It’s no secret that most of today’s consumers check a product or service’s reviews before committing to a purchase. In fact, a survey last year by Zendesk found that 90 percent of respondents said reviews – both positive and negative – were very influential in their ultimate decision whether to buy.

No matter what your company or organization offers, collecting and highlighting reviews and testimonials from previous customers can go a long way toward improving your sales conversion rate. However, many owners have a difficult time finding appropriate ways to ask clients for reviews. We compiled this list of clever ways to request a review without bugging customers or irritating buyers.

  1. Simply ask. The trick here is how you do the asking, and it depends on what business you are in and what type of client you usually have. Customers older than 50 are more likely to be persuaded by a phone call from a live person. Younger customers might appreciate a handwritten thank-you note. Social media is only a good option if you include a link to the review site. Regardless which approach you choose, you’re unlikely to get reviews if you simple don’t ask for them.
  2. Dangle a fun incentive. An entertaining way to gather reviews is to make a game of it. Ask previous customers to write a review and stage a drawing of all participant names in which the winner gets a prize. Or, ask customers to submit stories about how they used your products and have the participants vote on the best yarn.
  3. Offer to Write It. This may seem a little strange, but you could always offer to write reviews for clients. Be sure to mention the specific circumstances of their purchase and don’t be too glowing about it. Then, submit the commentary for each customer’s approval. Many times, they are happy to have your help through this option.
  4. Send a card and gift. Handwritten notes are a lost art, and you can make a real impact by sending a testimonial request via snail mail. It won’t hurt to tuck a little gift inside, such as a $5 coffee card or a handmade bookmark. Close the inscription by writing “I look forward to reading your comments about our company. Thank you for your time.”
  5. Shoot a video. Videos on your website are practically guaranteed to garner attention from your site visitors. Shoot a video in which you interview previous customers about your product or service and their experiences using them. Combine a couple video testimonials into one short video, and post it on your site.
  6. Put links on your mailings. It’s crucial that you make the review-writing process simple for customers. Provide a link to the review-collection site on your email newsletters, sales emails and social media posts. After multiple exposures to your review requests, customers are more likely to finally fill one out.
  7. Create QR code. You know QR codes, right? Those black-and-white blocks that look sort of like a boxy version of a bar code? It is not difficult to create one, and it could take consumers directly to your review portal. Then, you put the QR code on all your printed materials, including postcards, stickers and business cards.

Remember, any time spent on collecting reviews and testimonials could end up increasing your profits. It is time well spent, and these ideas for requests should get you started. To learn more about the best practices of using the customer comments you receive, check out this blog.