7 psychological tricks to get more customers to leave reviews

It can be challenging to engage your customers and convince them to leave you a review in today’s fast-paced environment. We are easily distracted and short on time and tend to move to our next tasks quickly. In fact, the average attention span of an internet user today is just 8 seconds. That doesn’t leave a lot of extra time to play with!

With more and more people moving their shopping activities online, and over 95% of customers basing their purchase decisions on reviews, it's clear that this is an important aspect for your business to look at.

Leaving a review might seem like a waste of time to some, so it’s up to you as a business to persuade your customer to share their feedback while it’s fresh in their mind. In this guide, we discuss 7 psychological tricks to make your customers more likely to leave a review.

1. Use nouns instead of verbs

We’re so used to ‘verbing’ or ‘nouning’ our way through life that most of the time we don’t take much notice of it. The same holds true for when you want to encourage someone to change their behaviour, or when easing yourself into a task. We use phrases like ‘Just Google it’ or ‘I am a reader’. These phrases hold significantly more power than telling someone to ‘Search for it on Google’ or saying ‘I love to read’.

Verbs become nouns and nouns become verbs, and we use it according to whichever holds the power. Linguists call this phenomenon denominalisation and you can flip this technique to encourage customer reviews too. Here’s a pretty standard request for a customer review:

'Thank you for shopping with us! We would love to hear your review of our product.'

Now let’s make the verb into a noun.

'Thank you for being a key member of our shopper family. We’d love to hear your feedback and make you a part of our family of honest reviewers too!'

The second option sounds more enticing because people are likely driven by the need to belong to a collective. Using a noun reinforces their identity as a member of a specific group; they aren't just taking an action, they're part of the action themselves.

2. Thank them for their time

People like being thanked. It helps reinforce our usefulness to someone else and helps us feel like we did something good with our time and energy. It also exudes positive feelings to the recipient. Thanking someone even before they have gone through with an action puts them in a position to complete that action and be worthy of your appreciation.

Let’s take a look at two examples of how you can use this psychological trick to get more customer reviews.

'We really appreciate your time. If you have a few seconds in your day your review will mean a lot to us!'

'Thank you for your time. If you can spare 5 more minutes, we’d love to hear more about what you think.'

Both of these requests start with being grateful to the customer and then going further by asking them to be a bit more gracious with their time to help you out. It reinforces the idea that they have already somehow helped you and just need to complete another small task to seal the deal and still feel appreciated.

3. Dare them to be honest

People love sharing their opinions with others, and there’s nothing more exciting than telling someone how you really feel about them. Use that to your advantage by daring your customers to leave an honest review about you. It can be done in a cheeky way, or you can keep to a formal tone. Either way, encouraging honesty might just spark that interest in them.

Here’s an example of a cheeky request:

'Did you absolutely love what you bought from us or was it just not your style? Either way, leave your honest review so we know what you really think!'

Let’s look at a formal tone:

'Please share your honest feedback about our service. It will help us improve our future services to you.'

Both scenarios encourage customer reviews to be honest and tell them that you genuinely are interested in their feedback. Telling them that they can be honest encourages them to provide feedback without holding back.

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4. Personalise the request to draw attention to what you want them to talk about

This is especially useful if you require feedback regarding a particular product or feature, or have recently launched something new. Use the key words you want the customer review to focus on in a bid to guide them in the right direction. This psychological trick is easy to master by playing with words.

Here is an example of a review asking the customer to look at specific features or new changes:

'We recently updated our catalogue page. Do you love it or hate it? Tell us what you think!'

You can also personalise it for each customer’s interaction with you. This is useful if you sell a range of products across categories and need to find out how they perform individually. Here’s an example:

'So you just bought a new mattress from us. We hope getting out of bed just got a little bit harder! Let us know if we’re right, or if you’re not happy with your new mattress so we can find the best solution for you.'

This review request specifies the customer’s recent purchase and asks them to mention any grievances about the particular product.

5. Tap into their social and peer responsibility

People love to feel like they are making a difference in the world. We want the power to influence and seek out others who can help us with our decisions too. 88% of customers trust online reviews and personal recommendations equally, so this is your chance to tap into their need for social responsibility.

Here’s an example:

'We hope you enjoyed your recent purchase with us. Please leave a review to help other shoppers make a decision too!'

The key word to focus on here is ‘help’. Other words you can use to encourage social responsibility are: advise, recommend, suggest, encourage, support and influence.

6. Use humour

Humour is always a great tactic, especially if something went wrong. Try to be funny without insulting your customer and you should be good to go. Poke fun at yourselves to encourage the light-heartedness of a situation and to absorb any blame that may arise. Maintain your professionalism, but also show your personality (if that's part of your brand image and tone). Customers are likely to engage with a brand that they can relate to as a human with flaws and a real personality.

Here’s something that you could do:

'Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas! Our festive deliveries have gone out almost on time this year, but a few are stuck on the North pole. Our elves tried their best, so even though they were late please leave them a review for their hard work.'

This request shows the customer that you’re trying to find humour in your flaws and would like to know their feedback too.

7. Encourage sympathy

When all else fails, play the pity card. It might just work!

In the end, if you want a customer to leave you a review, all you need to do is be honest and ask. Tell them how hard you’ve worked, what efforts have gone into getting them the right product and you can even name the person who got it done for them. Tell them that as a business you depend on their happiness and that it starts with them giving you feedback.

Here are some examples:

'We worked so hard this year to make our customers happy. We would love you to review our products!'

'Did you think Sam did a good job serving you today? Share your experience with us so they have a great day too!'

'We’ve spent six months on this campaign and would love to know if we should do the same next year. Tell us if you would come back and why!'

Each of these review requests portrays your efforts while asking the customer to show a bit of sympathy by giving you feedback.

Let the reviews roll in

So as you can see, with a bit of playful humour and the right amount of FOMO, it’s easy to get your customers to leave a review for your business in time. Reviews matter and your company should take notice.

Set aside the bland and boring review requests of 2020, and take some time to play around with language, imagery and slang to get your client’s attention. While staying true to your brand’s tone of voice and not going completely out there. You still want your customer to trust in you. Even if these psychological tricks don’t result in more customer reviews, you certainly won’t be forgotten easily!

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