Responding to Reviews: Why It is Important and How to Do It

Reviews, whether good or bad, pack a lot of power in the digital world because they play a large role in shaping a customer’s decision-making process. They can exert a strong influence on how potential customers view your business, products, and services. Positive feedback can help build trust and credibility among your target audience, while negative reviews can hurt your reputation and undermine customer confidence in your brand. Reviews can dictate where a consumer will do business. Will it be with you or the competition?

How you respond to reviews is also very important as it allows customers the ability to gauge your customer service level and how you deal with unhappy customers. If you have not been responding to your reviews, it’s time start! Review platforms aren’t going away, they are too relied upon by consumers who have a choice as to who they want to do business with. Don’t let your competitors gain all the business because they are more responsive to their reviews then you have been.

Let’s take a look at why consumers rely on reviews:

  • The average consumer reads 10 reviews before trusting a business.
  • 93% of consumers read online reviews when looking for a local business.
  • 97% Will look to see how you respond to your reviews.
  • 91% Trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (Wow!)
  • 85% of consumers feel reviews older than 3 months are not relevant.

That being said, taking the time to respond properly to all types of reviews can make a big difference to your overall business success while setting you far ahead of your competitors.

Let’s explore why responding to reviews is important and how to do it right.

Why Responding to Reviews Is Critical

Feedback is important for any business. Online reviews help businesses in many ways. They serve as a marketing tool, positively influence purchasing decisions, and provide insights into customer perceptions. Reviews give business owners critical feedback that can be used to improve products, services, and the overall customer experience.

Responding to reviews gives business owners the chance to communicate and engage directly with their customers. It also shows that the business is actively listening to feedback, taking customer opinions seriously, and making an effort to improve.

Before online review platforms like Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor a business might never have known about a consumer complaint. And the complaint may have been based on a bad meal or service which may have been due to short staffing issues that day, or a disgruntled employee that was later let go.

Whatever the situation, apologizing is a step in the right direction. Thanking them for letting you know about their bad experience means you care. Inviting them to come back to do business with you is admirable.

And, not responding to customers who left you a good review is kind of rude also. Here is a scenario that could be a direct hit to your business because you don’t respond to reviews:

Let’s say a good customer of yours that frequents your restaurant or store decides to write a good review after a recent visit. When they begin to read other reviews that mention a really bad experience, but they see that you never responded to their complaint. Or that you don’t respond to good reviews either. Well, that’s a turn off for a customer who “was” just about to leave a good review. They might just figure that you don’t read or respond to your reviews, anyway, so why bother to say anything.

And that’s just one out of hundreds of scenarios that can and will happen by not being responsive to your customers. So, don’t underestimate that you have this opportunity to fix a problem. Hopefully turn that customer around and give you a better review in the future. Online reviews can help you get more business, and keep business, which is just as important.

How to Respond to Positive Reviews

Positive reviews mean that your business is doing something right, and it’s important to acknowledge and thank customers for sharing their experiences. Responding to positive feedback can help you build a loyal customer base and encourage others to leave positive reviews. When responding, use a personalized approach, address the customer’s specific comments, and keep the tone upbeat and friendly.

Here are a few examples of how to respond to positive online reviews:

Review Response Example 1: “Dear [Customer’s Name], we are thrilled to hear such good feedback, and we’re proud of our staff for delivering such an outstanding service. Thank you for choosing us, and we look forward to serving you again.”

Review Response Example 2: “Hello [Customer’s Name], thank you for your positive comments! We’re delighted to know you had an excellent experience with us. Your satisfaction is our priority, and your review reaffirms the hard work we put in every day. Looking forward to your next visit.”

Review Response Example 3: “Hi [Customer’s Name], thank you for leaving us such a wonderful review. We always aim to deliver a great experience, and we are glad to hear we achieved this with you. We appreciate your business and hope to see you again soon.”

Sharing positive reviews on social media not only brings credibility to your business but also highlights the customer’s satisfaction.

