It is crucial for businesses to recognize the impact of Google Business and Yelp reviews on potential customers' purchasing decisions. Fortunately, you have the ability to shape your online reputation. By responding to both positive and negative reviews and comments, you can effectively manage the narrative surrounding your business and add a personal touch to your digital profile. The following tips will guide you on when and how to respond to reviews.
What reviews should you respond to?
Try to respond to all reviews, regardless of their tone. This demonstrates your appreciation towards customers who had a positive experience while also allowing you to mend any strained relationships with dissatisfied customers. By responding to all your reviews, you enhance your business's reputation by showing pride in your work, commitment to customer service, and dedication to continuous improvement.
When should you respond to reviews?
Aim to respond within 24 hours as this helps you actively monitor and maintain control over your online reputation. The quicker you address customer feedback, the higher you will rank on search engines. Additionally, if there are concerns raised by customers about your business operations or services, it is essential that these issues are brought to your attention promptly so that you can mitigate the problem before they decide to seek alternatives elsewhere. Reviews can contain insights that help you improve your business so it’s important to stay on top of them.
How should you respond to reviews?
When it comes to responding to reviews, maintaining a professional tone is crucial, regardless of the review’s sentiment. Here are some guidelines for crafting your responses:
Responding to positive reviews:
Show gratitude towards customers for leaving positive feedback.
Reinforce their positive sentiment by repeating it.
Use the reviewer’s name to personalize your response. You can use this tactic with any review, regardless of the sentiment, to strengthen that personal connection and loyalty.
"Thank you, Jenny! We’re so glad you loved using your new ABC Vacuum. We look forward to seeing you again soon”
Responding to negative reviews:
Negative reviews are a bit more tricky. They can be disheartening, but as a business owner, it's important not to take them personally. Responding constructively allows you to address any concerns and maintain your reputation.
Keep in mind, reviewers have the opportunity to update their reviews if their issues are resolved. Also, don’t forget that every response you provide is visible not only to the reviewer, but also to potential customers. That means it’s essential to convey professionalism and empathy in your responses.
Creating a template for negative review responses can ensure consistency in your approach when emotions run high. Here are some tips for crafting your responses to negative reviews:
Keep your response concise and to the point. Avoid getting into too much detail about the situation in your response.
When necessary, apologize for any mistakes made by your business. However, only apologize if you were truly at fault.
Avoid arguing with the customer. It's counterproductive and will have a negative impact on how others perceive your business.
Take the conversation offline by inviting the customer to visit your shop or giving them a call. This allows for further discussion to resolve the issue and make things right. If you plan to reach out to them, let them know you’ll do so in your response. That shows to the public that you are addressing the issue. During this conversation, actively listen to their concerns and ask questions to fully understand their perspective.
Sign off with a personal touch by including your name or initials in the review response. This shows that you are giving individual attention to address their concerns.
“Paul, We appreciate you bringing this to our attention and are disappointed you had this experience with our shop. We pride ourselves on our customer service and it sounds like we fell short. We’d like to make things right. Please give me a call at [phone number] and we’ll get this sorted out. -AB, Manager”
How to respond to neutral reviews:
Neutral reviews are especially valuable as they provide potential customers with an honest and realistic perspective of what they can expect from your business.
When left with a neutral review, thank customers for their feedback and highlight any positive aspects mentioned in their review. Assure them that you will take note of their more critical feedback to enhance your services or products.
If the review was neutral (3 stars) but just had an “okay” experience, thank them for the feedback and encourage them to return so you can knock it out the park next time.
“Donna, thank you for your feedback. We are so glad you liked our signature pasta dish, and appreciate your feedback about the music being too loud. We want to provide a comfortable experience for our customers and use your feedback to improve. We hope we have the opportunity to serve you and your family again!”
Use reviews to improve
Beyond helping SEO rankings and improving reputation, reviews provide free insight into the customer point of view, allowing you to continuously improve and better serve your customers. Here are some ways you can use reviews to improve your business:
Listen. It’s true that people can use the internet to be derogatory or offensive. However, many reviews contain valuable feedback. If you notice a theme with multiple reviews, it’s likely a common opinion, and it may be time to make a change.
Ask for positive reviews. Unfortunately, customers are more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than a positive one. To help skew the reviews back in the positive direction, ask satisfied or loyal customers to leave a review. Ask for these reviews by reaching out one-on-one or in-person.
Use software. There is review software available that allows you to easily track reviews, respond, and even to elicit more positive reviews and improve your overall ratings and rankings.
Boost employee morale. When you receive a positive review, share the good news! Encourage staff by sharing the news in a newsletter or meeting, and recognize individuals who provided a positive customer experience.
Use social proof. Use positive reviews as a form of social proof. Word-of-mouth is the most effective form of advertising, so use these reviews on your social media or in advertisements.
Research indicates that a substantial 93% of consumers factor in reviews when making purchasing decisions. This underscores the importance of actively cultivating your online reputation through reviews. By responding proactively, choosing your words thoughtfully, and genuinely using reviews to refine your business, you are on the path to a great public reputation.