Online reviews simplify and summarize information for consumers who are bombarded with choices daily. This makes them a critical part of the customer’s buying process. Reading your business reviews should be an experience people seek out and keep coming back to. To make that happen, you need an engaging, value-adding review response design.
You may ask: Why can’t I just say “Thank you” and move on? Well, you definitely don’t want to sound robotic or impersonal, right?
This blog post breaks down how to respond to reviews in an authentic, effective and strategic way. You’ll learn:
• Why review response and monitoring are important
• How to respond to Google reviews
• Examples of how to respond to Google reviews
• How to respond to positive reviews
• Positive review response examples
• How to respond to negative reviews
• Negative review response examples
• How to respond to a fake review
• How to respond to a fake review example
Why Review Response and Monitoring Are Important
About 97 percent of consumers are reading not just the reviews but also the responses. Yes, they expect businesses to answer customers’ feedback – from the positive and negative to specific ones like Facebook, Yelp and Google review responses.
Here are four reasons it’s important for your brand or business to focus on responding and monitoring your online reviews:
- Gain People’s Trust
Knowing how to respond to reviews is an advantage because it shows prospects that you care. A Harvard Business Review study found that overall ratings increased when users saw companies respond to reviews. A 4- or 5-star rating could boost your reputation and, in turn, your conversion.
- Bolster Local Rankings
Time to take your Google review responses up a notch. Customer reviews and ratings are considered a local search engine optimization (SEO) ranking factor (Moz, 2017). This is echoed by Courtney Quigley, Rize Reviews’ reputation consultant: “Google prioritizes listings that have engagement (responses) from a local visibility standpoint.” If you have a brick-and-mortar business, a good or bad review response can help improve your visibility when consumers in your area search for your product or service.
- Cultivate Positive Branding
Don’t forget about the customers writing the reviews. Those who have written negative reviews expect a reply within a week. Unfortunately, in a survey, 63.3 percent said they never heard back from businesses. This is your chance to leave a positive impression and forge a genuine connection with your customers.
- Foster Customer Relationships
Speaking of connection with customers, a negative or positive review response sends the message that you value them and their opinions. You can even learn how to respond to bad reviews and turn things around if the two-way conversation ends in a resolution.
How To Respond to Google Reviews
On local search engine results pages (SERPs), Google can pull and show your information to users. Your Google review responses may be visible to them, driving them to visit your site or your physical store.
Aside from positive reviews, you can learn how to respond to negative reviews on Google with our step-by-step guide:
1. Sign in to your Google My Business account. Here are two ways to do this:
• Desktop: Go to google.com/business.
• Mobile: Download and open the Google My Business app.
2. Respond to reviews.
• Desktop: If you have a single location, select Reviews from the options in the left panel. For multiple-location businesses, choose first the location you want to manage. Pick a review you want to reply to and tap Reply. Write your reply and hit Post reply.
• Mobile: Click on Customers in the bottom menu. Select the Reviews tab, choose a review to engage, type your response and then press Send.
Examples of How To Respond To Google Reviews
Consider this eCommerce example of how to respond to a bad Google review, which underscores taking responsibility even if the issue is not your fault:
Hi [Customer Name],
Thank you for your time. We appreciate you reaching out to us about your concern. On behalf of the [brand, team or department name], I apologize for the delay in the delivery of your order. Your satisfaction is our highest priority so we would like to assure you that your package was prepared and sent on [target date]. Once it’s handed over to the courier, however, we no longer have control of the actual date of arrival to your address. Still, we offer to help track your item/s. Please contact [name] at [contact detail] to discuss how we could further assist you.
Jane Doe, Customer Happiness Manager
If you have no idea how to respond to a Yelp review or Facebook review, you may derive your response from this example of how to respond to negative reviews on Google.
How To Respond to Positive Reviews
If you have an idea of how to respond to a good review, you’re off to a good start. Over time, you can develop a positive review response template that your team can use.
Here’s how to respond to positive reviews:
- Respond promptly. Respond within 24 hours if possible as this can help build trust, serve real-time customer feedback and even change a negative review.
- Personalize the response. While following the flow of your positive review response template, you can still respond with human warmth and words.
At Rize Reviews, Quigley says, responses are human-generated to ensure customization and variety. In other words, “You’ll be matched with a real writer – no bots.”
• Say thank you. Thank the customer who took the time to give their feedback. You may also respond to specific points in the review, such as agreeing to a compliment directed to an employee who helped the customer.
• Keep it short. A good how do you respond to a positive review example should be short enough to acknowledge the reviewer and show you read their feedback.
• Use keywords sparingly. Deploying keywords is a lesser-known trick on how to respond to online reviews. But it can be done subtly, like when you’re thanking the customer for reviewing a certain product or telling them to check out a related item or service.
• Share the review with your team or the world. Learning how to respond to a good review includes passing along the compliments to your team, especially the concerned employee, and embedding selected reviews on your site for everyone to see.
Positive Review Response Examples
Based on the steps above, you can craft your custom positive review response template.
Here’s a real one Quigley’s team has used for a business in the service industry:
Hi [Reviewer Name]!
