How to ask for reviews
Depending on your personality and other factors, you may find it difficult to ask for online reviews. It might be that you feel that asking for reviews on Google or Facebook is being too pushy. Or maybe, you believe that if a customer felt like they received great service, then they should go ahead and leave a review, without you needing to ask.
While it is nice to receive unsolicited online reviews, the reality is unsolicited reviews are hard to come by. Most people have so much going on in their lives and probably don’t have the mental space to write a review unless something bad happens. If a customer feels that they were treated badly that’s when they’ll use any means available to vent their frustrations. For this reason, it is of vital importance that you implement a strategy by which you can garner favorable online reviews.
As for the thought of being too pushy, put that out of your mind. It’s a self-inflicted limitation that does you know good. Especially when the reality is most people are willing to help you out. All you have to do is ask. The right way. All a customer needs is a reason why their action will matter.
If you give them these three things you’ll get more reviews:
- A reason why leaving a review will make a difference
- An easy way to leave you an online review
- And the time to do it.
After reading this article, you’re going to have the ability to give them all three.
The first thing you need is an easy way to get customers to your review platform. We suggest using our ReviewBiz Platform Tool. It appears as an App on the home screen of your smartphone. Whenever you or one of your tow truck operators are with a customer, all you do is tap the Review App on your phone and text it to them as a link. Once they open the link, they’ll be provided a choice of three places to leave a review. These are usually Google, Facebook, and Yelp.
Once armed with this tool, you’ll then need to employ it for maximum effectiveness. Although some of the review platforms frown on requesting reviews, we believe that it’s in a business owner’s best interest to be 100% proactive in your approach.
It is an arduous process, attempting to remove a negative and sometimes inaccurate review. It can even require securing the services of an attorney. We suggest that rather than fighting an almost unwinnable battle, you fight back by gathering tons of 5-star online reviews
We’re not suggesting that you pay customers for reviews by offering discounts, or cash back. What we’re proposing is that you take advantage of opportunities that already exist.
Three reasons why reviews are important
Online reviews are essential for your towing business for three reasons. The first and foremost reason is that Google uses the quality and quantity of your reviews online as one of the factors for determining what towing companies show up when a search is performed.
Google uses three primary criteria to determine what business to present when a customer performs a search. They are;
1. The location of the customer in relation to the location of the towing company.
2. If the keywords entered, match the towing company’s optimized online presence.
3. And, the towing company’s reputation online.
That last one, your reputation online, is what we are aiming to effect when we gather more 5-star reviews. However, please, don’t misunderstand, the quality and quantity of your company’s reviews online are only one of the factors Google uses to determine your reputation online. There are many more things to consider, but gathering reviews is an excellent place to start.
The second reason why a large quantity of quality online reviews is necessary is that people love to see those stars.
We all use online reviews when making buying decisions. Whether it’s deciding what restaurant to go to, which set of wireless earbuds to buy or choosing a venue for a wedding, we all use reviews because we’re risk-averse. If a bunch of other people has had good experiences, ones that have prompted them to leave tons of 5-star reviews, then we believe that going to a restaurant we’ve never been to before is less risky. It’s called Social Proof.
The last reason why gathering a large number of quality 5-star reviews is essential is because good reviews help boost your aggregate, meaning good reviews push down the bad reviews.
Let’s face it, sometimes things go wrong, and you’re stuck with a bad review. Maybe it wasn’t even your fault. The good news is, gathering more 5-star reviews will aid in turning a 3.8-star aggregate into a 4.9 or even a 5, depending upon the number of reviews you have.
Now that you know the importance of gathering a ton of online reviews we’re going to discuss how to ask for reviews.
The Bottle of Water Approach
Many towing company owners already hand out bottles of water to their customers. On a hot day, it’s a friendly gesture that surprises a customer who’s been waiting on the roadside for some time.
When you give a bottle of water to your customer, whether you know it or not, you are creating a reciprocal event. Reciprocity is defined as “The practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit.” Reciprocation is “a return in kind or of like value.”
When you give that bottle of water, your customer feels a strong urge to repay you for your kindness. It’s natural human psychology. Of course, repayment doesn’t always happen, and even when it does, it may not manifest in a way you would like it to, but it exists nonetheless.
We’re not suggesting that you provide your customer with a bottle of water for the sole purpose of garnering a review. What we want to get across to you, is that if you are already doing this for your customer, then you should have zero reservations about asking them for a review. You are not placing a burden on them when you ask. In fact, since they now feel the need to reciprocate in some manner, you are helping them out by asking for a review.
When to ask for a review
How to ask for reviews using timing
If you have already attempted to get reviews for your towing business and found that it’s not an easy task, well… you’re in good company. When asked to leave a review, most customers will agree to do so, that is when they’re in your presence. However, left to their own devices, when it comes time to follow-through, they fall short.
The top three reasons people don’t follow-through and leave a review are: Not enough time, didn’t understand the process, or they forgot. That’s why we suggest that timing is a critical factor in asking for a review.
So, when should you ask for a review?
You should ask for a review before the work is 100% complete. For example; Let’s say you are providing a flatbed tow and the customer has ridden with you in the truck for ten miles. Over the 20 minutes you have together, you’ve impressed this person with your customer service skills. Now you reach the drop destination and have a couple of options for asking for the review. You can either ask before you begin to unload their car, or after the vehicle is unloaded and before you write up the invoice.
The timing is critical here because, while they’re waiting for you to finish the job, most likely they don’t have anything else to do. If you text the link to the customer’s phone after you are through with the job, and they’re long gone, the probability of them leaving a review drops substantially. Ask before the work is complete.
