Think about the last time you shopped online. Did you browse reviews from other customers before making a purchase?

If so, you’re not alone. According to a widely-cited study by BrightLocal, 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

A more recent survey by Clutch found that approximately 1 in 5 online shoppers view online reviews as one of the most important factors that help them to make a decision whether or not to make a purchase.

All of this data tells us that reviews matter tremendously. So, how can your business collect more customer reviews?

Nearly a quarter (23%) of customers who write reviews are prompted by email outreach. To collect more reviews from customers, Dan Scalco, CEO of Digitalux, recommends 3 steps that can lead to more authentic outreach.

Time Your Emails Thoughtfully

It seems simple, but before you ask customers to write you a review, make sure that they have had time to receive and use the item they purchased.

Let’s say you run a business selling baseball caps. You know that most orders take about a week to arrive, so you schedule your emails to arrive eight days after a customer places an order. Usually, that timing works out just fine.

But what if there’s a snowstorm that prevents the hat from being shipped out on time? Or what if holidays alter the usual delivery schedule?

Instead of guessing when a package might arrive, calculate email outreach based on the actual date an item is delivered. This avoids the awkwardness of an email arriving ahead of a purchase, no matter what mishaps a package might encounter on the road.

Along similar lines, you’ll also have a better chance of engaging customers if you give them a chance to use their purchase before reaching out.

Build in a few extra days to give your customer a chance to don that baseball cap and take the dog for a walk, go on a weekend hike, or coach a sports practice. Feedback reflecting these experiences will be all the more valuable.

Prioritize Customer Service

No one likes it when a call to action feels too much like a demand. It’s important to remember that the time when you’re requesting a review will come shortly after a customer has already spent money with your business.

Instead of initiating contact after a purchase by asking your customers to do something for you, start by seeing if you can do anything for them.

Use your first email to check in and make sure your customers are happy with the item they received.

“If any issues arise within that initial use of the product, you can usually remedy the situation and put a stop to any issues that might put a damper on positive reviews,” says Scalco.

By initiating contact with an offer to help your customers, you’ll make a positive impression and drive home the message that you care about their satisfaction above anything else.

Request Reviews From Happy Customers

Your first email will also give you a good idea of which customers are most satisfied. The next step is following up with these customers to request a review of their experience.

One third (33%) of customers who write reviews do so because they are especially satisfied with the item they purchased. By targeting your most satisfied customers, you’ll increase your chances of successfully converting them into reviewers–and score some positive reviews along the way.

As for customers who are dissatisfied, your initial offer to correct potential problems with a product may win them over. Once they receive a corrected product, you will have hopefully built a deeper relationship and give your customer a deeper look at your commitment to customer service.

Have Confidence in Your Product

The formula for gathering reviews through email outreach is simple: Put your customers first, and have faith in what you are selling.

Happy customers will be more willing to write reviews. If you are confident in those relationships, and are selling an outstanding product, you can ask for reviews without having to beg for them.

“If you believe in your product and your company, there shouldn’t be an issue,” says Scalco.

With confidence and empathy for your customers, plus the right email outreach strategy, you’ll see reviews flowing in before long.

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