How to Make it Easy for Your Customer to Leave an Online Review

Monday , 19, November 2018 Leave a comment

At North Valley Optometry we tried a couple of different ways in the process for asking for online reviews.

Simply Ask  My wife is the business owner and optometrist.  She would primarily be the one to ask the patient if they would be open to giving them an online review.   She would either weave it into the conversation if it was appropriate some time during the eye exam or one of the girls on her staff would ask the patient for an online review if the patient was there to pick up glasses and didn’t necessarily have an appointment with the doctor.

Send Follow Up Email with Links to Review Sites  At first the office would just ask the patient if they would be open to giving them an online review and than hand them a piece of paper with a thank you note for leaving an online review.   The note also had  links to their Yahoo Local,  Google Local , Yelp and City Search business listings so the customer would not have to search for their business listing.  What were the results?  After a couple of weeks, asking and handing out 30-40 notes zero customers wrote a review.

Less is More – Ask for a Review on Yahoo and/or Google   We decided the paper process just wasn’t very effective.  A better way to go is to send a follow up email after asking the patient if they would be open to writing a review.  The email has a short note and we offered links to only 2 local directories.  Why do ask that we only ask to leave a review on 1 of 2 directories opposed to giving the customer more choices like City Search, Yelp, Insider Pages, Yellowpages, etc…?  Wouldn’t more choices make it easier for the customer?

I’m not a subject matter expert in the world of psychology, but I have read a number of books and articles noting that too many choices lead a person to take no action.  Recently the NY TImes had an article called Too Many Choices: A Problem That Can Paralyze.    There are studies by economists that have shown that 401K participation actually drops if there are too many options for the employee to choose from.  Following the thread on professor Sheena Iyengar’s work I found this article Choices: why 4 is better than 5, 3 is better than 4, and 2 is better than 3.   That enough social proof for me to confirm my internal gut feel or at least make me feel better that less is more in this case.

If I think about it from a customer view point it would seem to me to be a bit overwhelming if I received a follow up email asking for me to write a review on 1 of the following 10 directories.  In just scanning through it I might think this is more of a hassle than it’s worth, “delete”.   The question “is it going to be a hassle?” is also one of the reasons why we chose to just ask for a review on Yahoo and/or Google.  I’m guesstimating 70% or more of the patients we ask either have Yahoo or Gmail account.  So that makes it easy for them to write a review after they click on the link and sign in.  If we asked them to write a review on one of the other directories most likely they would have to create a new account and than write a review.   In my mind that would be a hassle and do I really want to create a new account just to get more spam?

Reviews Show Up Right Under the Yahoo & Google Local Listings

The third reason why we chose just to ask for reviews on Google and Yahoo is those are the 2 search engines that drive most of the traffic to our site. If our customers and potential new customers are finding us on Google and Yahoo wouldn’t it make sense to have the reviews showing up right on those business listintgs?  On the left image you can see how North Valley Optometry really stands out from it’s competitors in the Google 7 Pack with 48 reviews.

Obviously it would be great to have multiple reviews on multiple sites, but my thoughts are right now is to just make it as easy as the possible for the customer to take action and write a review with the least amount of hassle.

We are always looking for best practices.  If you have a best practice or story you want to share in online reviews please contact us at