How to Ask for Customer Feedback by Email: A Beginner’s Guide

Illustration by Camille Portales illustration of two speech bubbles with a heart and 5 stars in

Customer reviews tell visitors that they can trust your brand. They can also help you understand what to emphasize in your marketing or even how to improve your products and services. This makes it essential to learn how to ask for customer feedback by email.

In this guide, I’ll explore the ins and outs of customer reviews:

By the end of this guide, you’ll understand how to make customer feedback work for your business.

The benefits of customer feedback

High quality customer feedback can boost your business in a variety of ways:

  • As social proof. Posting reviews and testimonials on your website, social media profiles, and email newsletters is a great way to establish the trustworthiness of your brand. A whopping 72% of customers won’t buy from you without first reading some reviews, making this not just beneficial, but essential.
  • In your marketing campaigns. You can copy + paste reviews directly into your marketing campaigns or use them as indirect guides. For example, you might choose to focus your next campaign on the aspects of your products/services that are most often complimented in reviews.
  • As inspiration for the next stage of your business. How better to determine the next stage of your business than to look at what existing customers want? Use your customers’ feedback to understand what aspects of your products/services should be updated or expanded. Their words can even be a source of inspiration for new products/services.
  • As a way to strengthen relationships with your customers. People want to feel valued. Asking for their feedback, and actively using that feedback, is a great way to show your customers that their opinions and experiences matter.

How to ask for customer feedback by email

Asking for customer feedback might be uncomfortable, but it’s the best way to get the reviews you need. One survey found that as many as 68% of consumers will leave a review if they’re asked. The precise numbers will vary based on industry and your brand’s audience, but what’s clear is that you can’t afford not to ask.

So how do you ask for customer feedback? By email, of course. People on your email list are receptive to hearing from your brand. Many email marketing tools (including MailPoet!) also allow you to create automated emails triggered by purchases, so you can ask customers to review specific items they’ve bought.

However, you don’t want to just slap an email together in a few minutes and send it out. You want to use proven strategies to make your request effective.

1. Be clear about the purpose of this feedback

The most important thing to know when you’re asking for feedback is why you want it. This will determine what you ask for in the email. If you’re looking for feedback to help you improve your services, you’ll probably want to run a survey and keep the details private.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for reviews to use in marketing, you’ll want to ask for people to email them to you or post them on the comments section of a product page.

This will also inform the wording of the email. For example, if you’re looking to expand or improve your services, you might ask customers to “Help shape the future of our brand” or “Tell us how we can improve our product”. However, if you’re looking for reviews to use in marketing, you’ll want to ask people to “Share what you loved about our product”.

2. Use a clear call-to-action

After timing, the most important thing to understand about how to ask for customer feedback by email is the importance of your call-to-action. This is the part of your email that tells people what you want them to do. You want it to be highly visible, 100% clear, and mobile-friendly.

Casper does this particularly well with their highly specific call to “Review The Sheets”.

Casper customer Review Request
Image from Really Good Emails

Another great example of this comes from Thompson Hotel. Their call-to-action button says “Begin Your Survey Here”, telling viewers what to do and what to expect.

How to Ask for Customer Feedback by Email: Thompson Hotel "Thank You for Your Stay" Email
Image from Really Good Emails

The key here is to tell your audience exactly what they’re expected to do. Ambiguity constitutes a lost opportunity.

3. Make it easy to leave feedback

Your customers don’t have a bunch of time set aside to leave reviews or answer brand surveys. Minimizing the number of steps involved is the best way to ensure that people follow through.

If you’re asking for a review on a public site, this is as simple as linking the call-to-action directly to the place where they can leave a review. You can also point out some aspects of your product/service that they might want to discuss in their review.

If you’re sending out a survey, there are a few things you can do to make it easy:

  • Link your call-to-action directly to the survey
  • Keep the survey short; every question is an action the customer might not have time for
  • Make sure the wording of your questions is easy to understand
  • Use a tool like SurveyMonkey to format the survey effectively

4. Consider offering rewards

Rewards are a great way to encourage action at every point in the customer journey. Revolution tea understands this, so they’ve offered coupons as rewards for past surveys:

Revolution Survey Reward & info
Image from Really Good Emails

This is an excellent tactic because it shows that you appreciate your customers and value their time. Even better, it also encourages them to make their next purchase by providing a discount on this purchase.

The key here is to make sure that the reward is actually valuable to your customers. This will depend in part on who they are and what they buy from you. A 5% discount isn’t particularly meaningful when someone buys a notebook, but it can save a person a lot of money if you sell custom furniture.

Another option for rewards is to enter customers who leave a review or complete a survey into a contest. However, if you take this approach, you’ll want to make sure the items you give away have significant value. A chance to win something is rarely as compelling as a guaranteed gift.

5. Use behavior-triggered emails

Behavior-triggered emails are exactly what they sound like: automated messages sent to your customers when they complete, or fail to complete, a specific action. These personalized emails are incredibly powerful tools; customers are 202% more likely to respond to a personalized call to action.

