No matter which platform you sell your products on, the key to gain customer reviews is a highly optimized follow up sequence along with stellar customer service. Nonetheless, if you are looking to expand your business to Europe (especially to Germany), you will face an extra barrier: the legal rules of a follow up sequence.
To avoid any legal traps, I will compare a US follow up sequence with one specifically targeted for German product reviews.
In Germany, all online sellers are only allowed to send out one follow up email to customers. No more. That’s it. In other countries, like the US or Australia, there is no such rule. Sellers can send out as many emails as they please – until the customer reaches out and asks them to stop emailing. With an endless amount of follow up emails (theoretically speaking) in the pipeline, you can certainly gain reviews much quicker.
US Follow Up Options
As mentioned previously, the US is in the fortunate position of having no email limit. Therefore, feedback management tools such as Feedback5 or Feedback Genuines can be used to set up a follow up sequence, requesting the customer to leave a review.
- First email follow up: (1) Are you happy with your new product? Do you have any suggestions or improvements?
- Second email follow up: (1) We have shipped your product, (2) Is the product working for you?
- Third email follow up: (1) We have shipped your product, (2) Is the product working for you? (3) Thank you for your purchase!
In the following section, we will look at how you can set up a German “follow up” sequence that your customers cannot ignore.
German Product Review Follow Up Options
German online sellers have to get creative in order to reach their customers. This is why we don’t solely rely on a follow up sequence. Here are four ways German sellers reach out to their customers, along with one trick most sellers use:
- Asking for feedback regarding the product packaging.
- Sending out a product inlay (e.g. business card that asks for feedback).
- Creating a digital product and sending it out separately (as a second email) and incorporating the request for feedback.
- The invoice email: In Germany you are allowed to send out one email to the customer and it has to serve a purpose! Therefore, we create an invoice email that (1) has the PDF invoice attached and (2) asks the customer for feedback. This email has to strike! Here are a few steps on how to structure the email:
- Write a catchy subject line, e.g.: 10% off your next purchase, your invoice & a request (i.e. 10% auf deine nächste Bestellung, deine Rechnung & eine Bitte)
- Ask whether everything is going well with the product (i.e. In case you have a problem with the product, please reach out to our customer services team to resolve the issue)
- Reinforce the fact that they should get in touch before leaving a bad review
- Ask for feedback (improvements, changes that would be nice) since you are a young and striving company that wants to continually improve their products → Once the customer reaches out, send them a link to post a product review
- Optional: Give the customer a 10% discount off their next purchase (or family & friends!)
As for the invoice email, don’t be too aggressive when asking for feedback (e.g. sending out a product review link directly and begging for feedback) since this is in legal limbo in Germany. Be subtle and ask the customer for a product review once he/she reaches out to customer service (then they will most likely post a review).
In Germany, we mostly use Amainvoice and Easybill to send out invoices (as well as emails) to the customer.
The most important factor for all of these is: flawless German. German customers are very finicky when it comes to language. If we get an email written in poor German, we assume that (a) German customers are not important enough for a dedicated native speaker & (b) the business is unprofessional. This is just German culture. German customer communication is therefore mandatory and shouldn’t be neglected.
If you are looking to sell any products in Germany, make sure you get a German translator to look over your customer communication. Additionally, German customer service that will reply to any German emails is also very important. Enida, the German customer support agency, could easily help you with this. We have specialized in German & English customer support and know exactly what customers want and how to gain genuine customer reviews.