The demand for customer reviews has led some enterprising businesses owners and marketers to offer incentives to would-be reviewers. Whether it’s a gift card or a coupon for future service, my advice with regard to offering incentives is simple: Don’t do it.
Ethical problems aside, businesses should avoid incentives because they are not necessary. At Customer Lobby, we have found that simply asking for reviews and providing a little direction is enough to generate reviews, typically 5-star, from customers who would not otherwise take steps to provide feedback.
The question to ask yourself is why do people leave reviews in the first place? According to one enormous survey, 85% write reviews for the purpose of helping others. That’s right: Altruism, not profit, motivates consumers to generate review content.
As the most sought-after resource for online research, consumers value the input they themselves glean from reviews and are happy to pay-it-forward by contributing their own feedback. And, it turns out, people are happy to provide recognition for a job well done.
In short, your consumers write reviews when the business deserve it, not because they were offered a gift card. And, according to our findings, most consumers are inclined to leave favorable reviews if they are asked, so there is no need to cherry-pick.
At the end of the day, the best way to ensure reviews is to provide excellent service and then follow up with an invitation for feedback. All the money that money spent on incentives would be better allocated to ensuring customer delight. So, how do you find out what delights your customers? Read your reviews!