Responding to Online Reviews in 4 Easy Steps

Responding to Online Reviews in 4 Easy Steps

Business, Member Reviews

Posted November 11, 2019

Online reviews are critical to the success of a local business, with nearly 90% of consumers only considering purchasing from a business if they have a star rating of 3 or above. Responding to online reviews is another critical piece in not only building a positive online presence, but also in encouraging other consumers to leave their feedback and engage with your business. How does a business respond to online reviews? Do positive online reviews need to be responded to at all? How do you respond to a negative review? Don’t know where to start? I’m here to help!

Let’s start with the fun ones first, the positive reviews. Responding to positive reviews is just as important as responding to negative reviews. However, many businesses wonder why. If a good customer leaves a glowing five-star review, it can’t get any better than that, right? Actually, it can. Responding to a positive review is an easy way to engage with happy customers that benefits both your brand identity, and your one-to-one relationship with that customer. Remember, online reviews and review sites are public, so the positive conversations that happen about your brand here can do wonders for your business! Actively creating, and engaging with, positive online conversations about your brand and the local community can encourage others to participate in that conversation and generate more buzz and visibility for your business. More importantly, it affects search rankings. By replying properly, you can improve the SEO ranking of the review, and help the review show up in search results for a business. So how can your business hit your review responses out of the park and get in some good marketing?

Step 1: Thank the customer for the positive review and be specific.
It’s the polite thing to do. If a customer gave you a compliment in real life, you would say thank you. It’s only polite. And with an online review, the compliment is public. So be extra nice! Ensure the reviewer knows a real person is behind your reply by thanking them for something specific they said. “Thanks for leaving a review and mentioning our Spa Director, Paige. You’re right, she is enthusiastic!”

Step 2: Use the business name and keywords in your response to the good review.
Using the business name, category and location in your response will help the positive reviews appear in the search results. “The team here at Planet Beach spray & spa in Covington is thrilled to hear such good feedback, and we’re proud to be your community’s one stop shop for relaxation, health, and wellness!”

Step 3: Add a little marketing to your review response.
Your reply is public and will be read by others, including future customers, so throw in some marketing! Mention a behind-the-scenes reason they had a great experience, or a new feature or promotion. “Have you tried the new Planet Beach app? Count calories, make appointments, earn rewards, and more!”

Step 4: Invite customers to do something in your response.
Ask the customer to return, use another service or spread the word. “Next time you’re here, you should try the HOTWORX!” “We hope to see you again soon, and bring a friend!”

With these easy steps you are well on your way to having some great, positive conversations on your online review pages! Now, it’s time to discuss the not so fun part, the negative reviews. Unfortunately, you can’t just ignore a bad review until it goes away.  In fact, ignoring an unpleasant review can make things worse! Dealing with negative reviews doesn’t have to be hard, and it can even be leveraged as a marketing and branding opportunity. Remember, you’re not just replying to the one reviewer. You’re speaking to everyone who reads this review, including potential future customers. Replying is your opportunity to turn things around. If a customer brought a complaint to you in person, you would try to make it right. The same goes for online reviews. Replying shows other readers that you are not shady or neglectful to feedback and have taken steps to ensure this problem won’t happen to the next customer. The best thing to do when you receive a bad review is to react quickly and strategically. Here’s how your business should respond to negative reviews and make the most out of a less-than-pleasant situation.

Step 1: Apologize and sympathize in your response to the negative review.
Acknowledge the customer’s concerns. Even if they are unfounded, show sympathy that they had a bad experience. “I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience.”

Step 2: Insert a little marketing in your response to the bad review.
Explain what your customers usually experience. “We’re normally known for our exceptional attention to detail, and we regret that we missed the mark.”

Step 3: Move the conversation offline.
Provide contact info with someone at the business so they can discuss the problem in person. “My name is Paige and I am the Owner. If you’d like to discuss this further, please contact me

Step 4: Keep your response simple, short and sweet.
Don’t go into too much detail or ask any questions. This will prevent saying something that might cause the upset customer to add more negative feedback by replying to the review. Three sentences for your whole reply is a good rule of thumb.

*Don’t include the business name or relevant search keywords.
You don’t want this review showing up in search results!

Now get on your business’s Yelp, Facebook, and Google pages, and let’s get responding!

Written by: Paige Stuart, Planet Beach Brand Manager & Franchisee

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