The best time to ask for reviews is after someone experiences your products or services. This means the action that triggers the request email should be purchasing your product/service, but you don’t necessarily want to send it right away. You want to make sure they have time to actually use what they purchased. This means sending the email 3-7 days later for digital products or 2-3 weeks later for physical products.

Behavior-triggered emails for ecommerce businesses

Your automation capability here will depend on the email marketing service you work with. Some email marketing tools, including MailPoet, integrate with WooCommerce to make this easy.

If you’re a MailPoet user, you can create these emails by going to the “Emails” area of MailPoet and clicking the “+New Email” button at the top of the page. This will take you to a page where you can choose the type of email you want to create. Scroll down to see WooCommerce emails.

WooCommerce emails in MailPoet

Now you can select the action that triggers the email you’re working on. This includes emails sent after a customer’s first purchase and after specific product purchases.

Once you’ve selected the behavior trigger for the email you’re creating, you’ll be taken to a page where you can specify exactly when the email will go out. If you’ve chosen “Purchased a Product”, you’ll also be able to select the product a customer must purchase to receive this email.

Purchased this product settings in MailPoet

Using this feature, you can ask not just for a review, but for a review of the specific item or service the customer used.

For more information, check out our post on best practice tips for effective WooCommerce follow up emails.

Behavior-triggered emails for non-ecommerce businesses

While the most obvious uses are for ecommerce businesses, other businesses can use them too. In fact, all businesses do: the welcome email people get when they sign up for your newsletter is a behavior-triggered email.

There are a few times when you might want to send an email asking for feedback:

  • When someone has been subscribed to your newsletter for a set period of time
  • When someone unsubscribes from your newsletter
  • After you finish a client project
  • When you hit six months of working with a particular client
  • After someone completes an interaction with customer service
  • If someone praises your work for them

Some advanced email marketing services offer automation for these triggers, but in most instances, you will have to manage this yourself. This means you’ll want to choose one or two triggers and build them into your workflow. For example, in my freelance business, I only send emails for the triggers “when you hit six months of working with a client” and “if someone praises your work for them”.

You can further simplify this by creating a template email for the purpose. Keep the email short, polite, and direct, with a clear call-to-action.

Pro tip: When emailing clients for a testimonial, offer to write the testimonial and have them sign off on it. This makes it even easier for them to say yes!

Things to avoid

The other aspect of learning how to ask your customers for feedback by email is knowing what not to do. I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but here’s a quick run-down of things you want to avoid:

  • Vague questions. Vague questions result in unhelpful feedback. They may also confuse the reader, causing them to leave no feedback at all.
  • Either/or questions. These questions tend to make readers think you’re looking for a specific answer, usually the first one in the sentence.
  • Spelling and grammar mistakes. As with all your business communications, you want your request to look professional. If you’re sending out a survey, you also want to make sure your questions use proper spelling and grammar. You can use a tool like Grammarly to make this easier.

You also want to avoid asking for feedback too often. The last thing you want is for customers to feel so overwhelmed by review requests that they unsubscribe from your emails entirely.

How to use customer feedback in future marketing campaigns

Once you understand how to ask for customer feedback for email, it’s important to plan what you’re going to do with it. If the feedback is part of a private survey, you can use the information to fill out your customer personas and create personalized email marketing campaigns.

If customers are sending in reviews, there are two main to use them in your marketing campaigns.

1. Include reviews in the main body of an email

This can be incredibly simple. A compelling enough review speaks for itself. With the right testimonial, all you need to do is combine it with a high-quality product image, add a buy button, and send it out into the world. Everlane has done a great job of this in the email shown below:

Image from Really Good Emails

Another strategy is to put reviews in the parts of an email where you would ordinarily put product descriptions. Eight Sleep has done this particularly well in the email below:

How to Ask Customers for Feedback by Email: EightSleep

2. Encourage potential customers to look at reviews

Send your newsletter subscribers to the page where they can read all of your reviews and testimonials. You can include some examples in the body of the email or stick with just the link.

Bite Smiles customer feedback email
Image from Really Good Emails

Pro tip: This is a great strategy to use in an abandoned cart email. If someone has left their cart abandoned for a week or more, sending a link to your reviews reminds them that you exist without being overly salesy.

Final thoughts on how to ask for customer feedback by email

Asking for customer feedback can be intimidating, but it is essential to the success of your business. Customer reviews are some of the most powerful marketing tools available, and quality feedback can help you improve your products and services.

To get those reviews, make sure you follow some basic rules:

  • Be clear about the purpose of your feedback request
  • Use a clear call-to-action
  • Make it easy for customers to leave reviews or answer surveys
  • Consider offering rewards
  • Send feedback emails as behavior-triggered emails; if you can’t automate it, create a template and use a program like Google Calendar to set reminders

Most of all, remember to show that you value not just your customers’ feedback, but also the time they spend giving you feedback. After all, everyone loves to feel appreciated.

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