Scripts for asking for reviews
If you are truthful with your customer and provide a clear reason why you are asking for a review, and you can do it in a concise, friendly way, then you’ll have a better chance of getting a review.
Of course, you’ll want to be friendly and personable before asking. So be upbeat and helpful, and understand that listening to your customer and empathizing with their situation goes a long way towards being perceived as a good guy.
Below are a few scripts designed to increase your success rate. Edit them in any way you like to fit your personality and business better. Practice them over an over so that you get it right, but always ensure that you are genuine in your speech. You don’t want to come across as sounding like a recording.
If it doesn’t feel comfortable to you at first, asking for a review, force yourself to do it. After the 100th time, all of your uncertainties and self-doubt will merely disappear.
How To Ask For Reviews, Six Simple Scripts
“If I’ve done a good job for you today would you mind taking 30 seconds to leave me a review? I’m trying to grow my business, and I just learned that online reviews help to do that.”
“Would you mind taking 30 seconds to leave me a short review? It will let my boss know that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. It would really help me out.”
“Can I ask you for a small favor? We’re a relatively new business, and we’re trying to grow and get more customers, and I heard that good online reviews could help, would you mind leaving me a review? It will only take 30 seconds.”
“While I’m finishing up here, would you please do something for me? I’m trying to grow my business, and I heard that reviews help. Would you mind leaving me a review?”
“Our company is having a competition to see who can get the most reviews this month, and if I win, I’ll get (fill in the blank) would you mind leaving me a review? It will only take 30 seconds, and it would help me out.”
“Are you happy with what I’ve done so far? Great, thank you! Would you mind taking 30 seconds and leaving me a review? Thank you, it’ll let my boss know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”
After you have asked for the review, immediately pull out your phone and text the Review App to the customer, then thank them as if they’ve already left the review. “Thank you so much, I greatly appreciate it.”
If the customer leaves a review, then immediately respond by texting them a short thank you note. The more specific it is, the more likely they’ll remember you the next time.
If 24 hours have gone by and the customer has not yet left you a review, the probability that they will follow-through decreases immensely. However, a simple follow up text that includes the Review App a second time will spur many who forgot to go ahead and leave you a review. You could even add a simple note that reads, “Just a reminder from yesterday, please help me out by leaving a review. Thank you.”
Responding to online reviews
Did you know that when a customer leaves a review for your business, you, the business owner has the opportunity to respond? And, we encourage you to respond to every review you receive, good or bad.
When you or someone working on your behalf comments on both good and bad reviews it lets potential customers know that you are an engaged owner and that you care about your customers’ experiences. You can reply directly from your Google business listing or your Facebook Business page and most of the other platforms where customers are likely to leave a review.
You’ll want to take cautions when responding to negative reviews. Be respectful and careful not to get drawn into an online shouting match. You’ll want to be sure only to address specific concerns with the services provided, and not take anything personally. Don’t get your ego involved. When necessary, offer apologies and ask to discuss the matter over the phone, to clear up any confusion. If you or one of your employees did make a mistake or was rude to the customer, confess and take full responsibility.
When responding to positive reviews, always be upbeat and excited to have had the opportunity to assist. Not only do you want the customer to remember you the next time they need a tow, but you want to show other potential customers that you’re a customer service oriented business and that you genuinely care.
Towing customers only care about towing companies when they need a tow truck, and when they do, they look online. When online, they use reviews to decide which towing company to call. Whether through paid, or organic marketing, building your business requires the continuous acquisition of new customers. Taking control of and improving your reputation online allows you to show up in more and more unpaid organic searches, and provides customers with a reason to click and call.
Why would customers pay for tow services out of pocket when most insurances have built in roadside assistance.
People don’t want to pay for it if they already have it payed for.
And the motor clubs cheat us down but keep the volume up.
If people use their insurance and I’m not working for them, I don’t get calls.
I don’t see how this will change unless tow companies stop working for and accepting jobs from insurance companies/motor clubs.
If it wasn’t for motor clubs, I’d be out of business.
And its not easy staying in business working for them either.
Todd, I understand your frustration but not ALL motorists have roadside assistance plans. And of those who do, not ALL of them choose to use their roadside assistance plans. Our clients can attest to that.
There are plenty of people out there who are ready and willing to save both TIME AND MONEY by calling a towing company directly.
Time is a MAJOR factor for our clients’ customers: There have been countless times when a tow truck operator has responded to a motor club member who had to wait more than 45 minutes for them to arrive, through no fault of their own. For the most part, motor clubs and insurance companies only pay lip-service to their customers’ time concerns. They care less about the time the person must wait and more about their bottom line. That’s why they seek out anyone with a pulse, a tow truck, and the lowest rates in town, or out of town, to serve their “Valued Members.”
And, more and more often people understand that paying into an insurance company for a roadside assistance service that they may never use is wasteful. We’ve seen this play out time and time again. When the AAA member presents a membership card from the late 1960’s or early 1970’s and says, “This is the first time I’ve ever used this card.” Isn’t that ridiculous? They paid between $89 to $189 dollars every year for more than 30 or 40 years and when they finally need to use it, it was for a towing service that would have only cost them $95. $89 x 30years = $2670 or Pay as you go $95. Which seems like the smarter way to go?
Also, rather than allowing a huge corporate machine to choose who is going to provide towing service to them, at one of the most vulnerable times in their lives, many people are choosing to use their smartphones and make their own decisions.
Of course, motor clubs are never going to go away, there’s always going to be a certain segment of the market who will put up with this type of DMV treatment.
If you would like to talk about how we can help you get more cash calls and decrease your dependency on the motor clubs let me know. Thanks
This is a great resource. We have been looking to get some good references to communicate with customers to get feedback on recent projects.