When should you ask for a Google review?
The timing of when you ask for a Google review can have a big impact on your conversion rates.
To know exactly when you should ask for a Google review, consider 2 key factors:
- The stage of the customer buying cycle
- The day of week and time of day
You’ll significantly improve the number of Google reviews you get for every 100 review requests you make if you ask for a Google review at exactly the right point in the customer journey and at the right time on the right day.
Here are important tips for when you should ask for a Google review:
- Don’t ask too slowly, or you may get no review at all
- Don’t ask too quickly, or you may get a lower star rating
- Verify satisfaction, then ask for a review (but don’t use review gating)
- Don’t ask while the customer is still on site
- Pick the right day of week (especially weekends vs. weekdays)
- Pick the right time of day (especially work hours vs. personal hours)
Don’t ask too slowly, or you may get no review at all
Ask for a Google review as soon as possible after you conclude business with a customer.
Don’t wait any longer than 1 week after concluding business to ask for a review. We recommend sending out review requests to recent customers as part of a daily or weekly routine.
The longer you wait, the more the customer’s memories will fade and emotions will subside.
You want to catch the customer at the peak of their emotional feelings of satisfaction.
And you want all the details to be fresh on their minds as they write the review. When future prospects read a customer review, they gain more confidence in your business if the review has lots of tangible details. So make sure your customers still have those details fresh on their minds when you ask for a review.
So set up a daily or weekly routine to ask for Google reviews to make sure you never ask more than 1 week after concluding business with a customer.
Don’t ask too quickly, or you may get a lower star rating
The ideal time to ask for a Google review is “immediately after concluding business.”
But it’s not always obvious when you have “concluded” business.
An accountant would consider business “concluded” when you delivered your product or service, charged the customer, and the customer paid in full.
But marketing is not accounting.
What if the customer is not fully satisfied?
Wouldn’t you want to fix any problems before asking for a review?
Before assuming that business is “concluded,” first verify customer satisfaction. Business is only “concluded” after you’ve done everything you can to maximize customer satisfaction.
So don’t skip the most important step: Verify customer satisfaction.
Verify satisfaction, then ask for a review (but don’t use review gating)
You’ll get lower star ratings if you take a “ready, fire, aim” approach to asking for reviews.
That’s because the most important step in asking for reviews comes right before you ask for the review itself: Verify customer satisfaction.
First, after you think you’ve concluded business with a customer, ask them how satisfied they are.
Don’t ask a yes or no question. And don’t ask how satisfied they are on a 10 point scale.
Ask specifically how they would rate their experience and your business on a 5-star scale. This way, you know that the rating they give is representative of how they would rate you on Google.
If they give you a rating that’s lower than your current average Google rating, then ask for feedback. Specifically, ask what you could have done to make their experience better.
Then do whatever you can to fix the problems they raise in their feedback.
Once you’ve done everything you can for the customer, then ask for a Google review.
IMPORTANT: Google’s policy prohibits “review gating” which is the practice of selectively asking only happy customers for reviews and avoiding asking unhappy customers.
To comply with Google’s review gating policies, ask every customer for a review regardless of how satisfied they are. Just make sure you first do everything you can to satisfy them before asking for the review.
If you use our Google review management tool already, you can make sure you comply with Google’s review gating policies by going to Dashboard, then Customize feedback, then selecting the Review Request option and Save button. This will make sure that all customers get asked for a review, even if the system asks for feedback first.
Alternatively, you may want to give yourself time to fix the customer’s problems before asking for a review. If that’s the case, then select the No Review Request option instead. The system will only ask customers for a review if they give a high enough star rating that you don’t want the system to ask for feedback. If you use this setting, make sure you follow up manually after you’ve fixed the customer’s problem to ask for the review. Otherwise you’ll be out of compliance with Google’s policies.
Don’t ask while the customer is still on site
It’s true that you’ll get a much higher conversion rate if you ask for a Google review while the customer is still on site.
But there are two important reasons why you shouldn’t do this: You can’t verify customer satisfaction, and Google just might delete your reviews as fraudulent.
You can’t verify satisfaction
Customers won’t be as honest with you when you try to verify their satisfaction. Many people will just say they’re satisfied to be nice, not wanting to offend the person in front of them.
And if a customer tells you they’re fully satisfied, but they’re not, and then you ask for the review, they’re more likely to give a lower rating on Google than you expected.
Google might remove your reviews
Google has been known to delete reviews entirely when lots of reviews are written at the same location from the same IP address.
That’s because Google’s algorithms suspect these reviews are being manipulated by the business.
So don’t use your own computer or tablet as a “kiosk” to ask on-site customers for reviews.
If you must ask for Google reviews at your place of business, at least try to get your customers to use their own smartphones.
Otherwise you may suddenly wake up one morning to find the majority of your reviews have been deleted by Google.
Instead of asking for reviews on-site, ask through email or SMS text message, based on whichever contact method each customer prefers. You won’t get as high a conversion rate as asking on-site. But you’ll be able to verify customer satisfaction accurately, making sure you maximize your star rating. And you won’t be at risk of suddenly losing all your hard-earned reviews one day.
Pick the right day of week (especially weekends vs. weekdays)
Every business is different, and the best day of week is not the same for every business. So you’ll need to do a little testing to find out.
But before you start testing, you probably already know whether you should ask for a Google review on weekends vs. weekdays, based on your experience dealing with your customers.
If your customers normally communicate with you during weekdays, then always ask on weekdays. Or if they normally communicate on weekends, then always ask on weekends.
Once you’ve decided between weekends vs. weekdays, we recommend you test each day of week to find out which one is best.
Start by picking the day of week when you think your customers are most receptive. Then pick a second day of week when you think your customers might also be receptive to review requests.
Once you’ve picked 2 days to test, start sending half of your review requests each week on each of the 2 days.
After you’ve sent a total of 200 review requests (100 on each day of week) compare the two days to find out which worked best. Just find the percentage of review requests that resulted in a customer writing a Google review. The day of week with the highest percentage wins.
You can repeat this process again, comparing the winner with a different day of week each time. This will let you know which day of week is the ideal day for you to send out review requests.
Pick the right time of day (especially work hours vs. personal hours)
The goal is always to catch your customers when they’re not busy.
For businesses who have customers who like to communicate during standard work hours, we’ve generally found that the ideal time is either early weekday mornings (8:00am-9:30am) or early afternoons (1:00pm-2:30pm).
Businesses with customers who communicate after hours on weekdays often get better response rates when they ask for a review after commuting hours (6:00pm-7:30pm).
And businesses with weekend customers often get the best conversion rates in the afternoon or early evening (1:00pm-7:00pm).
Just like the day of week, it’s best to run some tests to find out your best time of day.
First find your best day of week as described above. And make sure you send your review requests out at the same time of day every week. Otherwise, you may get misleading results when you try to find your best day of week.
Once you know which day of week is best for your customers, then start testing time of day.
First, take your best educated guess about which time of day is best. Then pick your second-best guess.
Every week on your best day of week, send half of your review requests at the time you think is best, and the other half at the time you think is second-best.
When you’ve sent 200 review requests in total, compare your conversion rates. The time of day with the highest percentage of reviews wins.
Then repeat again with other times of day until you know for sure which time of day consistently wins.