When is the Best Time to Ask Customers for Reviews?

Updated January 10, 2023
~ minute read
It is not always better to ask customers for reviews sooner than later

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When is the Best Time to Ask Customers for Reviews? Popular websites like TripAdvisor, Hotels.com and Booking.com immediately send out notifications to customers after checkout asking for feedback and reviews. To learn about customers’ recent experiences with the product, many companies send out automated email notifications or push notifications via mobile devices after customers make a purchase. This begs the question: When should companies issue review requests?

When is the Best Time to Ask Customers for Reviews? Intro

We examine the impact of the timing of review reminders on the quality and likelihood of product review postings in a new Journal of Marketing study. Consumer may be harmed if they receive review reminders too soon after purchasing a product or during vacation. Some companies may send reviews later to relive customers’ memories of their vacation experience.

Reviews.io is a company that collects, manages, and publishes reviews to help brands build customer trust. The industry advises eCommerce companies to schedule review requests between 7-30 days after order fulfillment. Judge.me, for example, offers a service that allows retail sellers to set the time between order fulfillment and when a review request will be sent.

The temporal distance between the product experience and the reminder can influence consumers’ memories and reactions. As consumers forget details, the likelihood of them writing reviews decreases. Companies need to strike a balance between asking too quickly for reviews and waiting too long, as both can negatively impact the quality of reviews.

Isn’t Necessarily More

Our research team conducted two randomized field experiments with more than 300,000 people from different online marketplaces. The first experiment was conducted with consumers from South Korea’s largest online marketplace for travel. Here, consumers can book hotels and flights as well as guided tours via the company’s mobile app or website. We created four timing categories for review reminders: Next day, next five, nine, and thirteen-day intervals following the product experience. For each timing class, we randomly assigned consumers to either the treatment (which received a review reminder), or the control (which didn’t).

We conducted the second field experiment by studying consumers on a major South Korean online clothing marketplace. Four different timing categories were created, but each with different time intervals. We examined the temporal effects on reviews of reminders on quality in both of our experiments.

According to our findings, it is not a good idea to request a review as quickly as possible. Reminders sent too quickly than it takes for customers to review the product can cause problems. It is not a good idea to send a reminder to review a product after it has been delivered. Customers need to have the opportunity to test the product and make a decision about its quality.

Lessons for Chief Sales Officers

  1. Although the criteria for when it is too soon may differ depending on product type and customer heterogeneity we believe it acceptable to send a reminder early in search goods cases (e.g. paper towels, canned soups, bottled water and canned soups). This is because the consumers are familiar with the products and have high confidence that the product will work after a trial. For experience goods, such as restaurants, beauty salons and travel, it might be wise to give consumers sufficient time to review the product before reminding them.
  2. Our research also shows that businesses with young customers are especially vulnerable to overly rapid reminders. Generation Z, for example, is independent and pragmatic and has used digital platforms since childhood. Prompt reminders could be seen as a violation of their autonomy and freedom. The negative effects of an immediate reminder for review may be more severe for young people.
  3. Review reminders have a negative impact on review content. We find that delayed review reminders can reduce the quality of late reviews. Except for review specificity and length, review reminders have negligible effects on review content like ratings, sentiment or length. The content of reviews doesn’t change between reviewers who have received reminders and those who didn’t.

Online marketplaces have to learn that blindly adopting “faster is better” and “one-size fits all” strategies is counterproductive. Companies should instead reexamine their practices and adjust the timing for review reminders to target consumer groups to get more feedback.

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