.
Sure you can see how many people VISITED your website from Google Analytics (using the Insights page).
However, the big question is… How many of those visitors to your website bought something, or did the action you’ve spent weeks laboriously crafting the user onboarding journey for?
The answer is, you don’t….but you can!
Understanding Google Analytics Source Medium
When you log in to your Google Analytics page you can easily find where your traffic is coming from. Click on :
Then you can see the list of traffic sources
So we can not see in here the traffic from Google My Business. To solve this we are going to do next is to update your Google My Business website link with some special code that Google Analytics will use for segmentation. The way we do this is using the urchin tracking module (UTM):
UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes are extra bits of text added to the end of a URL to help Google ANALYTICS track where website users arrive from. when they click a link with these special bits of text, essential information such as: Organic traffic / paid, social network links, marketing campaigns, etc is passed to google analytics allowing data to be categorised / segmented
Google Analytics does a good job of inferring the type of traffic already, but UTM gives YOU control over the segmentation. Let’s get started with creating your link.
Enter your business website link, eg https://yourwebsite.com
For the campaign ID, enter GMB – this stands for Google My Business
For the campaign source, enter GMB – this is because traffic to your Google My Business page is typically Organic traffic
For the campaign medium, enter Organic – this is because people searching for your Google My Business are typically local to your area
For the campaign name, enter your business location. If you have one location, it’s easy – put the town/city. If you have more than one location/facility you can segment the traffic by each location. Put the street name, name of the facility, whatever makes sense for your different locations
With the powers of the internet and other sorcery the URL you need is magically created at the bottom of the box. Click on the icon to copy it to your clip board
Top tip: Always test your new link to make sure it opens your website. It’s easy to make a mistake manually typing your website url, especially if it’s at the end of the week and you’re drinking wine. While the window is open, you can check that Google Analytics can “see” the tag information using the Real Time traffic view
Click on Realtime
Click on Traffic sources
Look in the main section – you should see Medium is Organic, Source is GMB
You can see that at the time I took the screenshot the website had 2 visitors. Me and a random person.
Both visits are tagged as organic, however, the random person found the website via a Google Search, and my visit was segmented by source GMB as marked by the number “3” I placed on the picture.
Now head over to your Google My Business listing and update it:
On the Google My Business Profile Manager page
Select Info on the left hand side
Scroll down the page and find the icon of the globe and click on the Pencil icon
Replace your website link with your new fancy link
And you’re done.
Ready to move on to the next level? Set up a conversion goal in Google Analytics. As this is out of the scope of creating and maximising reviews I’m going to pass you over the All seeing and all knowing Neil Patel for his advice on Google Goal setting
One of the positive things to come out of the COVID 19 pandemic is the education and uptake of QR codes (Quick Response Codes).
Before COVID 19, QR codes were the tools of the nerds (like me, and even I rarely used them). Sure you’d find them on the back of some advertising packages, but most people had no idea what they are. The thought of pointing your camera at the code was as alien as…… well an Alien.
During COVID, they became ubiquitous and sometimes an essential passport to access the normality that was taken away from us all.
You know barcodes right? You know how they work right?
Nope – ok, well each line reflects an amount of light. Depending upon the amount of light it reflects its tells the computer what number it is. You’ve been in a store before when the code doesn’t scan, so the cashier grumpily types in the number manually while squinting at the tiny digits.
So what is the difference between QR codes to barcodes? Well first of all a barcode is read horizontally, whereas a QR code is read vertically and horizontally. Due to this structural difference, it can hold a hundred times more information. kaboom!
The 3 black squares are position markers – these allow the scanners to know where the data modules are. The different-sized blocks are in rows and columns, and each block represents different pieces of information. Some cool things about QR codes are that they can have your logo/picture in the center and they have built-in error correction (something called the Reed-Solomon Code) which adds backup data to the QR code mathematically. This means if part of the QR code is obscured it will still work (up to a point)
Check the QR code on the right, we have the Leave.Review logo and our main character image embedded on to the QR code. I created this quickly by pasting on the graphics and testing, but you can get really creative with your branding and your QR code.