For instance, after responding personally to a good review, you could say, “Review Response Example 4: “Dear [Customer’s Name], we’re thrilled that you enjoyed our service. We’re sharing your feedback across our social media platforms to let others know about your positive experience. Thank you once again for your encouraging words.”

Responding promptly to positive reviews not only shows your appreciation but also encourages customers to leave more reviews in the future. This helps build a positive online reputation for your business, which can attract potential customers.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

Negative reviews can be challenging, but they present a valuable opportunity for businesses to learn from mistakes and improve their customer service. Responding to negative feedback can help mitigate the damage and show other potential customers that the business cares about its customers. When responding, stay calm, empathize with the customer’s perspective, apologize, and offer solutions to their concerns.

Their complaint could be very valid, and you need to take ownership of the situation, learn from it by talking to your staff, drivers, or customer service desk and make sure they are trained on etiquette for your business.

On the other hand, the complaint could be coming from someone who just likes to complain in general. Maybe they are hoping to get something for free or reimbursed for their “so called” bad experience.

Either way, do your best to make it right and show consumers that they are important, heck, they are your future income! Not just that one guy who complained, but everyone who is reading these reviews who are possible new customers.

Here are some examples of how to emotionally handle a bad review:

Staying calm while responding to negative reviews is essential as it allows for a more rational and constructive response. Here are a few tips to help maintain composure:

Take a breather: Before responding to a negative review, take a moment to step back and breathe. It can help settle your emotions and clear your mind.

Don’t take it personally: Remember, the review is about the product or service, not you as an individual.

Look for the silver lining: Negative feedback can provide valuable insights for improvement. Focus on what you can learn from the review.

Practice empathy: Try to understand the reviewer’s perspective. It can help you respond in a more understanding and constructive manner.

Here are a few examples of constructive responses to negative reviews:

Example for poor service: “Dear [Customer’s Name], we sincerely apologize for the service you received. It’s not the kind of experience we want our customers to have. We are taking your feedback seriously and will use it to retrain our staff. We hope to have another chance to serve you better in the future.”

Example for a faulty product: “Hello [Customer’s Name], we’re really sorry to hear about your disappointment with our product. We understand how frustrating it can be when the product doesn’t meet your expectations. We would like to offer you a replacement or refund. Please get in touch with our customer service team for assistance.”

Example for a late delivery: “Hi [Customer’s Name], thank you for your patience and we apologize for the late delivery. We are working with our delivery partners to prevent any such delays in the future. Please let us know if there’s anything else we can do to make this right for you.”

Remember, the key is to keep your response professional, empathetic, and solution focused. Your response not only addresses the reviewer’s concerns but also shows potential customers that you care about their satisfaction. Additionally, always remember to thank the reviewer for taking the time to provide feedback, even if it is negative. This shows that you value their opinion and are willing to address any issues they may have.

Moreover, do not engage in arguments or respond with defensive or aggressive language. This will only escalate the situation and reflect poorly on your brand. Instead, try to find a resolution that satisfies both parties if possible.

Lastly, it’s important to proactively monitor and respond to reviews regularly. This shows potential customers that you are actively listening and responding to feedback, which can help build trust in your brand. Negative reviews may seem like a setback, but with the right approach, they can be turned into opportunities for improvement and showcasing your excellent customer service. So, remember to stay calm, empathize, and respond professionally to negative reviews.  Your customers will appreciate it.

How to Respond to Neutral Reviews

A neutral review is when a customer doesn’t endorse you nor do they leave a negative review, but they comment that their experience was “okay, not terrible, but not great.” Or they say that they wouldn’t go back again.

The good news is that a neutral review isn’t the worst thing. It’s actually a good opportunity to turn the customer around with a careful, thought felt response.

