Six Tips for Getting and Using Customer Reviews

You don’t have to write every word that appears on your website yourself. By adding customer reviews or testimonials, you can kill a whole flock of birds with one stone.

  • Fresh content: Reviews update your site regularly with useful material.
  • Enhanced searchability: Customers generally aren’t professional writers, so they use language that might be a little less jargon-y and more colloquial — and that will reflect the language that other potential customers are using in their searches.
  • Increased credibility: People are understandably skeptical about some of the information they find online. Comments from customers are a welcome supplement to the data, specs, and descriptions you provide.

There are two ways to add customer content: by enabling a comment feature on your website, or by soliciting comments, via surveys or questionnaires, that you post yourself. Whichever route you take, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Screen material before it goes live: If you allow people to post directly by way of your website, moderate those comments before they appear publicly, within 72 hours, if not faster. This prevents spam and profanity, but also allows you to exclude comments that should be dealt with through other channels.
  2. Choose relevant comments: If you’re soliciting product reviews, questions or complaints about customer service issues should not be posted. (They also shouldn’t be ignored — make sure they’re routed to the appropriate staff and dealt with promptly.) Not all positive comments should be posted, either: If someone compliments the color scheme of your lobby, that’s not relevant — unless, of course, you’re a decorating firm.
  3. Let people speak for themselves: Don’t edit or change the remarks that customers submit; run them in full. This not only enhances your credibility, it improves your SEO, as suggested above. Ask for permission to use the person’s full name if you’re posting survey comments; set up the function on your site to request that information as part of the commenting process.
  4. Make it easy for users to find comments: A product review should go on the relevant product page, obviously, but what do you do with other kinds of comments? You’ll probably want a few on your home page, but rather than overloading that page, set up a separate area of the site and link to it.
  5. Make it easy for customers to leave comments — and add incentives to do so: Put a nice big button on your website, and make the procedure clear for those who click it. If you ask departing customers to fill out a survey, make sure you provide room on that survey for comments. Send follow-up emails and ask again. Consider a sweepstakes for everyone who fills out a review during a certain time period.
  6. Share reviews by way of social media: Some sites automatically tweet a link to five-star reviews as they’re posted; others allow customers to share their comments on Facebook.
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