Thank you so much for your kind review! We are happy to hear we were able to assist you with your roofing needs and get the job done thoroughly each step of the way. Thank you again for your recommendation and for allowing us to serve you. Have a great day!
If you’re a small business in need of ideas, you can use this how do you respond to a positive review example as a guide:
Hi [Reviewer Name],
We appreciate your time spent on writing this review. As a family-run business in [your area], we value feedback from our customers.
[Employee name] thanks you for your kind words and hopes to be of service to you again when you visit our store.
Looking forward to seeing you out here. Thank you for your patronage!
Other positive review response examples may include details particular to customers’ experiences. You can also switch the tone from lighthearted to serious – whatever fits your brand and industry! So, what do you think? Can you add your own how do you respond to a positive review example to the list?
Next, let’s look at how to respond to a bad review example and the steps it involves.
How To Respond to Negative Reviews
Why bother to write a bad review response? According to Quigley:
Responding to positive AND negative reviews is important, but responses to negative reviews especially can help potential customers gain clarity on how you respond to unhappy customers. It also shows them that you take the time to make it right.”
How to respond to bad reviews and how to respond to a good review share similar steps. Negative review responses examples should also be short and personalized. Here are a couple of bad review response steps to consider:
- Say thank you AND apologize. If possible, step out, calm down and organize your thoughts before replying. Once you’re typing, don’t make a big fuss out of your apology. Instead, show that you sympathize with the customer and assure them you’re ready to take responsibility and make things right.
- Continue the conversation offline. Politely ask the customer if you can take the conversation offline if you can’t resolve the issue in the reviews section.
Negative Review Response Examples
In the how to respond to a bad Google review section, we have enumerated one of the most effective negative review response examples in our arsenal.
Here’s one more example to help you put out fires when necessary:
Hi [Reviewer Name],
We apologize for the miscommunication regarding your appointment day and time and for the difficulty you’ve experienced with call wait times. We would like an opportunity to help you directly with your claim and turn this experience around for you. If you could please send us a message with the address associated with your warranty and claim number to [contact email], we will do everything we can to get this fixed for you as soon as possible.
Here’s another, this time teaching you how to respond to a Yelp review that sounds more like a complaint:
Hi [Customer Name],
Thanks for telling us about this issue. We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience we caused you while dining in our restaurant last weekend. Your experience matters to us, and rest assured that we’re taking this mistake to heart and using it to improve our service.
We also hope you visit us again and give us another chance to serve you better. Here’s a 15% off voucher you can claim when you swing by any of our branches.
How To Respond to a Fake Review
So you’ve gathered some tricks on how to respond to bad reviews, but how do you deal with fake reviews? Based on 2018 studies, 79 percent of consumers encountered fake reviews in the past year, but 84 percent of them could not tell the difference.
It’s up to you to spot the fake reviews and apply everything you know about how to respond to reviews. Watch out for some of their characteristics, so you can decide how to respond to, say, a bad Google review that’s fake:
• The reviewer’s user profile is new, may be unverified and linked with similarly suspicious accounts;
• The reviewer has written a barrage of bad reviews within a short time period;
• The reviewer speaks in the third-person or in a detached way, e.g., for a hotel review: “my husband went on a business trip” vs. commenting on the space, bed, bathroom, food, room service, etc.; and
• There are no linked purchases to the account (an absolute red flag!).
So, how to respond to negative reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook and other sites when they turn out to be fake? Our online reputation management experts say:
- Report or flag the review. The abovementioned review sites have a system for flagging harmful content.
- Reply professionally. Maintain your cool and apply the tips you’ve learned on how to respond to online reviews. Thank the reviewer for their time and respond to specific points in the feedback.
- Monitor reviews. This is where review monitoring enters. Employ tactics that let you earn more positive reviews, which can bury the fake bad reviews. You may also address the presence of fake reviews by informing your real customers about the situation.
How To Respond to a Fake Review Example
Like in our how to respond to a bad review example, you may respond using this template.
Of course, do take note that the how to respond to a fake review example should not include some elements found in the how to respond to a bad review example, such as offering a discount voucher.
The Next Step
Through our discussion, we hope you have begun to understand the significance of ALWAYS responding to positive AND negative reviews. Use the provided review responses examples to ramp up your review management system immediately. We’ve laid out everything you need to navigate the engaging yet challenging world of online reviews.
If you’re inclined to do it yourself, check out how one-stop-shop tools like the Rize Reviews dashboard can make responding to reviews on major platforms easy. This spares you from painstakingly going through each step of how to respond to a Yelp review, Facebook review or Google review.
And if review management becomes too time-consuming, Quigley says that employing a member of the Rize team to respond on your behalf saves you time. We offer review response, monitoring and other services that streamline the processes for busy yet smart businesses through the power of our reputation management software.
Rize review response also includes strategies unique and custom to each client,” added Quigley. “Perhaps you have keywords you are working on for SEO and want those words included in responses, already have review response templates you like to use or want to approve all responses before they go out – we work with your vision and brand voice to ensure the review responses are genuine and align with your goals.”
It’s a win-win with Rize Reviews and you as our client. Call us today at 866.325.0303 to take on your next most significant step toward reaping the benefits of responding to online reviews.
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