We rely on reviews to guide many of our decisions — movie reviews, job candidate references, music album reviews, product ratings, etc. The list goes on and on. And businesses are no exception. In fact, our research shows that 68% of the time, consumers research a local business before making a purchase. And 93% of consumers read two or more reviews when researching a company. 

Here are some more important stats from our surveys you should know about:

  • 54% of customers leave a positive online review after a good experience with a local business.
  • 85% of consumers avoid selecting a multi-location business after reading a negative review.
  • 38% of customers leave a negative online review after a bad experience.

When it comes to content created by brands, people tend to take what they read or hear with a grain of salt. However, when consumers see their peers praise a business, they trust its authenticity. It provides social proof.  

negative reviews guide

Getting reviews needs to be an active part of your marketing strategy. However, according to our 2021 State of Online Reviews, businesses in several industries don’t regularly request reviews.

Manually asking each customer for a review can be time-consuming and difficult if you don’t approach it the right way. In this guide, we’ll highlight how to quickly and effortlessly get way more reviews for your business and explain why online review management tools can be a game changer. 

What is review generation?

Review generation is the process of actively seeking and encouraging customers to leave feedback or reviews about your business, products, or services. The idea is simple — by using strategies such as asking satisfied customers for feedback or sending post-purchase emails, you can increase the number of reviews you receive. Having a consistent flow of fresh reviews can enhance your brand’s online reputation and help you win more customers. 

What is the review generation process? 

Here is a step-by-step blueprint you can follow to proactively request and collect customer feedback at scale:

Step 1: Identify review collection opportunities 

First, analyze your customer journey to identify ideal scenarios for requesting reviews, such as immediately post-purchase or following a customer support case. Look for natural touchpoints where customers are already engaged and likely to respond.

Step 2: Create Personalized Review Requests

Next, draft initial review requests to be sent at those collection opportunities. Be sure to personalize messages using the customer’s name, transaction details, and your brand voice. 

Step 3: Send the request via text and email 

Send the personalized review requests via email and text message (assuming you have both contacts on file). The omnichannel approach caters to customer preferences and boosts the likelihood of a response. 

Step 4: Follow up with non-responders

If a customer doesn’t respond to your initial request within a few days, follow up again, emphasizing how much you value their feedback. The reminder often prompts reviews.

5 Benefits of regular review generation

Asking for customer feedback can be scary. It’s hard to know how and when to ask and even harder to digest negative feedback. But the pros far outweigh the cons — reviews are a powerful tool. Here’s how prioritizing review generation will help your business. 

1. Review generation increases sales
2. Reviews give you a competitive edge
3. Customers do your marketing for you
4. Reviews build customer loyalty
5. Reviews increase your search ranking

Let’s explore these benefits of regular review generation in detail:

1. Review generation increases sales

Positive or negative, in both cases, reviews help businesses to bring about healthy changes, attract customers, boost conversion rates, promote their brand, and take an extra leap to grow sales of products and/or services. In fact, studies show that 50 or more online reviews per product can increase conversion rates by up to 4.6% 

“We wanted to lean into the reviews, we wanted it to be something easy to ask for, easy to showcase, and easy to connect with our customers on. When we partnered with Birdeye we had 13,000 reviews, and now fast-forward to 6 1/12 to 7 years later, we are now up to 135,000 reviews across all of our locations and people. From where we started that’s 800% growth.”

– Melissa Wright, CMO at American Pacific Mortgage.

2. Reviews give you a competitive edge

Reviews level the playing field for businesses, no matter your size or budget. Having a high volume of recent positive reviews allows you to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with more established competition and potentially gain a positive niche in people’s estimation and expectations. Think about it — which company would you rather buy from: 

  • A company with 500 three-star reviews
  • A company with 250 five-star reviews

 Chances are you’d go with the latter. 

