Review Management

4 Major Barriers Preventing Your Happy Customers from Writing Positive Online Reviews

It's frustrating, isn't it? You've exceeded your customer's expectations. You've under-promised and over-delivered. Maybe you've taken a loss for them. Or you've pulled a series of all-nighters. You've gone above and beyond.

It's frustrating isn't it?

You've exceeded your customer's expectations. You'veunder-promised and over-delivered. Maybe you've taken a loss for them. Oryou've pulled a series of all-nighters.

You've gone above and beyond.

When you talk to them, they're full of praise. So why won'tthey do it? Why won't they write a review?


Barriers keep customersfrom writing reviews

Happy customers are typically open to the idea of writing areview. Unhappy customers on the other hand, are far more motivated to write a negative review.

But both customers are in the minority.

The vast majority of customers don't leave reviews. They don'toffer feedback. There's a wide variety of reasons but it really comes down to afew common barriers.

Aside from expectations, these barriers determine whetheryou'll be able to get a customer to write a review.

So, how do you get more customers to write reviews?

It's simple.

You eliminate the barriers.

But first, you have to identify them.  

Barrier #4: Happy customersare secretly unhappy

Most customers aren't open with the companies they do businesswith. The sad part? Many happy customers are secretly unhappy.

Most customers won't tell you they're unhappy.


Let's look at a few statsmind by Help Scout:

  • Forevery customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent. Source: White House Office of ConsumerAffairs
  • Atypical business hears from 4% of its dissatisfied customers. Source: "Understanding Customers"by Ruby Newell-Legner
  • Resolvea complaint in the customer's favor and they'll do business with you again 70%of the time. Source: Lee Resources
  • 91%of unhappy customers will not be willingly do business with you again. Source: Lee Resources

Here's the real reason customers won't tell us the truth. We'resocialized to be "nice." Telling the truth often comes withunpleasant consequences.

And when it doesn't?

Delivering bad news or constructive criticism feels yucky,especially when customers feel it's petty, tiny or insignificant. Evendelivering good news can createheadaches. Especially when the recipient of said news takes it pretty hard orreacts negatively.

For some customers it's just not worth it.

These customers feel it's better to simply keep their thoughts,feedback and opinions to themselves.

So,how do you fix this?

Create an environment of safety. On the surface that soundseasy but it can be difficult to apply. Here are a few strategies you can testin your business.

  1. Welcomehorrible reviews. A negative review is a wonderfulopportunity. It's a chance for you to show prospective customers you're a safecompany to do business with. When something goes wrong customers know you'lltake good care of them. Thank customers for their unpleasant review, act ontheir feedback, then show what you've done.
  2. Askcustomers for good, bad and ugly feedback. Reassure customers,letting them know it's safe for them to hold you and your staff accountable. Then, keep your word. New customerswill test you; they'll attempt to verify your words. Handle it well and you'veearned their trust (and a review). Mess things up and they'll quietly slipaway.
  3. Improvestaff EQ. Give staff the incentives they need to eliminate dysfunctionalbehavior. Use training, resources and tools to eliminate the big fourrelationship killers - condescension, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.Be kind, be helpful or your chance at a review will be gone.
  4. Promoteclarity over persuasion. Anticipate and defuse concerns,objections, risks and fears ahead of time. Create policies that ensurecustomers feel safe and treated well.

Barrier#3: Customers don't remember what you did

When you've done a great job, customers tend to forget. Do abad job and customers never forget.

We all have a negative bias.

As people, we're on an obsessive hunt for problems. Fordisasters, fears, and frustrations. Researchshows we're far moreattuned to the negative events in our lives than we are to the positive.

Our negative bias keeps us safe.

It's an important survival mechanism we depend on from the timewe're born.

  • Problemscreatestress and anxiety.
  • Solutions(you) relievestress and anxiety.

When you give customers the solution they so desperately need,you give them relief. That's a good thing (obviously) but it's also a badthing.

Because relief induces forgetfulness.

The longer you wait to ask customers for their feedback (or areview) the less likely they are to remember what you actually did for them.

So,how do you fix this?

It's simple.

You ask customers for their feedback or a review, immediatelyor shortly after they've purchased and used your product.

Kind of obvious, right?

There's actually a better way. You prime the pump. When yousign customers up, you tell them you're going to do a regular check-in to makesure they're taken care of, like this:

Hi Jan!

So excited you've decided to join our tribe! We're excited tohave you as a customer.

So here's the thing.

I want to make sure you're taken care of. So, we want to reachout to you once a week with a quick 2 min chat to make sure you're being takencare of.

Would that be okay?

You can use these check-ins to share feedback, concerns,complaints, vent about a problem - it's all fair game!

You're amazing!

Andrew McDermott

P.S. Prefer to skip these check-ins? No problem! Just let usknow.

You'll obviously want to customize things for your business,but you catch my drift, right? Then, you save each "check-in" withyour customer. If you can, it’s also a great idea to use an automated reviewmanagement tool like ;) to automate review requests. Review conversionrates go way up when the email “ask” is combined with a face to face request.

