4 Things Stopping Customers From Leaving Reviews

online reputation managementYou know you did an exceptional job, exceeded your customer expectations, but they still have not left a review.

You went above and beyond, but still – nothing.

Frustrating, we know.

They talk praise when you get them on the phone. But why won’t they just leave a review for all to see?


Certain barriers keep good customers from writing raving reviews.

Sometimes happy customers feel compelled to leave a review but it’s just usually those who are the “reviewing type” – the Yelpers or the Google Local Guides. You’ll find that unhappy customers are the ones who like to leave reviews the most.

These days both of those customers are in the minority.

The majority of customers just don’t leave reviews. No feedback is offered. While there may be a wide variety of reasons why customers are not willing to leave a review, there are a couple of common barriers.

So, what is to be done? How do you get customers to leave reviews so others can see how good of a company you are?

Really, it’s simple.

Get rid of those barriers!

The first step in the right direction is: Identify the Barriers

Barrier 1 – You May Have Secretly Unhappy Customers

Many customers don’t feel comfortable speaking openly to companies who have done work for them causing them to be “secretly” unhappy.

Many customers won’t tell you why they’re unhappy.

Don’t believe us?

We’ve got statistics! Help Scout compiled a list of 75 customer service stats and quotes – containing valuable information about why customers won’t leave reviews. Here are some bullet points:

  • For every one customer who left a bad review or complained, 26 others stayed silent.
  • Only 4% of dissatisfied customers left the company know.
  • Fix the problem the customer is complaining about and they are 70% more likely to work with you again.
  • More than 90% of unhappy customers are not likely to return to your company.

The real reason customers won’t tell companies the truth? The social norm is to be “nice”. When you tell the truth, feelings often get hurt and unpleasant consequences arise.

And when it doesn’t?

Often times bad news and constructive criticism feel bad, especially if a customer were to feel petty or tiny. Heck, even giving good news might cause a headache when the person receiving the news reacts badly.

Most customers don’t feel like it’s worth it.

These customers would rather keep their thoughts and feedback to themselves.

How does this get fixed?

Safety. Make your customers feel safe and appreciated. Of course, that sounds easy but it can often be a bit difficult to apply. Here are a few ways you can create a safe environment for your customers:

  1. Welcome the bad reviews! It may not sound great, but a negative review is a great opportunity for your company. This will let you show prospective customers that you are a safe company to work with. If something goes wrong, you tell your customers that you will take care of them regardless of the outcome. Thank your customers for every review, even the bad ones, take into consideration what they said, and show that you’ve changed your ways.
  2. Ask for all kinds of feedback- good, bad, and ugly. Let your customers know that it is okay for them to hold you, your company, and your employees accountable. Then, keep your promise. It’s true that the newer customers will test you and attempt to verify your words. Handle this situation well and you will earn their trust and their review. Mess it up and they’ll just slip away.
  3. Improve staff morale. Use incentives to keep up your staff’s morales. Teach them how to react to negative feedback with training and resources. The four big negative behaviors are condescension, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Once your staff becomes kind and helpful, the chances for reviews grow.
  4. Promote clarity, not persuasion. Be ready for concerns and fears and learn how to defuse the moment. Use policies to make sure that customers feel safe and secure.

Barrier 2 – Customers Don’t Remember

Yeah, you did a great job but the customer doesn’t remember it. If you did a bad job, that same customer would never forget it.

Humans tend to have a negative bias.

We, as people, are hunting for problems. Disasters, fears, and frustrations give people life. Research has shown that people are far more into negative events than positive ones.

Negative biases help keep us safe.

This is an important survival mechanism that people depend on from the time they were born.

  • Problems usually create stress and anxiety.
  • Solutions relieve the stress and anxiety.

When you perform a job and create a solution for the customer, you give them relief. This is a good thing, but also a bad thing.

Relief tends to induce forgetfulness.

The more and more time that passes between your job and you asking for a review, the less they will remember that job or even your company.

How is this fixed?

Simply ask the customer for feedback right away.

This might seem obvious.

There’s a better way actually! When you sign your customers up, tell them you’re going to check in to see how everything went. That way they’ll be ready to review your services when the time comes.

Automated tools help this process. It’s a set it and forget it type thing. These services will automate review requests so you don’t have to remember a thing. Conversion rates go way up when the email ask is also combined with a face to face ask.

Save everything – live chats, phone calls, and emails – get permission, of course.

Barrier 3 – It’s Too Hard to Write a Review

Good job! A customer is willing to share a positive experience they had with your company. They start looking for your company online and land on Yelp but what they type in doesn’t find the right company.

They spend around 15 minutes search and give up.

It’s too time-consuming… too whatever.

Customers generally write reviews for a couple of different reasons.

But they stop caring when it starts becoming too tough to actually sit down and write the review – whether it’s on your website or an external site.

They lose interest and abandon the review. Just like that – the feedback is gone.

The thing is… it’s not just about the technical difficulties. It’s about direction. Customers need to know where to write or share their review.

How is this fixed?

Make things extremely simple for them. Make it easy for them to write the review them point them in the direction where to post it.

Your busy and can’t contact each customer one by one. Automation is key. With reputation management software you can easily ask for reviews and point customers to places they can leave them.

Barrier 4 – Customers Don’t Know What to Write

This is possibly the biggest barrier. Many customers aren’t sure what to write when it comes to leaving a review. Instead of struggling, they just don’t write anything at all.

This is easy to change.

Guide your customers by giving them the right questions to answer. Why is this important?

A professor at Harvard Business school had this to say about questions:

“Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question – you have to want to know – in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.”

Customers can’t tell you about their experiences unless you are willing to learn.

Ask your customers the right questions and the best reviews will be created.

What questions should you ask?

Start with some basics:

  1. What would have prevented you from using our services?
  2. What outcome came about from you using our services?
  3. What did you like best about our service?
  4. What would be some other benefits of using our services?
  5. Would you recommend our company to others? Why?

Make things easy and barriers come crashing down.

Barriers that remain standing make your company struggle to gain feedback. Discussing issues with your customers will help your company grow and gain more business.

It’s important to realize that happy customers want to leave a positive review. Remove those barriers. Make it easy for your customers and you’ll see that their reviews will go above and beyond, just like your services.