Reviews: How to Use Past Rental Customers to Get New Ones

Despite the importance of social proof in marketing, many rental businesses still don’t use it to their true potential. Many don’t even make them a priority in their marketing efforts or even...

Despite the importance of social proof in marketing, many rental businesses still don’t use it to their true potential. Many don’t even make them a priority in their marketing efforts or even encourage customers to leave them. However, they are vital to attracting more customers, and research shows they increase conversions.

Reviews are deirable on sites like Google, Tripadvisor and Facebook because they increase your visibility on those platforms. These are places people will often search when they are making a decision about renting something and it’s vital that you have a strong presence. The rating can also provide social proof that you can use within your marketing on your website or social media posts.

In a study conducted in 2019, Zendesk found that 90% of people who make purchases online are influenced by positive reviews. This is a pretty impressive statistic when you consider that a large percentage of rental businesses don’t actively pursue reviews. So, is it time for you to place more focus on reviews?

Let’s take a look at how you can leverage social proof via reviews and examine how you can collect and source reviews that drive more rentals and reduce uncertainty. By the end of this article, you should understand the power of reviews and be equipped with the knowledge you need to use them in your marketing strategies.

Why you need customer reviews

It’s essential to create a foundation by understanding why customer reviews work and how they provide value to your marketing efforts. Reviews are persuasive because they act as social proof for the trustworthiness of a rental business. They work because people are more likely to follow the actions of others. After all, they assume those actions are the right choice.

If you think about any time you’ve made a purchase or booking online, you’ve probably read and watched reviews. You probably did this to make sure it was the best decision for you, right? That’s because you needed authentic feedback to influence your purchasing or renting decision.

Of course, you shouldn’t just accept this as a fact at face value, and there are plenty of studies that show the significant impact reviews have. For example, Brightlocal found that 88% of people trust online reviews from other customers as much as they would a recommendation from someone they have a personal relationship with.

“Positive reviews and carefully targeted social media advertising attracted many more customers.” - Richard, On Yer Bike

How to collect customer reviews

Now you have a better understanding of the value of reviews, it’s time to talk about collecting your own. An essential step in getting customer reviews is simple: just ask. Brightlocal found that customers are very often happy to leave a review on a business if you ask them. For example, 68% of respondents in a customer survey said they would leave a review if asked.

There are two main methods for collecting reviews, so let’s dive in.

1. Send out an email a few days after items are returned

One of the easiest ways to ask customers for a review is simply by sending them an email. This can be done manually if you have the time or automatically with an email automation tool. The best time to send these emails is 5-7 days after the items have been returned. This will ensure the experience is still fresh in their memory and won’t seem like you’re bugging them for a review.

Some customers may need some incentive to leave a review. This will help you collect reviews from customers among the 32% who wouldn’t usually write a review when asked without an incentive. The discount could be as simple as a 10% off coupon or entering them into a prize draw to win a desirable but inexpensive prize.

2. Send out a customer survey

Another way to collect reviews is by sending out a customer survey. This will not only provide you with social proof but also powerful customer insights. Again, this can be done effectively by using an online tool where you simply need to upload a list of customer emails to get started.

When it comes to the questions that you should ask, these are a few ideas to get you started:

  • What doubts did you have before making a reservation?
  • What questions did you have before making a reservation?
  • Why did you rent [blank]?
  • What did you use [blank] for?

In addition, you can include an open-ended question about the experience that allows customers to write a review—providing you with social proof and learning what you can improve about the customer experience.

Who you should ask for reviews

Great reviews don’t come from just anyone. Usually, the best ones come from a particular slice of your customer base. So, let’s look at how you find this group.

Start with your best customers

It makes the most sense to start with your best customers. They’re the people who have used your services the most, and there’s a reason they keep coming back. If you’re not sure who they are, you need to think about those who have returned the most or that you would consider ‘regulars’ to your business.

This is essentially the VIP segment of your customer base. You already know they love renting from you, and asking them for testimonials is usually a lot easier than customers who have only rented from you once. These are your biggest supporters, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get a great review from them.

Reach out to customers who’ve posted on social media

Often, if customers are happy with their experience with your rental business, they will post about it on social media. They are already acting as a brand ambassador so that you can put a spotlight on these organic reviews too on your social channels. This could mean reposting their stories or sharing their posts; either way, it’s good marketing for your rental business.

You can also take this further by reaching out to them for a formal review that can live permanently on your site, Google My Business profile, or Tripadvisor page. This helps you maintain the review’s visibility without it being lost in the fast-moving timeline of social media posts.

Where to post reviews now you’ve collected them

Once you’ve collected a few reviews, it’s time to showcase them to maximize their visibility and influence for new customers. Generally, you have three options where you can display them that are within your control: product pages, social media, and a dedicated testimonial page on your website.

These are the three most accessible places to share your reviews and are likely the ones most new customers will interact with before making a rental decision. They can be embedded if posted on another platform, a screenshot on social media channels, or they can simply be pasted in if you collected them in the form of a survey.

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