Reviews. 

We’ve talked about them before.
We love em’
We hate em’
We realize the value in them.

So how do you properly address reviews in a world where people are constantly sharing their opinion on multiple platforms, at various times of the day?

While we might not have all the answers, we do have some advice on how to properly manage your digital review presence in a way that aligns with your business & brand.

 

 

First of all, let’s address why responding to reviews is important:

Whether we like it or not, reviews can have a massive impact on our business and it is always good to keep a finger on the pulse of how you are being perceived. 

“According to consumers, businesses that respond to reviews are seen as 1.7X more trustworthy than businesses that don’t (76% vs. 46%) (referenced from Google Small Business Support). Not only does responding to reviews support trust-building, but it also gives you an opportunity to humanize your business, show customers you care, and demonstrate professionalism.”

It is important to keep in mind that your responses are public, and once they are uploaded, it can be very hard to take them down. 

  1. Make sure your messages are short and clear. Try not to ask questions when responding. This isn’t a medium where you want to have a full-blown conversation. If you want to learn more about a “suspicious” or negative review, take it offline. Provide them with an email or another outlet that you can speak to them that is more private.
  2. Try not to be too “salesy”. There is an opportunity to position yourself with a few fun incentives. Ex. If someone positively reviewed one of your pizzas and described why they liked it so much, you could respond with “Thank you so much for that great review! If you like that ____, you are going to LOVE our ______ pasta/pizza, etc.)
  3. When you get a negative review, take a breath. It is easy to go in and light up a response, but remember, these are public, these do affect your ratings and you don’t want to appear unwilling to take feedback and learn.
  4. Apologize when appropriate, but also don’t take responsibility for things that weren’t your fault. Saying “We are sorry” assumes fault. It is usually easier to say “Thank you for your feedback, if you can please email us at __________ with the day you came in and a few more details about the incident or experience, we would be happy to review with our team/service, etc and look into it on our end.
  5. If it is a positive review, and there isn’t too much to comment back on, a simple “thank you” or acknowledgement can go a long way.

See some examples that Google has put together for how to respond to some negative reviews:

  • “Thank you for the feedback, Thea. I’m sorry to hear that you had to wait longer than expected for your table. Our goal is always to seat customers as quickly as possible, and we are always working to make our process even more efficient. We hope to have the chance to serve you again. – Sam (owner)”
  • “Hi Priya – I see you left a 1-star rating but no details about your experience with us. I would love to hear more about how we can serve you better. – K.L. (lead stylist)”
  • “John, thank you for bringing this to my attention. I looked into it and you are completely right – it took us 3 days to return your estimate, which is entirely too long and not in line with our promise of a 24-hour turnaround. This is not how we do business and we would appreciate the chance to make it up to you. Please give me a call directly. – Maria (manager)”
  • “Thanks for stopping by to check out our store! We do offer discounts a few times a year, which might bring our prices closer to the range you are looking for. Please join our mailing list if you’d like to be notified about our sales. – Joe (clerk)”
  • “Javier, I’m sorry to hear that you were frustrated by our 15-day return timeline. Unfortunately, we cannot change this policy, but we do try to make it clear with signs in store and on our website so that it won’t be a surprise to our shoppers. We hope you’ll shop with us again. – Sandra”

The takeaway: reviews are important for building trust and credibility for your business. They allow other new or current guests to see a glimpse into your brand tone and voice, see suggestions from others, and they truly help your SEO and google ranking. While you can’t be everything to everyone, if you choose to make answering reviews a priority, find a site or two that you want to add to your list, and make sure you respond consistently – whether that be trip advisor, yelp, doordash, uber, etc. We suggest making your Google reviews a priority, then potentially funnel into a few of the others, taking into consideration that third party delivery apps do prompt guests for reviews, and if you respond regularly, your conversion funnel could positively increase.