When it comes to online reviews, a high star rating isn’t enough to differentiate your company from the competition. A star rating (no matter how high) falls flat in the absence of written reviews.
Before making a decision, the average consumer spends 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading through reviews and review responses. The right review response from your company can boost the impact of a 5-star review while mitigating the impact of a negative one. Let’s take a look at some positive review examples and discuss how your company can leave winning responses.
What is a positive online review?
The answer to this question may appear self-evident… A “good review” is when a customer gives your company 5 stars! In reality, what we need is an excellent review – This entails much more than a star rating. Here are three specific elements to look for in a customer review that make it particularly valuable.
Detail in your online review
What, a 5-star rating isn’t enough to impress new customers? You want your positive reviews to be as detailed as possible. Although high star ratings are always appreciated, a detailed review explains why the customer enjoyed your company. This helps prospects understand what distinguishes your company from the competition.
Take a look at how this review of an Asian Restaurant goes above and beyond the star rating.
The review describes how the review felt when entering the restaurant. It described the atmosphere, highlighted a benefit for families, and finally included photos of a couple of the dishes.
This review ticks a lot of boxes for Google My Business. So despite it being older than many of the other reviews of the restaurant, it appears at the top of the search results. You can read more about how Google decides which reviews are most relevant to customers here.
Provides a description of the customer experience
A good review should cover a wide range of aspects of the customer experience. Did the customer receive excellent service? Was a particular employee especially helpful, and did the customer mention the employee’s name in the review? Did the customer mention other aspects of the customer experience, such as a fantastic website that was simple to use? These details will not only be appealing to potential new customers, but they will also help you understand what your company is doing well.
positive feedback from customers
Detailed feedback Did you receive a high star rating in a review but mention some negative experiences in the review response? This is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how your company responds to feedback. Thank the customer for their response and explain how you plan to improve. This will likely make the customer even happier, and show prospects that you are always working to improve your business.
Why should I react to positive feedback? Responding to positive reviews boosts their worth. When you respond to a positive review, the customer who left the review feels appreciated, which increases the chance for repeat business. Review responses also show that you value customer feedback and care to improve your customer experience. This will attract new customers and set you apart from your competitors.
Watch Now How to respond to positive reviews: 5 examples Now that you know what to look for in a good review, it’s time to learn how to respond to them from these positive review response examples.
Example 1: Be creative and personal. Chef John Howie uses YouTube to respond to Yelp reviews of his restaurant, Seastar Seafood Restaurant and Raw Bar, in a creative and personable way. This type of review response is advantageous for a few reasons. First, by posting these videos, Chef Howie reaches a broader audience than just Yelp users. Videos are also shared more often than other forms of media, so this can help increase visibility for the restaurant.
Second, a response like this establishes the restaurant’s credibility — the chef is proving that he actually reads his reviews and values customer feedback because viewers can watch it happening for themselves. Finally, by responding to his reviews on video, Chef Howie is giving a face to his business. When customers and prospects feel like they know the chef, they are more inclined to return to Seastar Seafood Restaurant and Raw Bar time and time again.
Example 2: Respond quickly. There are few businesses who are better than JetBlue when it comes to responding to customer feedback. JetBlue proves that your business’s response doesn’t need to be long-winded. Even a quick thanks goes a long way.
quick response JetBlue is also great at responding to negative feedback. When a passenger complained about their broken television screen on Twitter, JetBlue responded instantly. This opened up a personalized conversation, and both parties could come to a solution.
Example 3: Use humor. How can you turn a negative review into a positive one? Use humor in your response! Instead of this sandwich shop getting discouraged by negative Yelp reviews, it actually used them for marketing content.
