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A Step-By-Step Guide to Responding to Online Reviews

We can’t take it anymore! We’ve seen it time and time again. Businesses are only responding to their positive reviews and totally neglecting their negative reviews or even worse not responding to any reviews at all.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a Google, Yelp, or Facebook review, you need to be responding to your reviews. Responding to a good review allows you to capitalize on that opportunity and responding to a negative review allows you to minimize the damage.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, reviews are shaping customers purchasing decisions and as a business it’s important for you to be a part of that conversation.

Positive Reviews:

Why respond to a good review?

  • It can improve your search rankings. And we know everyone is fighting to be on the first page of results. Responding to the review improves the rank of the review in search results.
  • You have good manners. Imagine, a customer walking into your business and raving to you about how awesome you are and you just give them a blank stare and continue on with your task at hand.  You wouldn’t do this in real life, so why are you doing this online?
  • Everyone is watching you. Not only does the person who reviews you see your response or lack thereof in some cases but so are future customers.

How to Respond to a Positive Review

Step 1: Thank your customer by name & be specific in your response.

Addressing, your customer by name lets them know it’s a real person behind the business and addressing something specific helps with authenticity.

“Kelly, thank for your 5-star review and for giving kudos to Lisa. You’re right, she is always smiling.”

Step 2: Use the business name & relevant keywords

Using the business name, category and location in your response will help the positive review appear in search results.

"The team here at [Business Name] is thrilled to hear such good feedback, and we’re proud to be one of the friendliest [industry type] in [city name]."

Step 3: Market Yourself

You’ve already got your customers attention so take advantage by sharing some behind the scenes info on what helped make the experience or share some news about an upcoming promotion. ‘

“Did you know we will be offering a new specialty drink next week in honor of our 5 year anniversary?”

Step 4: Invite Customers Back

Ask your customer back for another great experience. Remember your repeat customers are usually some of your best customers.

“Next time you’re here, you should try the [insert product here]!”


Negative Reviews

Why Respond to a negative review?

  • You want to make things right. You have a good business that provides great customer care and this is your chance to show and prove it.
  • You want to provide great customer service. Great customer service is not only provided when you are making the transaction but also after the sale.
  • Everyone is watching you. We've said this before and we will say it again. Not only does the person who reviews you see your response or lack thereof in some cases but so are future customers.

How to Respond to Negative Review

Step 1:  Thank & Apologize

Begin by addressing the reviewer by name and thanking them for their feedback and bringing attention to the issue at hand. Empathy is a powerful force when dealing with disappointed customers/residents and can help you deflect tension immediately.

“Thank you for sharing your concern with us.  I’m sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with us.”

Step 2:  Provide Explanation (if possible) or Value Counter

Don’t make excuses, but if there is a legitimate explanation for why the error occurred, feel free to articulate it and show future customers that you have measures in place to address issues. Additionally, speak to the good experiences your company is accustomed to providing for your customers.

Step 3: Move the Conversation Offline

Provide contact information so that the customer can speak to someone directly at the business.

Bonus Tip: This can be a make or break step for you. Providing great customer service offline can often move your reviewer to remove the review or update the review to reflect a positive experience.

Step 4: Keep it Simple

Don’t go into too much detail or ask follow up questions.  Don’t get to lengthy in your response as you don’t want to solicit more negative feedback from the reviewer.


Caissa Crafts Review Strategies for You

This blog presents a top-level overview of responding to reviews that business owners and marketing professionals should know about. However, just like the internet itself, the options of managing and responding to reviews across the internet are literally endless. If you need advice on how to get started, or would just like to talk to somebody who can simplify the idea of review management and generation for your company, click below to contact Caissa Public Strategy today. We take the time to get to know you and your company and present you with customized online reputation strategy that will help your business have a winning online reputation.

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