Mar 15, 2016
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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 underpromised and overdelivered. Maybe you?ve taken a loss for them. Or you?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?t they do it? Why won?t they write a review?


Barriers keep customers from writing reviews

Happy customers are typically open to the idea of writing a review. 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?t offer feedback. There?s a wide variety of reasons but it really comes down to a few common barriers.

Aside from expectations, these barriers determine whether you?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 customers are secretly unhappy

Most customers aren?t open with the companies they do business with. The sad part? Many happy customers are secretly unhappy.

Most customers won?t tell you they?re unhappy.


Let?s look at a few stats, mined by Help Scout.

  • For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent. Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs

  • A typical business hears from 4% of its dissatisfied customers. Source: ?Understanding Customers? by Ruby Newell-Legner

  • Resolve a 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?re socialized to be ?nice.? Telling the truth often comes with unpleasant consequences.

And when it doesn?t?

Delivering bad news or constructive criticism feels yucky, especially when customers feel it?s petty, tiny or insignificant. Even delivering good news can create headaches. Especially when the recipient of said news takes it pretty hard or reacts 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 sounds easy but it can be difficult to apply. Here are a few strategies you can test in your business.

1. Welcome horrible reviews. A negative review is a wonderful opportunity. It?s a chance for you to show prospective customers you?re a safe company to do business with. When something goes wrong customers know you?ll take good care of them. Thank customers for their unpleasant review, act on their feedback, then show what you?ve done.

2. Ask customers 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 customers will test you; they?ll attempt to verify your words. Handle it well and you?ve earned their trust (and a review). Mess things up and they?ll quietly slip away.

3. Improve staff EQ. Give staff the incentives they need to eliminate dysfunctional behavior. Use training, resources and tools to eliminate the big four relationship killers ? condescension, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. Be kind, be helpful or your chance at a review will be gone.

4. Promote clarity over persuasion. Anticipate and defuse concerns, objections, risks and fears ahead of time. Create policies that ensure customers 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 a bad job and customers never forget.

We all have a negative bias.

As people, we?re on an obsessive hunt for problems. For disasters, fears, and frustrations. Research shows we?re far more attuned 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 time we?re born.

  • Problems create stress and anxiety.
  • Solutions (you) relieve stress 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 bad thing.

Because relief induces forgetfulness.

The longer you wait to ask customers for their feedback (or a review) 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, immediately or shortly after they?ve purchased and used your product.

Kind of obvious, right?

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

Hi Jan!

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

So here?s the thing.

I want to make sure you?re taken care of. So, we want to reach out to you once a week with a quick 2 min chat to make sure you?re being taken care 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 us know.

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

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

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

In this article, Andrew goes on to address two other key barriers that are preventing happy customers from writing positive online reviews.

Check out the rest of the post here.

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