The 3 Little Bears Approach To Timing Customer Review Requests Perfectly

They say “timing is everything”. And in many cases, this is very true. In the story of the 3 Little Bears, timing is important even for Goldilocks.

And it also holds true for maximizing the percentage of customers who return to leave a product review on your site…

First things first

Just adding a product review system to your ecommerce store and hoping people will leave reviews is probably not the best plan. If you want reviews, you have to ask for them!

This means setting up a system where you send an email to a customer who has recently purchased asking them to review their purchase. For maximum benefit, the email should provide them with the product name(s), and a link directly to the page where they can write a review. Don’t just link them to your website and expect them to hunt for the product they purchased.

Don’t be afraid

Some merchants fear negative reviews. They hate to think people might not love every product they purchase. Or, the merchant is heavy handed and deletes any negative post. Negative reviews are often a good thing!

Was Goldilocks afraid to try all the things the bears had in their house? (ok, it’s a weak connection, but I promise they’ll get better)

It’s all about the porridge

Just like Goldilocks, you have to time your actions correctly to get the desired result.

It was too hot

“Papa Bear’s porridge was too hot”. Goldilocks tried it too soon, and probably got burned (I’m guessing since my daughter’s 3 little bears book doesn’t go into detail).

When sending an email to a customer asking them to review their purchased products, don’t send it too early. If the customer gets the email asking for a review before they have even received their product, they’ll likely be “hot” under the collar. That email will either be deleted, or cause them to be upset about not yet getting their purchase.

You have to be familiar with how long it takes for your average order to ship. If your review system can tie into your order status system, only send this email X days after an item ships. You want the customer to get the review email shortly after they have received the product, and have had time to use it, try it, etc…

And don’t forget to account for backordered items or canceled items in an order. You do not want to send a review request when they do not have or will never have the product.

But don’t go to the other extreme…

It was too cold

“Mama Bear’s porridge was too cold”. Goldilocks tried it too late, and it must have tasted awful (who likes stone cold porridge?).

If you wait too long to send your review request to the customer, you run the risk of them:

  • Forgetting about even purchasing the product
  • Not connecting to the product any longer
  • Losing the euphoria that you want to capture in their review

Make sure your review email system can be set to send out the request fairly soon after a product is shipped.

It was just right

“Baby Bear’s porridge was just right. Golidlocks ate and ate until it was all gone!”

For you as an online merchant, this means timing the  request perfectly so the customer gets the review email after they have received the product, and has had ample time to use it. But not so much time that it’s no longer fresh in their mind. You want them in the “New car smell” period of time when they are asked to review their purchase.

So what’s the right amount of time to wait? It depends on the type of product you sell. If it’s complicated electronic devices, maybe a few weeks after they receive it. For simpler items such as clothes or household items, a few days to a week after they receive it may be appropriate.

Or, test out a shorter wait period for a few months, then a longer wait period, and see which period of time results in more reviews being placed. Test and analyze is a great way to go for any ecommerce endeavor.

LexiConn’s Product Review Module

If you use the ShopSite ® ecommerce software for your online store, we offer a product review add-on module that can help achieve the goals listed above. The module can tie directly into our order status module, allowing for:

  • Email to be sent X days after an order ships
  • Delete review emails automatically for canceled/deleted orders
  • A simple editor to allow any email to be personalized (beyond the custom templates you can create), or the date to send to be manually changed.

The bottom line?

Be Like a Comedian.

That is, comedians have impeccable timing when it comes to delivering a joke. Imitate this behavior when it comes to delivering your customer review request emails, and you’ll be drowning in reviews on your site.

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  1. Steve G says:

    I love the review module now that it has been tweaked a bit.. We still aren’t seeing a lot of reviews, but we are starting to get them and I doubt we would have if we weren’t actually asking for them..

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