I’m not sold on bugging people for reviews. Something about it just feels very unreal plus the way business owners hound me for them sometimes is just tiring. When I cave in, it turns out to be something I just do so you can let me be. That’s the problem I have with it; it usually comes off as pretty unauthentic and people can tell.

Well, that was what I thought until I had to get them myself. I was proud when I started writing this piece, some weeks back, but after struggling to get reviews from a pretty successful workshop – let’s just say I am now humble.

What we think; if people love a product, they will recommend it, whether or not you beg them. What happens in reality is that people are busy, have tons of messages hitting them every second and really do not have all the time in the world to give you feedback without being reminded. It will happen naturally with some people, but with the rest, you’ve got to creatively prompt them. You have to tread carefully though because if you push them too hard, they get irritated (you don’t want that). If you don’t push them at all, they don’t consider it important. So what do you do? How do you get reviews? I have a few tips for you.

Ask tough, clear and specific questions: What do you like about the shoes? What do you dislike about the shoes? Did it come in with no damages? Was the order process stressful? Will you tell people about how much you loved the product? Ask the painful questions and resist the urge to defend yourself; you’re not in court. Grow a thick skin too though, those things can hurt.

Call your customers: Sometimes you just need to pick up the phone and call the customer. Tell them you want to ask about the product and ask for their consent to use their feedback for marketing. Let them get comfortable. Ask different unrelated questions, related questions and then talk about the order. Capture their excitement, especially the oohs and ahs.

Schedule quarterly or yearly focus groups: Use these to get in-depth information on how your business is doing.. They can also double as product tasting events. I’m a genius in organising these; I have done so many and the results are always jaw-dropping.

What to do when you get customer reviews?

Share the good and the not so good: This may be an unpopular opinion but reviews are a lot more authentic when we see both. Maybe not the ones where you’ve really pissed of the customer though; might be safe to leave those ones out for everyone’s good.

Get creative in your use of reviews: Please not every time ‘blanking out whatsapp and making screenshots of names’. Sometimes take the time to turn your reviews into a work of art. How about a mini cookbook or user generated recipes? There you go, you are welcome.

Use every channel you’ve got: I have gotten some great reviews using Instagram stickers and then turned them into a video. Sometimes I relied on scribbling furiously during a workshop or painfully going through the replay of a conference to get the awesome moments.

One thing is certain though, the struggle is REAL ! But, you can do it.

These are just a few ideas that I’m hoping will help you get creative on the different ways you can get reviews from customers. You need them. Testimonials are important and when they are creative, they are powerful. What are you going to try out today?