Have You Ever Been Caught Soliciting?

Of course we’re talking about “soliciting reviews” and we’re not quite sure why it has such a bad reputation. We hear it over and over, you should not solicit reviews. And if you do, the big, bad wolf, with a primarily red website will filter your reviews if they suspect solicitation. In fact one such website that doesn’t allow it, only recommends abou70% of reviews left on their site. Yes, you read that correctly 70%. Said differently, 30% of your customers opinions are not getting the attention they deserve. Because some other sites can’t verify a customer’s experience, your business suffers!

Let’s review why other companies don’t recommend solicitation.

      Solicited reviews are biased

      Ratings can be higher than non-solicited reviews

      Creates an unfair advantage for businesses who do not solicit reviews

      Skews the honest experience of a business

The Surefire SureCritic Way

Since the beginning of commerce, a basic tenant of improving your customer’s experience has been to ask them about their experience, whether that be in person, via phone, survey and now review. So, why (simply because it’s in the public domain) should we start filtering reviews for the sole reason that we asked for it?

Here’s how other review models fall short. Filtering out potential solicited reviews means not everyone gets their voice heard. Many times, reviews are displayed based on the user’s activity. If Jane Smith wants to review her favorite local coffee shop to support them, but is not super active reviewing any other business on the platform, her now, non-solicited review falls through the cracks under a category that is not readily displayed. Many review sites do not verify the customer experience so, some customers out there trying to give honest feedback do not get their voices equally heard unless they know to adjust the default review filters.

Some say that soliciting reviews skews the honest experience. But, non-solicited reviews bring in the extreme ends of the spectrum: super happy with their experience, about-to-spontaneously-combust-unhappy with their experience. Which of these two types of non-solicited reviews typically show up on your review page? Soliciting reviews is all about improving the customer experience. Without asking customers for reviews, how would a business understand the little guys in the middle and really learn how to further develop their customer satisfaction model? The reviewers saying, “It was okay, but I would like to see this” or “Normally my experience is good but this time it wasn’t because of this.” The two to four-star review zone is a gold mine of information! The margin where the exceedingly ecstatic and the awfully unhappy ranters are not incorporated. Staying with other review models will not give you the full spectrum or experience and ultimately hold you back from understanding your customers.

Look for Part 2 of this blog series coming up that will cover how to overcome this bad reputation by suitably soliciting reviews and how to boost your consumer feedback.