Post-purchase review mistakes

22 October, 2017

“84 per cent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.” Local Consumer Review.

Customers look at reviews before making the decision whether to buy with your brand.Product reviews, brand awareness, trust, loyalty, reliability, returns. These are all factors customers make before deciding to purchase.

“Social proof is effective at winning over window shoppers, and converting them into paying customers,” comments Josue Ledesma in his article three personalised email campaigns that leverage social proof to increase conversions.

Reduce customer uncertainties by including social proof on your website.

How can you get social proof?

Through post-purchase reviews. Who better to ask about their experience with your ecommerce brand and its products than your customers themselves?

The post-purchase review email helps identify customer satisfaction with your brand.

Then why are so many ecommerce stores not utilising post-purchase emails to their advantage?

Helpful, well-crafted emails take time to create. There are endless types of review emails. Surveys, social ratings, user-generated content. Where do you start?

If you’re new to the concept of post-purchase emails, read a previous article I wrote about how your brand can create and optimise a post-purchase review email.

Otherwise, you’re reading this article because you want to add a helpful element to your email strategy or because you want to save yourself from a review email disaster.

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Post purchase review email mistake one: Wrong Timing


Too many ecommerce businesses shoot out a review email too quickly.

This is a giant issue.

Let’s say a customer bought a washing machine. How long until they use the washing machine? Maybe they’ll use it on the installation day. Or maybe they won’t use the machine for a few days.

It’s important to consider the type of product purchased. If you shoot out a review email too fast, then your customer hasn’t likely experienced using the product. If you send the email too late, then they’ve likely forgotten about the initial excitement.

When to send your review emails?

It’s crucial to get the right timing. Perishable goods, soft and hard goods; they all have different optimal times.

In my previous review email article, I explained the best times to send a review email. Here’s the quick version based on Power Reviews optimal times to send review emails after delivering the product.

Seasonal goods: Seven days.

Perishable goods: 14 days.

Soft goods: 14 days.

Hard goods: 21 days.

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Post purchase review email mistake two: Focusing on making another sale


Having an ‘it’s-all-about-my-brand’ mindset can negatively reflect the helpful aspect of your review email. Stephen reflects on the importance of focusing on helping instead of selling in his article about the benefits of having a unique review request email.

In his article, Stephen says the majority of follow-up review emails portray the message:

“Hey, customer… here’s what you can do for me. Leave a review so I can sell more stuff.”

Why should your customer leave a review if it’s only going to benefit your ecommerce store? Shift the message away from sales and focus on being helpful.

Show customers you want to improve their future purchasing experience

Why should your customer leave a review if it’s only going to benefit your ecommerce store?

‘Your opinion will help others decide if this product is great for them’. Or, ‘We care about your opinion, help us help you’. These types of messages turn the focus off the brand and improve customers willingness to send a review.

A case study-based article by Betaout also agrees with focusing on helpfulness. Begin by thanking the customer for purchasing and being a fantastic customer. Too often, we focus on ‘getting’ instead of ‘giving’.

Most databases capture a person’s name when they purchase a product, so you have no excuse not to personalise the email.

‘Thanks Jess’ or ‘Hi Jess, just wanted to give you a big hug for purchasing with us’, are effective ways to focus on the customer.

Post purchase review email mistake three: Too many questions


Have you ever started filling out a ‘quick’ survey which ends up taking longer than expected?

Did you finish the review? Or did you get too impatient and move on? Many ecommerce brands want to get every detail out of their customers.

Yes, I get it. The more detailed the survey, the more primary research your brand gains. But if you include too many questions, your customers will bounce off of the survey. Keep them short and sweet.

To get a further analysis of this issue, I caught up with email marketing consultant Jordie van Rijn to discuss his thoughts on review emails.

“A mistake many marketers make is to over explain. In my experience with reviews, emphasising altruistic reasons has never seemed to work as well as other motivations.”  

How to keep your review emails short

I asked Jordie for his advice on what he would do.

“Email marketing works if you take every conversion step-by-step.

Ask for a ‘micro-yes’: a one click review with smileys or a five-star scale. On the landing page, you go from there to ask for the written, more elaborate review.

Keep the question(s) short, secific and straightforward.”

Taking Jordie’s advice, I recommend three questions per post-purchase product review email.

Think of surveys like a triangle hierarchy. Begin with an easy, short question to ease customers into the survey. Then include a mid-range but specific question and end with an open-ended question.

Question one: Start off with an easy multiple choice question. Maybe even a star rating.

Question two:  This might be multiple choice asking about a feature of the product or its ease of usage.

Question three: The last question can be open-ended. You can ask about the customer’s experience using the product. Or ask for a comment about your buyer’s experience with your brand.

You can choose whether to perform the entire survey in the email itself or include a call-to-action button to take the user to an external survey.

Post purchase review email mistake four: Not resolving issues


Your customer spent time writing the product review. Use this opportunity to keep the conversation going. If they wrote a positive product review, thank them for their effort.

Received a negative review? Then it’s more important than ever to send a follow-up email. Make sure your customer knows you’re taking their review seriously and want to improve their next experience.

Give customers the power to make a difference. If they know your brand will take their opinions into consideration then they will be open to giving an honest opinion of their experience using the product.

Send a follow-up, thank you email

Your customer will usually be happy to fill out a review if you helped resolve an issue. If something went wrong in the delivery process and the customer is happy with the way you resolved the issue, ask them to reflect on the experience.

Likewise, a customer will always want to give their opinion if they become frustrated with the difficulty of using a product.

Give customers the chance to express how they feel about their experience. Follow up on their answer, especially if their review involves an issue.

Customers will be more loyal to your brand when they see you’re taking action and following up on problems.  

Post-purchase review emails will improve customer loyalty

Everyone loves reviews.

Especially if the product is new, expensive or different to a customer’s previous purchases.

Post-purchase feedback aims to improve other customer’s buying experience. Buyers want to know others’ experiences using the product.

When a customer purchases a product, requesting feedback is a way to keep the buyer engaged with your brand. Customers love talking about themselves.

Don’t be afraid of negative feedback. Use reviews as constructive criticism.

You have the power to improve the customer/brand relationship. Use reviews to create participative, loyal customers.

By Jessica Goerke
Since 2018 Jess has smashed client goals as a PPC specialist with her signature holistic approach to digital marketing. When she’s not driving awesome results for her clients, you’ll usually find her in the gym.
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