Here are a few examples of how to respond to a neutral review:

Neutral Review Example 1:  Thank you for your honest feedback. We appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with us. We strive to provide excellent service to our customers and are sorry to hear that your experience was just “okay”. We understand that there’s room for us to improve and we assure you that we will take your feedback seriously as we constantly look for ways to better our services.

Neutral Review Example 2: Thank you for your review.  We truly value your business and look forward to serving you better in the future. Thank you for choosing us and we hope to have the opportunity to make it up to you in the future.

We want to assure you that your feedback is not taken lightly. We take all reviews, whether positive or negative, seriously and use them as opportunities for growth. We understand that not every experience will be perfect, and we are continuously working on ways to improve our services for all of our valued customers.

Neutral Review Example 3:  Thank you for choosing us and we hope you’ll see improvements in your subsequent experiences. If there were specific aspects of our service that you felt were lacking, please do not hesitate to let us know. We can provide training to our staff in those areas or introduce new processes to address these issues. If there were products or services that you felt were not up to standard, we can review these offerings and make necessary adjustments based on your input.

Neutral reviews can provide valuable feedback on how to improve the customer experience. While they are not as critical as negative reviews, they still warrant a response. When responding to neutral reviews, thank the customer for their feedback, acknowledge their experience, and offer ways to address their concerns.

Don’t Worry if You Don’t Have a Perfect 5-Star Rating

Believe it or not, a perfect 5-star rating doesn’t really matter. When most people read reviews, they are trying to get a feel for the business and reading a mix of reviews can actually help you earn their business. Consumers are catching on to the thousands of fake reviews found on online retail sites like Amazon.

Strive to have the best rating among your competitors, but mostly focus on having a steady flow of real reviews on a consistent basis. This is the most important aspect of your review profile. Customers would rather see a range of reviews from this month, rather than a bunch of 5-star reviews from last year. They want to know how you are doing now because they are thinking about doing business with you right now.

How to Handle Reviews in Volume

As your business grows, you’ll inevitably receive more reviews. Keeping up with them can be challenging, but it is important to respond to all of them. Consider using a review management software that can help you monitor, track, and respond to online reviews in real-time, regardless of their volume.

Leveraging a review management software can be a highly effective tactic in handling a large volume of reviews. These platforms automate the process of collecting and responding to reviews across multiple channels, saving businesses significant time and resources. They come equipped with features such as sentiment analysis and keyword tracking, which allow you to identify trends and gain insights into customer satisfaction levels.

Furthermore, the software can send alerts for negative reviews, enabling swift response and issue resolution. Overall, the use of review management software can streamline the review process, improve online reputation, and ultimately enhance customer experience.

While using review management software can be beneficial, it is crucial to also have a human touch in the process. This means actively engaging with customers and responding to their reviews, both positive and negative.

Another option is hiring a company that specializes in reputation building services which can help you get more positive reviews and can reach an unsatisfied customer before they leave a negative review.

Hiring a reputation building company offers several significant advantages. Firstly, these professionals possess expertise in managing online reputations, which is crucial in today’s digital age. They understand how to promote your brand positively and how to respond to negative reviews in a manner that can mitigate damage and potentially turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one.

Secondly, a reputation building company can save you considerable time and effort, allowing you to focus on other vital aspects of your business. They can effectively monitor various platforms, respond to reviews, and develop strategies to encourage more positive feedback.

Finally, their services can lead to better customer engagement, improved trust, and enhanced brand loyalty, all of which can contribute to increased business growth.

And we can help you with your online reputation building and managing reviews! Contact us today!

Conclusion

In conclusion, responding to reviews is critically important to maintaining a positive brand reputation and customer satisfaction. By responding to reviews, businesses demonstrate their commitment to customer service and are in a stronger position to learn from feedback. Whether dealing with positive, negative, or neutral reviews, it’s important to keep the responses personalized, empathetic, and timely.

By following the strategies outlined in this blog post, businesses can use reviews to their advantage and improve the overall customer experience. So, go ahead, and get started by monitoring, responding, and keeping your customers happy!

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