How to Collect User Reviews and Boost Software Sales: 5 Best Practices to Follow

February 23, 2023
Contributor: Shubham Gupta

Product reviews are the currency of social proof, but sourcing credible ones is a strategic obstacle to overcome.

Reviews are online gold. If a potential buyer searches for your software business and finds a stellar review, they could become a lead and customer without any additional cost on your side. 

41% of business leaders say that customer reviews and ratings play a critical role in selecting software, according to Gartner Digital Markets’ 2023 Global Software Buying Trends Survey[*]. User reviews are referenced across the entire buying journey, providing social proof for prospects when needed. 

The struggle for marketers is driving high-quality reviews, and doing it at scale. 

To support your review acquisition strategy, see below for five methods to encourage customers to drive honest reviews. In doing so, you’ll be able to learn more about your product, claim user-generated marketing collateral, and increase your sales through software review and rating platforms.

Ways to collect user reviews and boost software sales

1. Optimize your presence on review platforms

When asked about the preferred channels to obtain information about a software solution, 86% of respondents in Gartner Digital Markets’ 2023 Software Buying Trends Survey[*] say that verified reviews are critical for software evaluation.

Make sure your products have dedicated pages on review sites such as Capterra, Get App and Software Advice. This will encourage consumers to post their opinions on your product or service as well as show prospects what others are saying about your offerings.

Also, take the time to optimize the page content on these online review sites. Include relevant, attention-grabbing headlines, compelling descriptions, feature highlights and more to make sure your product gets the attention it deserves.

3 steps to create effective product profile and landing pages

2. Ask customers to become brand advocates

Develop an outreach program that targets customers who have a strong affinity for your brand and are willing to become long-term customers. You can find them by analyzing customer data, social media posts and feedback surveys. 

Once you identify them, ask them to leave a review of your software products or services. This will not only help you build customer relationships, but it'll also give you access to honest feedback that could contain valuable insights into what customers think about your software. Try these 7 review request templates for inspiration.

You could also reach out to industry influencers and invite them to try out your product and provide an honest review. Not only will this provide you with invaluable feedback, but it'll also help spread the word about your software and create a positive perception of your brand.

Top ranked influencers on buy behavior when exploring product or services

Proven tips for reaching out to customers and industry influencers:

  • Give customers an exclusive experience or discount on your product/service.
  • Provide personalized customer service and support.
  • Create custom content that resonates with their interests.
  • Keep in touch through email and social media.

3. Request reviews based on buying journey

Send a request at key points in their buyer’s journey when they might be ready to leave a positive online review. For instance, you could send a request shortly after they have used your software, or immediately after the purchase so that they can try your product out. This will help you determine whether they have had a positive experience.

Also, consider sending review requests to customers who have previously provided you with positive feedback on social media or email campaigns. They are more likely to provide an honest assessment of your product or service, which will help you to get more reliable feedback.

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

Proven tips for identifying the best time to request reviews:

  • Observe customer behavior and look for opportunities to send a request.
  • Utilize automation tools to schedule review requests at the right time.
  • Personalize the requests according to the customer’s journey.
  • Test different methods of review solicitation and measure results.

4. Promptly respond to customer reviews

Responding to customer reviews is as important as collecting feedback. Doing so shows potential consumers that you take feedback seriously, which can positively influence buying decisions. It also helps build trust with them and existing customers..

Respond to reviews, whatever their nature. If it is a positive customer review, thank them for taking the time to provide feedback and highlight the aspects they have identified as being good. If it’s a negative review, apologize for their experience and thank them for bringing the issue to your attention. Follow up on any issues mentioned in a bad review and offer a solution if possible.

Proven tips for quickly and effectively winning customer trust:

  • Use a friendly tone of voice to appear more approachable.
  • Show customers that their reviews are valued and taken seriously.
  • Follow up with customers and offer extra help if needed.
  • Thank customers for their feedback and time to provide it.

5. Offer incentives for customer feedback

Finally, offer incentives such as discount coupons if people are willing to provide additional honest feedback. Offering an incentive can effectively encourage customers to leave honest reviews, providing them with something in return for their time and effort.

Additionally, consider hosting giveaways and contests. People enjoy participating in them, allowing them to win something for free or at a discounted price. This can effectively increase engagement with your brand and generate more feedback on your products/services. Leveraging our Review Collection Service can promote and manage such campaigns. 

Proven tips for incentivizing customers to give feedback:

  • Make sure the incentive is attractive and unique.
  • Ensure that the incentive is in line with your company values and goals.
  • Make sure that the incentives do not encourage dishonest reviews.
  • Use automation tools to send automated emails with discount codes or gift cards.
  • Create a simple and clear call-to-action for customers to follow.

Establish trust with true customer reviews and increase sales

When users see real feedback about your product or service, they can feel more confident about buying it. Follow the aforementioned best practices to make more informed decisions based on real-life experiences your customers share rather than relying solely on guesswork or intuition. 

Remember that your customer reviews are the key to success—treat them with respect and always thank customers for their time and effort. With the right strategies in place, you can provide a better customer experience and position yourself as an industry leader in the long run.

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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. 

Disclaimer: Results do not represent global findings or the market as a whole, but reflect the sentiment of the respondents and companies surveyed.

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