Customer reviews. We love them when they’re that 5 star review that says how awesome our business is. In fact, over 90% of consumers read online reviews and star rating is the number 1 factor your potential customers use to judge your business.
And while you might feel tempted to just ignore online reviews altogether, you really need to respond to most of them, whether they’re from a happy customer or an angry one. But what exactly goes into a great review response no matter how many stars the reviewer gave your small business on Google, Yelp, Facebook, or somewhere else online?
How to Respond to Positive Reviews
First, let’s tackle how to respond to positive reviews. You might think that when a customer posts a glowing, 5-star review about your business online that you don’t have to say anything. But in fact, staying silent means you’re missing out on additional ways to grow your business’ reputation as well as the opportunity to allow your business to shine in front of potential customers.
To keep things simple, let’s break our responses down into 5 key components.
Acknowledge & Thank the Customer
Make sure you always thank the customer who wrote the review. You always want your customer to feel like they’re important and that they know there’s a real person writing a response to their review so use their name and be specific by thanking them for something they mentioned in their review.
Invite Further Contact
Happy customers who love your business can become your biggest brand ambassadors so you definitely want to keep cultivating your relationship. Invite them to stay in touch or stop by your business, or to try another product or service your business offers, as well as to tell their friends about their great experience.
Do a Little Shameless Self-Promotion
Online reviews are public. So not only can potential customers see what your customers say about you, they can also see your responses. So why not use this completely free marketing opportunity to tell them about a new product or service your business offers, or a special promotion they can take advantage of.
Include Your Business Name in Your Response
Besides reminding potential customer of your name, including your business name in your responses to positive reviews will boost the rankings of your positive reviews so they appear in search results. Remember, most people read online reviews as part of their decision process, so you want them to see the great reviews your customers leave about your business.
Make Your Response Varied & Authentic
Nobody likes form letters and canned positive review responses are no exception! Every review is different and most reviews are written by real people. Remember, you’re responding to another human being and never forget that potential customers also see how you respond so make each response different instead of having just one response for all 5-star reviews.
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
Most of us aren’t comfortable when it comes to confrontation, even when it’s online so it can be tempting to just shrug off negative reviews. Alternatively, we might take every negative review personally and be tempted to lash out ourselves whenever someone leaves a 1-star review and negative comments about our business online. Here are some helpful tips for how to respond to negative reviews online.
However, just like there are 5 key components to responding positive reviews, there are also 5 key components for how to respond to negative reviews.
Always acknowledge the problem and offer a solution.
You never want to deny your customer’s experience. Instead, acknowledge the problem, and offer a solution to remedy their problem. Even if you can’t make this customer happy, your response is public and is your chance to show new customers that you care about customer concerns and know how to address them.
Apologize and clear up any confusion.
Apologize and empathize with your customer’s feelings. Remember it’s usually a customer’s emotions that fuel bad reviews. So how you make them feel in your response is crucial. Then you can respond from your own point of view and clear up any confusion the customer might have communicated in their review.
Provide offline contact for resolution.
Just like a bartender tells patrons to take their fights outside, you don’t want an angry customer to potentially keep the negative conversation going online where it’s instant negative publicity for your customers new and old to see. Don’t ask them questions or for additional details in your online response. Instead, include a contact number and/or email where they can get in touch with you so you can resolve their issue offline.
Leave your business name out of your response.
You don’t want any negative reviews to be the first things potential customers read in Google search. Keep your business name out of responses to negative reviews. This isn’t the time to promote your business by name or talk about upcoming specials.
Be authentic in your response.
Don’t just respond to negative reviews because we told you it will help your online reputation. Instead, be authentic and have sympathy for your customers. Yes, there are customers who might need to get a life and who have nothing better to do than leave negative reviews in all-caps. But, if your business is getting more than a few 1 or 2 star reviews, it’s possible something is wrong that you’re going to have to change whether that’s a bad policy or a rude employee. You want to show your customers that you care about them and their business.
How Do You Respond to Customer Reviews?
Now that you’ve seen the 5 key components for how to respond to both negative and positive reviews of your business online, you hopefully feel more at ease when you reply to any customer’s review, including the most dissatisfied customers. How do you respond to online reviews of your business? Let us know in the comment section below.