Don’t ask for reviews too soon
Wait at least ~10 days before reminding customers to leave a review. Immediate review reminders reduced the number of reviews given by 50%.
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We know it, reviews are extremely powerful. For example, in a survey 91% of people say they read at least one review before making a purchase (Bizrate Insights, 2021).
So how do you maximize the chance of getting a review for your product? (Remember, even some negative ones are good for you).
When should you ask customers? Right after they buy, or after a month?
Here’s what scientists found.
Customers are more likely to leave a review if you delay asking for one
Channels: Reviews | Ecommerce | User Experience
For: B2C. Can be tested for B2B
Research date: November 2022
When encouraging customers to leave a review of your product, don’t send a reminder to write the review too early. If they were already planning on leaving one, your reminder will backfire and put them off.
Give them some space to enjoy the product and at least 10 days (varies by product) to leave one of their own initiative.
People are more likely to leave a review if you wait some time before reminding them, compared to asking them immediately or too soon.
In two experiments, with ~8,000 customers of South Korea’s largest travel platform and ~290,000 customers of a major apparel marketplace, researchers sent in-app push notifications asking for a review at different timings (vs no reminder). They found that:
For a request to leave a review after returning from a trip:
1 day reduced the number of reviews by 48%
5 days reduced reviews 43%
9 days increased reviews 6%
13 days increased reviews by 68%
For clothing products:
Asking within the first 40 hours had no impact on the number of reviews
7 days increased reviews 12%
14 days increased reviews 39%
The timing of review reminders does not affect the content, rating, or length of reviews.
The negative effect of too early review reminders is strongest for younger customers.
🧠 Why it works
When we’re reminded to do a task it stimulates our memories of the experience. If we’re given this reminder immediately, the memory is already fresh, so the reminder is less useful.
A reminder to do something can also backfire. We like our freedom of choice, and when we feel that our freedom is being threatened (e.g. by being pushed into giving a review) we have a negative reaction. This is called psychological reactance.
We need time to evaluate our experiences before posting a review and so early exposure to a reminder may result in more reactance as we feel our freedom to decide if and when to post a review is being threatened.
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The research only tested single reminders. It did not experiment with multiple reminders (e.g. one after 1 week, a second after 2 weeks, a third after 1 month).
The study did not track what % of people saw or read the reminders. The more engaging and attention-catching a reminder, the stronger the effect is likely to be - either positive or negative. However, this was not tested.
The experiments were on online purchases. In-person purchases are likely to have different dynamics - due to human interactions while purchasing - and may benefit from earlier reminders.
This research took place in South Korea. Review reminder timings may change in different cultures. For example, very individualistic cultures (e.g. US, Germany) may react even more negatively to being reminded too soon.
🏢 Companies using this
Many companies appear to send review reminders too early. For example, leading travel sites like TripAdvisor and Booking.com send reminders immediately or soon after the end of customers’ trips.
Some companies (e.g. United Airlines), wait several days after a trip before sending a reminder.
Most review collection software providers (e.g. Judge.me, Reviews.io) allow users to decide how long they want to wait before sending a review reminder.
⚡ Steps to implement
You shouldn’t send reminders to your customers before enough time has passed for them to experience the product and leave a review of their own initiative. The timing depends on what you sell:
If you sell common household goods and food (e.g. paper towels, bottled water, canned soup), you can send a reminder relatively early
If you’re selling experiences (e.g. a salon, restaurant, travel agency) give your customers more time to evaluate and process the experience
To find your ideal timing, test your different review reminder timings against a control group of customers that do not get a reminder (and simply leave reviews on their own initiative).
To encourage more reviews, you can give incentives to your customers to leave a review. For example, offer to give a donation to a charity related to your business if they do.
🔍 Study type
Field experiments (with 8,123 customers of South Korea’s largest travel platform and 291,954 customers of a major apparel marketplace).
Ask for Reviews at the Right Time: Evidence from Two Field Experiments. Journal of Marketing (November 2022)
Remember: This is a new scientific discovery. In the future it will probably be better understood and could even be proven wrong (that’s how science works). It may also not be generalizable to your situation. If it’s a risky change, always test it on a small scale before rolling it out widely.
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