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When it comes to gathering reviews, there are clearly some methods that work better than others, both in return rate and wise use of the comments. We’ve collected this list of best practices, starting from just the basics of collecting the reviews to how to use them effectively.

Gathering Reviews

Once you establish a process for requesting reviews, the solicitations for feedback can even be automated. First, be careful about when you ask for comments. You want it to be fairly close to the purchase time, but no so close that the customer has not received the item or hasn’t had a chance to use it yet. Depending what your products or services are, you will have to choose a request time that make the most sense. For example, if you are a plumber, you can ask for a rating days after the home visit. But if you are a roofer, you might wait until after the first autumn deluge before you ask for comments.

Also, spend some time thinking about the best ways how to ask. We offered a few suggestions in this blog post. Again, depending what you offer, social media platforms might be a good portal for requests, or you could even hire a third-party service to solicit reviews from customers as well. Be careful if you hire a company, though, as they can be very aggressive, and you don’t want to anger customers.

We should mention here the cardinal rule that you should never pay for positive reviews. Authentic reviews, no matter what rating the customers give you, are more valuable than fake, over-the-top commentary. Buyers can see right through them. If you want to offer an incentive for reviews, check out these ideas, but the offer should stand for all types of comments, not just positive ones.

Finally, be sure to find a range of customers to get comments from. Choose those who might have been skeptical of your services at first but were won over by the end of the process. Don’t shy away from crabby customers or those you knew were not 100 percent pleased with the process. These types of reviews, when added to a mix of glowing reviews, add credibility and trust for potential clients.

Posting Reviews

Depending whether your process is to automatically post every review you get or whether you curate those the public can see, posting reviews takes some thought. Again, don’t eliminate negative reviews. Just make sure you respond to them in a professional manner that site visitors can read. This shows future clients that you are focused and responsive to customer concerns.

When you post comments, provide a little info about the person offering the testimonial. This could include his or her name, city of residence and maybe age. If there are other factors that are pertinent, include those as well. For example, a testimonial on a contractor’s website might include what the project was, such as a remodel, new-home build or repair. This helps readers identify with previous customers and see how they, too, might be so happy with the finished product.

Finally, consider where, in addition to your website, you could post the customer comments so a vast audience can see them. Facebook and Instagram are good options, because they can also include photos of the finished work or product. Twitter is better for reposting tweets with positive comments about your company.

These best practices will get you started on building a solid collection of customer reviews. Remember, though, that you have to keep adding to the treasure trove. Don’t let the comments get old or stale, or site visitors will wonder if you still are in business. Keeping fresh testimonials on the site at all times will assure them that you still are working hard for new clients.