3. Customers do your marketing for you

A glowing review is far more effective at attracting customers than a marketing campaign. It provides valuable, long-lasting social proof that helps convince potential customers to make a purchase, helps build brand awareness, boosts trust, and increases customer loyalty. Positive online reviews essentially transform your happy customers into revenue

4. Reviews build customer loyalty

Consumers who take the time to leave a positive online review for your business have had a great experience and are, therefore, far more likely to remain loyal. Even if a customer leaves a negative review, you can still build loyalty by responding to their review and addressing the issue. Seven out of 10 consumers changed their opinion about a brand after the company replied to a review. 

5. Reviews increase your search ranking

Online reviews play a pivotal role in your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Generating reviews gives search engines the ability to identify patterns and attributes about your business over time. When customers leave feedback, especially if it’s positive and contains keywords relevant to your business, it signals to search engines (and potential customers) that your business is trustworthy and offers valuable products or services.

Moreover, search engines prioritize businesses with higher star ratings and a consistent influx of recent reviews, recognizing them as credible and customer-approved. This can lead to a higher placement in local search results and more organic traffic to your website. 

Image showcasing a client that generated thousands of reviews with Birdeye

How to generate reviews: 6 review generation strategies to try

Many businesses struggle with generating reviews simply because they don’t ask for them or don’t make it a consistent part of their marketing. Furthermore, many find it awkward and or uncomfortable to ask for reviews and don’t want to put their customers in a position where they might feel the same.

The key is embedding review generation into your marketing processes and making it quick, easy, and painless for you and your customers. There are various ways that you can bake review generation into your daily to-do list. Let’s go over a few tips and best practices to keep in mind.

1. Ask directly, then follow up

Many satisfied customers are more than happy to leave reviews, you just have to be willing to ask. Try to make a habit of sending a review request via text any time someone purchases from you. You might say something like: 

“Hey, [Customer Name], thanks for purchasing from [Business Name]! We appreciate your support. Could you please take a moment to share your thoughts on how we did? [Link] 
Thanks!”

Then, be sure to follow up after a few days to keep the request top of mind. Make sure to explain that you care about providing the best experience possible and that reviews help you improve your service. Consistency in asking for reviews — and following up — is one of the most effective ways to generate reviews consistently. 

2. Make the process as easy as possible

When asking for reviews, remember that customers are doing your business a favor by taking the time to leave feedback. Make the process as quick, easy, and seamless as possible.

Effective ways to minimize review friction include:

  • Send direct review links that go straight to the review site to skip extra steps.
  • Use review platforms that allow simple and fast one-click star ratings so customers don’t have to write paragraphs. Open-ended feedback can be optional.
  • Ensure that the process for leaving a review is fully mobile-friendly and doesn’t require customers to download any apps or create accounts. 

Decreasing friction removes obstacles customers face and boosts review volume. And the more positive the experience, the higher quality feedback you will receive.

Businesses can include a custom Google review link in their review generation messages. This enables customers to leave a review with a single click. Google is one of the largest review platforms, which can significantly improve the volume of reviews you receive. 

Follow these simple steps to generate the Google review link for your Google Business Profile. If you have multiple listings, repeat the process for each individual listing. 

  1. Sign in to your Google Business Profile account and access the manage profile dashboard. If you have multiple accounts, choose the one you wish to generate the review link URL.
  2. Click on the “Promote” tab. 
  3. Next, choose “Ask for reviews” from the menu options.
  4. Now, copy the URL that shows up for use in your review generation emails. 
  5. If you are looking for a vanity or custom URL, you can use a link shortener tool to change the URL from https://g.page/r/Cc6PXI89JDtvEBM/review to http://bit.ly/3gXmGSY 
Pro Tip: For multi-location businesses, generating and tracking individual Google review links can be challenging and lead to errors. Switch to a review management tool like Birdeye Reviews that allows your customers to leave Google reviews for your business with a single click. 

Many multi-location businesses find it mission-critical to build and manage their social media reputation on Facebook, where over 1.6 billion users are connected to businesses. 

