Getting reviews for your company is very important, but so is your company’s response to those reviews. According to BrightLocal, 30% of consumers take whether a business has responded to reviews into consideration before deciding to use that business. Thirty percent of your potential customers could very easily be lost if they don’t like your response to a review - or if you aren’t responding to reviews at all.
If something as simple as responding to reviews could improve your online reputation, it’s important that your responses are out of this world! Here are some of our tried and true tactics for responding to positive and negative Google reviews.
Best Practices for Responding to Positive Reviews
On the surface, responding to positive reviews sounds like a simple task, but there are nuances every business owner, marketer or customer service representative should be aware of when writing a response.
- Say Their Name – With Google reviews, most people responding to you will have their actual first and last name listed. Using their first name in a response will make the message more personalized and authentic. As a best practice, we recommend using a customer’s name in response to a review regardless of if it is negative or positive.
Occasionally, users will have a non-descriptive username instead of their actual name listed. In this case, it is okay to leave out the name. “We appreciate the review, @spacedout2011” doesn’t have the same authority as “we appreciate the review, Hailey.”
- Be Enthusiastic –Enthusiasm can be contagious. Showing your customers that you are enthusiastic about your customer service will encourage them to return to your business. Additionally, potential customers will see your enthusiasm in response to other reviews and will be more inclined to try your business out. Always be sure to show gratitude in your responses. Your customer took the time to write a nice review of your business, so it’s nice to show that you’re grateful for their business.
- Be Personal – Personalizing each response, rather than having a go-to response template, shows your customers that you care about them as individuals and that you are engaged with all facets of your business. Audiences can tell when a response is copied and pasted, especially if they are going through a lot of your reviews. Again, this practice should be used for both positive and negative review responses.
Positive Review Response Examples
Positive reviews aren’t as simple to respond to as everyone thinks. Here are some examples of positive review responses:
- Short and Sweet – Customers don’t always need a paragraph on why you’re grateful for their business. A short, to-the-point response is great for 5-star reviews.
- A (Positive) Sense of Humor Goes Far – Including friendly banter in your response shows your character and develops brand voice. Tread lightly, you never want to accidentally put a customer down. Here’s a perfect example of banter done right.
- State Your Mission – The review response is a great way to enforce your company’s personal branding. You can include your company mission, slogan or other key messages in your response.
Best Practices for Responding to Negative Reviews
Even if your business genuinely provides excellent customer satisfaction and high-quality services, it is impossible to please everyone. Even the highest-rated businesses occasionally receive negative reviews. When this happens to your business, here are some steps you can take when responding to negative reviews:
- Take it Offline – The best thing you can do when you receive an online review is to take it offline. Clear the air with your customers by giving them a quick phone call to discuss the problems they had with the service provided. Offer to resolve whatever problem they might have had or compensate them in some way. Customers will usually update their reviews with an explanation of what happened. If they don’t, you can update your review response with an explanation of what you did to resolve the customer’s problem. It is also okay to ask your client to update their review. We go over how to ask for a review update in part 2 of the series: What Negative Reviews Can Teach a Business Owner.
- Respond Quickly, but Take a Minute to Breathe – By nature, negative reviews are going to be emotional for both parties. If you see a negative review and it makes you upset, take a moment to clear your thoughts. Reacting to a review with anger will cause more harm than good for your online reputation. You never want to get into a back-and-forth argument with your customers. Focus on a different project or activity and then go back to the review. Take 20 minutes or 24 hours, but don’t let the review sit there for a long time - typically, you should respond within a 24-hour window. You want to take action quickly so you can get your message out there and you can get the situation resolved.
- Accept Responsibility (When Appropriate) – One of the running themes you’ve probably seen in this series is that nobody’s perfect. If your business is truly at fault in a customer’s negative experience, the best thing to do is take responsibility. Not only will this make you look honest and more trustworthy to your customers, but it’s also the right thing to do. Being the bigger person will generally get you better results than acting indignantly toward your customers. Of course, this philosophy can go both ways. Not all customers are perfect. Sometimes you’re just going to get that person that cannot be pleased, no matter what you do. If this is the case, calmly and politely explain your side of the story in your response. Customers reading the reviews and responses will generally be able to tell who is in the right.
Negative Review Response Examples
Responding to a negative review can be difficult, so here are some examples that you can use as reference:
- Set the Facts Straight – Take the opportunity to tell your client’s/your side of the story. This allows potential customers to draw their own conclusions based on the review and response.
- Include a Call to Action – As stated above, we always encourage you to take negative customer experiences offline, but it doesn’t hurt to encourage the customer to reach out to you in your review response, especially if you want to respond quickly to the review.
- Verify That It's A Real Review – Occasionally, people will post fake or untrue reviews. Some reviews might come from people that aren’t even customers. If you are unable to verify that the reviewer is an actual customer, include that in your review response so potential customers will be aware that it might not be an accurate representation of your business. Important: do not claim a review is fake just because you disagree with it.
Responding to online reviews can be challenging, but if you go at it with a level-headed, enthusiastic approach, you are more likely to see success in your online reputation management. For more tips on reputation management, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of Written in the Stars: Leadhub's Guide to Reputation Management.