Putting a lighthearted spin on one customer’s rant got them a lot of attention. This chalkboard not only shows passersby that the business has a fun vibe, it also proves that the owners actually read their customers’ feedback. Using humor when responding to both positive and negative reviews is a great way to show your business’s personality and grab customers’ attention.
Example 4: Recognize the staff. Positive reviews are a great way to boost employee morale and keep your team motivated to deliver awesome experiences every day. In this review of Hard Rock Cafe, the customer mentioned the fantastic waitress they had by name. Take a look at how Hard Rock Cafe responded to that positive review:
Example 5: Don’t shy away from personality When you respond to reviews, don’t be afraid to show your company’s brand! This will make customers more excited to engage with your business. The hair dye company oVertone does a great job at using their brand personality in every response. Every employee is free to use emojis and includes their favorite shade of hair dye as a sign-off signature.
personalized positive review Review response templates Need help getting started with your review responses? Look no further. Here are some templates showing how you can respond to positive reviews, negative reviews, and everything in between.
Type 1: The customer is happy and they have no complaints. This is the easiest kind of review to respond to. A simple thank you should do the trick.
Thank you for your review. We’re glad you had a good experience, and hope to see you again soon! Type 2: The customer is happy, but there is room for improvement. Start by thanking the customer for their feedback, then move on to an apology and what you are going to do to make the experience better for next time.
Thank you for your feedback! We are happy that you had a good experience overall, but we are sorry to see that you are upset about [the complaint the customer has made]. We are addressing your concerns by [your plans to fix the problem]. We hope that you come back to see how we’ve implemented your feedback. Thank you again for your review, and we look forward to seeing you soon! Type 3: The customer is upset, but they provide no details. Responding to this type of review can be tough. Without details to go off of, it can be difficult to know how to respond. Start by asking if the reviewer could give more details about their experience, then switch to email or direct messaging to finish solving the issue.
We are so sorry that you had a negative experience with us. Can you please provide more details about what went wrong? We will do what we can to make it right. Thank you! Type 4: The customer is upset, and they provided details as to why. While this can be upsetting to read, this type of negative feedback can be very helpful to your business in the long run. Negative reviews that offer specific reasons can show you exactly where your business is missing the mark. When responding to this review, address each concern the customer has. Take ownership for where you went wrong, and explain how you are planning to improve.
We are so sorry to hear about your negative experience. Please know that we strive for all of our customers to have a great time when visiting [name of your business]. I see that your main concerns are [list the specific complaints the customer has]. Here is how we are planning on correcting these issues: [list how you plan to improve]. Again, my deepest apologies for your negative experience. We hope that you come back to see how we are improving. Thank you for your feedback! We will use it to grow our business and correct our mistakes. All the best. The image below is a great example of how a business can respond to negative feedback.
respond to negative feedback These positive review response examples and templates should give you everything you need to identify and respond to good reviews. Learn from these positive review examples and start engaging with your customers today.
In this video we detail the exact steps that you need to take to create a review for your latest movie rental on Amazon. In short, it’s really easy and takes seconds. Get your pop corn out, an oversized drink (that’ll make you pee half way through the movie) and relax. It’s show time BABY!
Step by Step instructions to leave a review on Amazon for a film
1. Login to your Amazon account, click on Account & Lists
2. On the drop down menu, click on Your Orders. A page will appear showing all of your orders. Find the movie that you would like to review:
3. Let’s write the review – click on “Write a product review” – the review page will open
4. Choose how many stars you would like to assign to the movie
5. Then enter a review “Headline”
6. Now we put sugar on the pop corn and harness those writing skills. You’re writing this review to give the prospective viewers an insight in to the film WITHOUT GIVING AWAY SPOILERS. If you must give away a key plot theme – then prefix the whole review with this: “*** CONTAINS SPOILER ALERTS ****”. This saves ruining someones experience of the film
7. Click submit and you’re done! Amazon reviews every review (either via a fancy computer or by a human, so it’ll take a couple of days before it appears)
It’s possible to easily update your review during the processing period.
How to create a review for amazon movie rental video