You can now simplify the process of writing Facebook reviews for your business by custom Facebook review links. 

To generate a Facebook review link, 

  1. Login to your Facebook account. 
  2. Navigate to your Facebook business page. 
  3. Next, move to the reviews tab of your business page. 
  4. The URL of this page should look like this: facebook.com/yourcompanyname/reviews

This Facebook reviews link will help customers quickly leave a recommendation for your business. 

3. Ask for reviews on the sites your target audience frequents

As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to get reviews on the sites consumers frequent when looking for reviews in your niche. It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of happy reviews on an unheard-of review site that few of your target customers know about. Review sites like Google and Facebook are good starting points as they are well-known and commonly used. 

Furthermore, keep in mind that consumers have a plethora of options when it comes to review sites. Therefore, you should choose review generation software that integrates with hundreds of review sites, making it easy to get new reviews on any site your customers are searching, along with your company website and social media.

Image displaying review generation workflow

4. Customize your review requests

Resist the temptation to blast out mass impersonal review requests. Automation is convenient — advisable, even — but make sure you don’t lose the human touch when requesting reviews at scale. Instead, ask for a review with customizable templates

A few more tips to customize your review requests include:

1. Personalize requests with your branding and messaging. 
2. Choose from several formats to ensure you get the most actionable responses and increase customer     reviews.
3. Address the customer by name.
4. Reference the product or service the customer recently purchased from you.

Personalized outreach boosts open and response rates, helps you avoid spam filters, and makes customers feel special. Taking the time shows you truly value their thoughts.

Image asking a customer to leave a review

5. Use a review generation software

Manually collecting customer reviews and feedback is extremely tedious and difficult to scale. Automating the entire review generation process can save you time and significantly increase the number of reviews you receive. 

With the right review generation tools, you can easily build intelligent and personalized campaigns to maximize conversions from your review requests or set up and launch a drip campaign.

“We’re using the new feature BirdAI, by the way I love the product so cool, but the way we’re using it is to generate more responses and generate options. I think having options is so good, and words have such a big impact on people.”

George Grigoryan, Marketing Director at SEV Laser Aesthetics.

By integrating Birdeye with your CRM, you can send out review requests automatically after a specified customer interaction. This seamless integration triggers automatic sending of review requests following specified customer interactions. For example, once a purchase is completed or a service is rendered, the system can be programmed to send a review request without any manual input. Such timely requests capitalize on the immediacy of the customer experience, thereby increasing the likelihood of receiving a prompt and positive response.

Tip for responding to reviews using generative AI

6. Send review requests on multiple channels – not just email

Every customer has unique channel preferences, so don’t limit review requests to just email. Chances are that you have a lot of happy customers out there. Some of them may check their email daily, while others may lean heavily on text as a communication channel. Make sure you reach them on the channel that is most convenient for them — this will lead to the best results. 

Our recommendation is to send review requests to your customers via text and email. Remember: Text has a 99% open rate and high response rates, so skipping this channel means missing out on tons of potential reviews.

Review generation

Review request templates you can use today

Asking for feedback doesn’t need to be complicated. Your customers don’t like reading long texts or emails more than you do. When sending review requests, keep them short, simple, and to the point. 

Here are a few templates that you can use to request your customers’ feedback: 

Templates to use for review generation

How to get more Google reviews?

To get more Google reviews for your business, here are some effective strategies:

