From Reviews to Repeat Business: How to Build a Customer Review Strategy

April 26, 2023
Contributor: Shubham Gupta

Increase revenue and customer loyalty with a powerful customer review strategy.

Customer reviews hold the power to make or break your brand. According to our Global Software Buying Trends 2023 report, 86% of business leaders look for verified reviews during the software evaluation process. Therefore, for software providers, it’s not only crucial to collect reviews, but also to manage them with a solid customer review strategy. 

Getting more authentic reviews and engaging with reviewers are two of the prime challenges most software marketers or demand generation leaders face. Create a successful customer review strategy for your software with these tips in mind.

What is a customer review strategy?

A customer review strategy is a plan of action designed to encourage, collect, and leverage customer feedback for the purpose of improving a business' products, services, and overall customer experience. The strategy typically involves identifying review platforms, soliciting feedback, responding to reviews, and using insights gained from customer reviews to make data-driven business decisions.

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How to create an effective customer review strategy

Creating an effective online review strategy not only means understanding what makes up a great review but also leveraging customer feedback to implement meaningful changes. Here's how you can create a successful customer review strategy and start seeing results:

1. Set customer review goals

To create an effective customer review strategy, start by setting clear goals. Identify the key priorities for your business, such as boosting sales or reducing customer churn. This will allow you to focus your efforts and measure your progress over time.

The following questions can help you set customer review goals effectively:

How do you plan on using customer reviews?

Based on your goals, consider how you will use reviews. You can use them to inform product development, improve customer service, or give customers a more comprehensive overview of your offerings. From marketing to product development, you can use reviews in many ways, making it important to map out a plan for how and when you’ll use them.

How many customer reviews should you aim to obtain?

Set a realistic target number for reviews to track your progress. This can vary depending on your goals and the type of products or services you offer, but aim for a minimum number that will provide meaningful results and feedback. 

We found that software providers listed on Gartner Digital Markets experience an average 127% boost in profile traffic when they have collected ten or more customer reviews. Having at least ten up-to-date reviews is advisable to keep a steady flow of visits to your profile page.

Where will you use customer reviews?

Determine where you’ll use customer reviews and how prominently they'll be featured. Decide based on your goals and consider where your customers will likely encounter reviews. For example, see if you want to include them in your product descriptions or show them at the checkout page.

2. Create an actionable plan

Now that you know where and why you’re gathering reviews, it's time to create an actionable plan. This will include identifying and segmenting customers most likely to provide feedback, setting up a system for collecting customer reviews, and encouraging customers to submit reviews.

The following questions can help you create an actionable plan:

What online channels would you require to collect reviews?

Popular online channels include social media, app stories, and third-party review sites (such as Capterra, Software Advice, and GetApp). Once you decide which channels to use, create a system for collecting reviews on each one by using custom forms or integrating with automated review solutions.

How will you encourage customers to leave reviews?

You can also reach out via email campaigns or social media to ask customers who have purchased your products or services to leave a review. Encourage customers to leave reviews by rewarding them with discounts, promotional codes, or other incentives. 

You can use our review collection service to gain verified software reviews and ensure that customers are prompted to leave reviews at the right time. To learn more about how it works, read how TeamUp raised 100 new reviews in two months by leveraging this service.

How will you respond to negative reviews?

Thirty-two percent of buyers disqualify or drop a software provider due to negative user reviews*. So it's important to ensure you're responding to negative feedback promptly and effectively. Keep your responses professional, courteous, and timely. Acknowledge any issues raised in a negative review and aim to provide solutions.

For example, you may offer additional support or resources to help the customer better understand your product. You can also leverage our "negative review response templates" to ensure you handle feedback professionally and efficiently.

How will you measure the effectiveness and success of your customer review strategy?

Track reviews, ratings, and comments over time to determine the effectiveness of your review strategy. Look at customer sentiment (positive or negative), analyze topics and themes, and identify any trends in customer behavior

You can also A/B test changes to your review strategy and measure results. Finally, regularly assess customer feedback data to identify any areas of improvement.

3. Gather your resources to execute

Ensure that you have everything needed to execute your customer review strategy. This includes finding the right platform and tools for collecting reviews, setting up systems for responding to reviews, and allocating resources for gathering customer feedback.

The following questions can help you gather the right resources to execute your review strategy:

How will you identify and assign roles?

Depending on your business size, you must identify the key stakeholders responsible for the customer review process, such as the customer service representative, marketing manager, product manager, etc. Identify the roles that need to be filled and assign team members accordingly.

How will you develop guidelines?

Develop guidelines for customers who submit reviews, such as acceptable language, appropriate topics, and review policies. These guidelines should be shared with your team to ensure that reviews are handled consistently and professionally. Plus, customers need to know the expectations about their reviews.

How will you collect feedback throughout the customer lifecycle?

Customer feedback should be collected across all touchpoints in the customer journey. Leverage surveys, quizzes, and polls to gain insights into your customer’s needs, wants, and expectations. Be sure to ask relevant questions about your customer journeys, such as product features, customer service experience, and overall customer satisfaction.

Percentage of consumers using reviews at each stage of the buying process

Gain insights into customer feedback to make informed decisions

Creating a customer review strategy is more than just asking for reviews. It’s about understanding your customers, engaging with them consistently, and leveraging insights to improve their experience. 

Use the right channels, collect feedback throughout the customer lifecycle, and measure the results of your strategy to ensure that it’s effective. Once you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful customer review strategy!

Shubham Gupta 

Shubham Gupta is a Content Writer at Gartner Digital Markets who ideates and creates purpose-driven content to help modern technology businesses achieve their goals. Outside of work, he enjoys reading thriller novels and Urdu poetry, as well as spending time with his dog. Connect with Shubham on LinkedIn.


Survey Methodology*

Gartner Digital Markets’ 2023 SMB Software Buying Trends Survey 

The 2023 SMB Software Buying Trends Survey was conducted online from September 2022 to October 2022 among 1,513 respondents from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and France and among organizations with revenue less than $1 billion and 2-999 employee size across the financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, IT, marketing and retail industries. 

Respondents were screened for their involvement in software purchasing decisions, and those who were a leader/member of the group or had significant influence qualified for the study. The survey was developed collaboratively by a team of Gartner analysts and was reviewed, tested and administered by Gartner’s Research Data and Analytics (RDA) team.

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