Review Management: To Respond or Not to Respond

February 21, 2023

Picture this: it’s Friday night and you have a craving for some Chinese takeout. The first thing you do is Google ‘Chinese food near me’. You see multiple results pop up on your screen. On one of the listings, you see an image of orange chicken that piques your interest so you click on it. It looks promising but you’re still not sure if this is the one. So you decide to go to the place that will either make or break your decision: the reviews. Sound familiar? 

Regardless of your industry, it is likely when a customer is searching for the products or services you offer they go through the same routine. In fact, 98% of consumers are likely to read reviews from a local business. While this is true, you can’t control what customers will say about your business in the reviews. But you can definitely control how to respond to each review. 

Responding to reviews, regardless of rating, will have a positive impact on your business’s online reputation. It not only shows that the company cares about the customer experience but also improves local ranking and SEO.

So how exactly should you respond to reviews? There are a few rules you need to follow.

Always Show Appreciation

With every review, positive and negative, it is always important to thank the customer for leaving a review. This might be counterintuitive for negative reviews, however, at the end of the day it is still a customer who has engaged with your business, so you should be appreciative. Most importantly, showing appreciation lets the customer know that their concerns and expectations matter which will make them more likely to do business with you again.

Be Direct and Personal

When responding to reviews, steer clear of stuffy and impersonal responses. Customers feel more appreciated when they feel like they are getting a response from a human, not a robot. You can start by addressing them by their first name according to their user profile. Also, reiterate the details they mentioned in their review in your response. 

For example, look at the response to this review:

5-star rating

The staff was very helpful and patient when helping me pick the perfect gift for my son. 

  • Jane Doe

Hi Jane,

Thank you for taking the time to leave this great review! It was our pleasure to help you find an awesome gift for your son. We hope he enjoyed it! We look forward to seeing you again.

Handle Negative Reviews Like A Pro

Every business is likely to deal with a negative review at least once. Instead of looking at this as bad for business, look at it as an opportunity to regain trust with your customers.

First, acknowledge their disappointment and apologize if necessary. No matter the situation, you want to let the customer know that their thoughts and feelings are valid and that you own up to any mistakes on the business’s part. There are instances where the business might not be at fault. It is still important to show empathy with the customer but there is no need to apologize for things that were out of your control. Above all, always keep it professional and respectful when responding.

After addressing the problem, seek to continue the conversation but take it offline. It’s a good practice to take any problems with customers offline to solve issues privately and prevent any more negativity towards your brand. Leave a manager contact the customer can reach out to and discuss how you can move forward and create a positive outcome for the customer. When you solve any problems a customer has voiced in a negative review they are more likely to delete the negative review or leave a positive one. However, even if the customer isn’t satisfied at the end of the transaction, responding kindly and professionally shows other customers that your business cares about the customer's experience.

Respond Promptly

With any review, positive or negative, it’s best to make it a habit of responding promptly. We recommend responding to reviews at least 24 hours after they are posted. This shows customers that you value their time and are thankful for the review. Responding quickly is even more important when responding to negative reviews. Not addressing negative reviews promptly can make the customer feel ignored thus escalating the problem. 

How you handle reviews is just as important as how you interact with customers through the sales process. You should always be attentive, timely, and appreciative. Following these guidelines will allow you to create more trust with customers and create a good reputation for your business.

Responding to customers can be a time-consuming process. If you don’t have the time or manpower to handle this important task, consider hiring a third-party agency such as SI EQ to take it off your plate. Contact us for a consultation today!



Written by Kennadi Harris
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