  1. Create and share a Google Review link: Make it easy for customers to leave a review by creating a Google review link. Generate and share a straightforward link for Google reviews from your Google My Business account.
  2. Use a link shortener and QR codes: Employ link shorteners and QR codes for easy access to your review page.
  3. Incorporate review requests in customer communications: Include review requests in emails, newsletters, and other customer interaction channels.
  4. Excellent customer service: Providing exceptional customer service naturally encourages customers to leave positive reviews. Focus on building strong relationships with your customers and exceeding their expectations.
  5. Respond to existing reviews: Respond to existing reviews to show customer appreciation and encourage new reviews.
  6. Promote positive reviews: Share your best reviews on your website and social media to inspire more feedback from customers.
  7. Utilize review generation tools: Use automated tools for sending review requests and follow-ups.
  8. Regularly update your Google Business Profile: Keep your Google Business Profile updated with current information, photos, and posts. An updated and active profile can be more inviting for customers to leave a review.
Pro Tip: Work with Birdeye to leverage the top AI tools to take your business listing management to the next level. Birdeye provides AI-powered solutions that streamline review management by drafting responses to reviews, translating non-English feedback from international clients, and analyzing customer sentiment with AI-generated summaries. 

By actively monitoring and engaging with reviews, you can incentivize customers to leave feedback for your business.

What to avoid when generating reviews?

1. Waiting too long to request a review

It’s important to send your review requests on the same day as a sale or customer interaction. The more time you wait, the less likely it is that a customer will remember the details of their experience or even bother to write a review.

While customers may be more than happy to leave a great review after a delicious meal at a fancy restaurant, chances are that their memory of the experience will fade. After a month, they might not be willing to leave a review at all. 

2. Focusing on the wrong review websites

A common mistake businesses make is prioritizing the wrong review websites. In Birdeye’s 2021 State of Online Reviews, we saw this across multiple industries. For example, businesses in the restaurant industry almost equally split their review requests between Google (45%) and Facebook (43%) in comparison to vertical-specific sites such as OpenTable (1%).

While Google is the most popular site for customers to write reviews for restaurants (59%), a significant portion of reviews are written on other sites (20%). This reflects that people are writing reviews on industry-specific sites. For restaurants seeking to increase their review request conversions, there’s a clear opportunity to ask for more customer reviews on niche sites. This applies to most industries. Businesses often get caught up solely focusing on the popular general sites while missing the opportunity to boost conversions by considering relevant niche sites.

3. Not requesting reviews from all your customers

It may be tempting to only send review requests to customers that you have a great relationship with and are sure will leave a positive review. However, this is a bad idea. If you’re being selective like this, chances are that you’re missing out on sending review requests to customers who could also give a positive review but just aren’t as engaged or vocal about how much they enjoy their experience.

Also, even if you get a few negative reviews, you can seize the opportunity to address them and change those negative reviews into positive ones. This will not only help to drive loyalty but will also show prospective customers that you actively listen to your customers and care about their experience. 

4. Buying customer reviews

The consequences of buying online reviews far outweigh any short-term benefits you might gain. Buying reviews is against Google’s terms of service. Earning positive reviews has short-term and long-term benefits. By simply automating your review requests, you can quickly get more customer reviews, easily identify areas of the customer experience that can be improved, and build consumer trust for your star rating. The fact is most consumers don’t trust perfect 5-star ratings.

Frequently asked questions about how to generate reviews

What is social proof?

Social proof in a marketing context is evidence that other people have purchased and found value in a product or service offered by a business. When people shop, they look for reviews, recommendations, and ways that others have used a product to learn what their experience was like before making their decision.

What is review generation?

Review generation is the process of getting online reviews from your customers on relevant business listing review sites. Common review sites include Google and Facebook, along with industry-specific ones such as OpenTable and Angi. 

What are the benefits of generating reviews?

Online reviews from customers have created a new layer in marketing that bridges the gap between word-of-mouth and a viral form of feedback that can influence consumers’ opinions. No matter what industry you’re in, potential customers and shoppers use reviews as a primary factor in determining where to take their business. The more positive reviews your business has, the more likely you are to attract more customers.

Birdeye: The best review generation software

Image showcasing Birdeye's G2 awards

Birdeye helps over 150,000 businesses generate reviews with a powerful suite of solutions. Whether you need help getting new reviews, managing reviews, or monitoring reviews, Birdeye has you covered. Our streamlined and simplified review process will help your business deliver a fantastic customer experience and grow like never before. For more information, click on the banner below to watch a demo.

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