Save live chats, record phone calls (get permission), saveemails.

You dramatically reduce churn and you gain valuable insights tomake them happy. And the best part? Customer reviews are baked right in!

Barrier #2: It's too hardto write or share a review

Great success! You have a customer who's able and willing toshare a positive review. They decide to search for your business on Yelp andthey see this.

Customers can't seem to find the right account or profile…

They spent 15 min writing a review only to lose it… 

It's too time consuming… 

Or too whatever.

Customers write reviews for a widevariety of reasons.

Customers stop caring when it becomes tough to actually write areview - whether that's on your site or a third party site.

You know what that means.

They lose interest and they abandon their review. And just likethat the opportunity is gone.

Here's the thing.

It's not just about technical difficulties. It's also aboutdirection. Customers don't always know whereto write or share their review.

They need direction from you.

So, how do you fix this?

You make things ridiculously simple. You make it incrediblyeasy for them to write a review. Then you show them where you'd like their reviews to go, like this:

Hi Jan!

Your feedback was amazing! Thanks so much for sharing.

Would you be willing to share your feedback and advice withother customers if it only took 30 seconds?

Please let me know,

Andrew McDermott

It's ridiculously easy for customers to respond. All they haveto do is write a "Yes" or "No."

Okay. They've said yes. What do you do?


Thanks so much Jan!

Here's what you'd have to do.

  1. Copy and pasteyour review below.
  2. Click this link
  3. Paste your review,select a rating and click Done


[Customer's review transcript goes here]


Thanks again!

Andrew McDermott 

Alright... What if they say "No?"

Hi Jan,

No problem! Thanks for letting me know. I'm curious, what is itabout sharing feedback that isn't working for you?

Thanks for everything,

Andrew McDermott


You'll have some customers who ignore you anyway. That's fine.focus on the customers who answer. Thank them for their feedback, act on it (ifpossible), then show them that you've taken their advice.

What if you don’t want to do the personal follow up? What ifyou’re looking for a systematic way to attract customer reviews?

If you’re looking for a scalable way to attract reviews you’llneed your review funnel. Semi-automation is key if you’re looking to gaintraction quickly. Using your review funnel gives you the ability to scalequickly, reminding customers to write a review and share their feedback.

Barrier#1: Customers don't know what to say.

The biggest hidden barrier by far is awareness. Many customerssimply don't know what to say. So, rather than struggling with it they simplydo nothing.

You can change that.

You can guide customers. Does this mean you're tellingcustomers what to say and when to say it?

Absolutely not.

It means you're focused on asking the right questions. Why doquestions matter? And, how on earth will questions get you the amazing reviewsyou're looking for?

Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School, shared the answer.

"Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. Ifyou haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mindand bounces right off. You have to ask the question – you have to want to know– in order to open up the space for the answer to fit."

Customers can't teach you about their experience until you’re ready to learn.

Ask the right questions and you give customers the fuel theyneed to create amazing reviews.

Because reviews flow from feedback.

Ask customers the right question and the barrier - I don't knowwhat to say - fades away.

Which questions do you ask and when?

First, start with the basics.

  1. What would have prevented you from buying?
  2. What did you find as a result of buyingthis?
  3. What did you like most about our product(or service)?
  4. What would be three other benefits to thisproduct (or service)?
  5. Would you recommend this to someone else?Why?

You can add in additional questions as needed provided that youmake it easy for your customers.

Make it easy, and barriers come tumbling down.

Aren't barriers unnecessary?

Believe it or not barriers arenecessary. Sounds crazy doesn't it? Who makes it harder for customers to writepositive reviews?

You do, if you're a savvy marketer.

Reviews are like magnets. Customers are drawn to them. That's aproblem if you have the wrong customers.

  • Have discount shoppers? Offer great service and you'll attractmore of their penny pinching friends.
  • Provide lots of "handholding?" You'll attract more of thesame demanding customers.
  • Nightmare customer writes you a positive review? You'llattract more customer predators looking to take advantage of your generosity.

What if removing barriers doesn't get customers to write areview?

It won't for everyone.

But you're not looking for everyone. You're looking forall-stars, customer evangelists who'll tell everyone they know about yourbusiness.

The diamonds in the rough.

Your happy customers have it rough

You've exceeded their expectations. You've under-promised andover-delivered. You've taken a loss for them. You've gone above and beyond.

But when it comes to writing a review for you, they'll stillcontinue to struggle with following through...

If these barriers remain intact that is. When you discussthings with them, they'll be full of praise. When you ask for feedback they'lldo their best to be nice. But these barriers will keep them from writing areview.

Happy customers want to write a positive review. Remove theirbarriers. Make it easy for the right customers and you'll find their reviewsexceed your expectations.

Written by:

Max Braverman

Max Braverman is a Social Media Success Consultant for Monarch & Company. With a background in photography, Max delivers a special eye to the photos used to market your business.

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