You might think there’s no need to respond to positive reviews because they don’t spread across the internet and ruin your reputation like negative ones can do. However, responding to happy customers is more important than ever before.
- 71% of people are more likely to patronize a business that has responded to one of their reviews.
- Among those who read online reviews, 97% read companies’ responses to reviews.
- Businesses that respond to at least 25% of their reviews earn 35% more than those that don’t.
- Consumers spend up to 49% more at companies that respond to reviews.
As such, it’s vital that you respond to your reviews the right way.
Prioritize which reviews you will respond to
Ideally, you should respond to all your reviews, positive and negative. But, if you are swamped with responding to your negative reviews, you might not have time to reply to all your positive ones as well. This means you need to figure out a way to choose which reviews you should answer first.
Basically, you want to reply to reviewers who provide plenty of details about their experience with your company. Replying to these reviews is not only a nice way of rewarding someone for spending significant time and energy to say something nice about you, but it’s also a smart marketing move because detailed reviews are more trustworthy (PDF) and more likely to draw and keep viewers’ attention. This means your responses to these more engaging reviews will get more views as well.
Compare these two reviews:
When it comes to explaining what makes this business worth a visit, the first review isn’t as helpful as the second one, which lists many details, such as:
- What brought him in—The Sick Kids hospital day deal.
- The size of the pizza in the deal—Medium, which is a 14-inch pie.
- The price—$5 with tax.
- How much Dominos donates—$2.
- What flavor he ordered—Pepperoni.
- What he liked about the experience—The pizza was freshly made, crunchy, and chewy, and the restaurant was clean.
Therefore, if you only have time to respond to one of these reviews, you should prioritize responding to the longer one.
Best practices (with examples) for responding
Responding to positive reviews is a great way to impress potential customers, earn the loyalty of current ones, and increase the likelihood of getting more positive reviews.
To make the best possible first impression when responding, follow these guidelines:
1. Respond quickly
Waiting more than a day or so to respond to a review will frustrate the reviewer because reviewers usually expect companies to respond to their review within 24 hours. Moreover, if you respond quickly enough, you might be able to engage that customer in a live conversation that can provide you with valuable feedback about your business.
2. Be authentic and personable
Responding to reviews can be an effective way to build strong relationships with current and potential customers. However, you need to sound like a human, not a robot, to do so.
This means avoiding using boilerplate responses and customizing each message to address that individual’s unique experience. Some ways to be more personable include using the reviewer’s name and repeating the specific details he or she mentions in the review.
3. Thank the reviewer
A thankyou is a great way to drive home the message that you are grateful for your reviewer and his or her willingness to speak out on behalf of your business. Acknowledging people who leave good reviews also demonstrates that you care about all your customers, not just the ones that complain. As such, the focus of your message should be gratitude.
4. Be clear and concise
While it’s important to sufficiently express your gratitude and mirror the key points of the review, you need to ensure that you do so in a clear and concise way. After all, nobody wants to read an overly long response that lacks focus or organization.
To keep readers engaged with your message, you need to cut out any unnecessary words and zero in on your most important points.
5. Address specific details in the review
A good way to build trust with your customers is to mirror the details they mention in your response. This active listening technique proves that you are truly paying attention to what your customers are saying.
- Did the reviewer applaud your great customer service?
- Did he or she name an employee who was especially helpful?
- Did the customer talk about your great website?
If so, then you need to address these items in your reply.
6. Give back to the reviewer
The reviewer has done you a favor by taking the time to write a nice review. It’s only fair that you return the favor by offering this person something in exchange.
This doesn’t mean paying your reviewers for writing good reviews, as this might get you into trouble with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Instead, “giving back” means offering reviewers something they might value, like free advice, a heads up on a new service you will be providing, or other news about your company they might be interested in.
7. Promote your positive reviews
Good reviews are a powerful form of social proof that you can use to build trust and credibility, which will help you gain new customers. To accomplish this, you need to promote your positive reviews online.
Here are some of the most effective ways to spread the word about your amazing reviews:
- Share reviews on your business’s social media channels.
- Include reviews in your emails.
- Post reviews on your company website.
At ReputationDefender, for example, we highlight our positive reviews on our website’s About Us page, alongside several video testimonials.
What if your feedback is mixed?
Many 4- or 5-star reviews contain some negative comments, so it’s important to know how to address the bad alongside the good in your response.
In addition to following the best practices above, there are some specific guidelines you should follow regarding how you structure your response:
- Thank the reviewer.
- Repeat his or her positive comments.
- Briefly apologize for the reviewer’s negative experience.
- Conclude with something positive.
By organizing your message this way, you highlight the positive, address the negative (without dwelling on it), and end on a high note.
For more information
If you have any questions about responding to customer reviews, give us a call. We are happy to offer free consultations regarding your specific situation.
We also have several articles you can read to learn more about managing your online reviews: