Not the easiest thing to ask – but it could just be one of the most useful tools you can implement when building online presence. Think about it. How often have you hired a service provider without obtaining at least one person’s opinion? My guess is that you have not hired even one service provider without finding out a bit more about that person either through people you actually know, or through online reviews. It only makes sense that we want to know ahead of time if the person we intend to hire is easy to work with, knowledgeable in their field, reliable, shows up on time, completes the job at hand, provides value.
Asking clients for a review or a testimonial can be considered an integral part of your customer workflow. You will find that your happiest clients will be only too happy to recommend you and your services, they might just need to be reminded to actually go ahead and write one.
It would be prudent to ask your client for the review shortly after finishing a project for them, or having completed a lengthy session. You will want the quality and the details of the care and expertise that you put into the experience to still resonate with the client. This will help them design the recommendation with pertinent details.
I, personally, would not recommend the use of a third-party tool to gather your reviews. How incredibly annoying it is to receive a ‘bot’ generated request for review from someone you have barely dealt with. And it is even more annoying to keep getting reminders to send someone a recommendation. Agh! Turn that off!
So, what is the best way to request an online review of your product or service?
Although most of the social media platforms now offer a portal to leave testimonials, it is probably a good idea to lead people to your preferred platform. And, lead them to the platform that you have spent some time completing with your branding (descriptions, logos, photos, tags, keywords, images, etc). If you have completed your professional profile on LinkedIn, Google+ Local and Facebook, your clients may leave their testimonials on any of those platforms. You might decide to rotate which accounts you ask folks to review on. This will work out nicely, as over time, you will have a nice collection of reviews on all of your different platforms. Don’t ask clients to write duplicate reviews. That just doesn’t look good.
Of course, your own website should be rich with client testimonials that have been sent directly to you. These are easy to get. You only have to email a client to ask them to respond with their honest comments about the work you did for them. You can have a separate landing page for testimonials. You can also sprinkle some of them around on your other pages on the sidebars or as a widget. Testimonial ‘nuggets’ are wonderful to use on your social media posts. They look especially nice when incorporated into an image that can be easily shared. Like this shameless plug:
What to ask for in a review:
A recent article by Mike Allton for The Social Media Hat provided a wonderful guide to Online Review Best Practices. He outlines what one should ask for in a review. Mike suggests that you “take a few minutes to craft a personal, specific request. You can have the basics saved as a template…… and then edit it to meet the needs of each specific client or situation.” Of course, you will remind the client what you did for them. You might ask them some open-ended questions such as why they chose you for this project, what exactly did they appreciate about working with you, would they consider hiring you or referring you in the future.
Important! Absolutely, positively, without fail – You must thank your client for taking the time to craft their review.
Your online reviews can go incredibly far in building your online presence. They help potential clients get to know more about you. The more they learn about you, the more you are building trust. Reviews can go a long way in building your personal brand. Also, the more that is written about you online, the more easily searchable you will be, as well.
Now that you are ready to go ask for your reviews, you may want to also consider leaving reviews for folks you have worked with, as well. The sense of camaraderie and general ‘good feeling’ that we get from pulling each other up can go a long way for both of you. I might recommend another article by Mike Allton on that topic: How to Write LinkedIn Recommendations.
Go ahead – get writing!