Want Amazing Reviews? Make a Face-to-Face Request

May 23, 16397 min read

You've worked wonders for your customer.

Now it's time to ask for their feedback, which usually triggers our fears of rejection. Many of us take the easy way out.

We send out a quick email asking for a review

It's fast, convenient, and free. It also removes us from the awkward feelings that follow a rejection.

But rejection isn’t a likely outcome is it?

If you've wowed your customer, if they're satisfied and happy, there's a great chance you'll get a positive review... especially if you change how you ask.

So how should you ask?

You make a face-to-face request

Vanessa Bohns of Cornell University and Mahdi Roganizad of Western University showed in their research that face-to-face requests are better than impersonal requests made via email.

How much better?

Face-to-face requests were 34 times more effective than emailed requests.

That's a dramatic difference.

In their study, they asked participants to request surveys from strangers. One group via email, the other in person. Next, they asked them to predict how many strangers would do what they want.

Here's an interesting part of their study...

Participants in the email request group believed email was just as effective as a face-to-face request. They were just as confident as participants in the face-to-face group.

Why is that?

Vanessa explains: "Participants were highly attuned to their own trustworthiness and the legitimacy of the action they were asking others to take when they sent their emails."

Which is basically saying "I'm trustworthy so I'll get what I want." Which of course is the opposite of what happened.

Strangers saw an untrustworthy email asking them to click on a sketchy link.

They didn't do it.

Here's the surprising part about this study.

It doesn't matter who you ask - family, friends, strangers - it makes no difference. As soon as you decide to go from face-to-face to email, you decrease your odds dramatically.

The odds are in your favor...

Just not as much, if your requests are delivered via impersonal channels like email or text. When these researchers replicated their results in a second study, they found out why.

We're missing much-needed information.

The non-verbal cues we normally share - our body language, gesture clusters, tone of voice, emotional health, etc. - this information was missing. Simply put, impersonal channels like email don't automatically include the information we needed to evaluate a request.

Okay, so face-to-face requests are more effective.

How do you use that in your organization? You approach customers directly, meeting with them face-to-face.

That wasn't the real question though, was it?

The real question is, how do you scale this? How do you approach hundreds or thousands of customers with your request for a review? Who on earth has the time to speak to thousands of people, one-on-one?

You do.

Your problem isn't time, it's leverage

Most of the time, people assume they have to approach customers one-on-one, pounding the pavement - doing what they have to do to get amazing reviews.

The one-on-one approach is tedious.

It's exhausting, time-consuming, and difficult. It's also unrealistic. It just doesn't make sense to approach review management that way. So what's the best way to tackle this problem?


Leverage is a force multiplier, a way to get more done with less. It's a powerful way to maximize the results you're able to get, enabling you to attract more positive reviews with less effort.

How's that possible? 

Don't go to your customers, entice them to come to you.

Approaching customers one-on-one is doable when you're just starting out, or if you have a small number of customers. Not so much when your customers number in the hundreds or thousands.

So, how do you get them to come to you?

  • Give a speech or talk. Share information with customers. They can be new, veteran, or all-star customers, doesn't matter as long as you teach them something new.

  • Create regular meetups. Invite your best customers to a prestigious invite-only retreat where you build relationships, thank them for their loyalty, and spoil them a little bit.

  • Run a seminar, workshop, or event. Create a seminar that's made for new and existing customers. Blow their minds with the information you provide at your workshop or event, then during the break, invite them out into the hallway where they share their review on camera.

  • Attend a convention. Become a keynote speaker or featured presenter at conventions. Get feedback from your customers and prospects alike, identifying objections, fears, risks, and their overall experience.

You're not limited to these ideas.

The sky's the limit. The focus is really about getting your customers to come to you. They can be new or established. Your best or most infrequent customers.

Just bring them together.

There's no way to bring them together

It sounds delusional, I get it.

At first glance, it seems like an incredible amount of work for a payoff that may not work out. How do you create the leverage needed to make the face-to-face ask effective if you can't get your customers together?

You spring for the next best thing.

You use video to make your face-to-face request. How? With video ads. Here's how it would work.

  • Tag recent customers. Running an e-commerce store? Sent a proposal and closed the sale with a new client? Tag them so you can reach out to them later.

  • Segment your customers. Sort your customers into the buckets that matter to you. This could be new vs. loyal customers, $ vs. $$$$ customers, or anything in-between.

  • Craft your message. Create a video where you reach out to customers, telling them why their feedback/review matters and how they can help.

  • Deliver your message. Use remarketing to deliver the right message to each of your customer segments. Send customers to a landing page where you make their request official.

  • Combine with email. Include a 'somewhat' personal video in the emails with your review request for the best results. 

As far as face-to-face requests go, it's the next best thing. Want to maximize your results? Follow these steps:

  • Personalize tastefully, wherever and whenever you can.

  • Don't ruin the relationship by spamming. Remarket with care.

  • Focus on one message, your request for a review. Don't combine it with any other message.

  • Give customers just enough time to evaluate your product or service. No more, no less.

  • Use a familiar face for your face-to-face ask.

Then structure your face-to-face request using the appropriate psychological triggers. So imagine you’re using prestige as a trigger. What would that look like?

Subject: You know something, Jan? You’re a…


We think you’re pretty a special person. You know as much about [our product] as our veteran employees. We’re reaching out to our very best customers (top 3%) for advice. Would you be willing to answer 6 questions for us?

Takes 3 to 5 mins!

You're the best,

Andrew McDermott

It's not as effective as an in-person, face-to-face ask but it's far more effective than email. Am I saying email doesn’t work? Absolutely not.

Email works very, very well.

But a face-to-face request is more effective. Not because it’s better, but because a face-to-face interaction includes a large amount of additional information - body language, gesture clusters, tone of voice, emotional health, etc.

Can’t make a face-to-face request?

Use email.

It’s effective especially if you remove the logistical barriers that keep customers from writing a positive review.

You're 34 times more likely to get a positive review...

If you ask in person.

That amazing, five-star review you want your customer to give you - you're far more likely to get it.  Ignore the irrational fear floating around in the back of our heads.

You've worked wonders for your customer. Now's the time to ask for what you want. While so many others choose to take the easy way out, you meet face-to-face. You succeed where others fail. You now know the secret to getting the reviews you want.

Back to Blog