The Right Way to Respond to Reviews

guidelines and best practices for responding to positive reviews

1. Respond to reviews in a timely manner.

Fast action tells your customers that you are listening and that their business is valued. A good goal is between 12-48 hours of the user leaving the review.

2. Thank the reviewer for their feedback.

Post a public response to happy reviewers when you can share an update or provide relevant suggestions to your customers. While it is not necessary to publicly thank every positive reviewer – a few messages here and there can reach (and make a big impact on) a large audience.

One thing to note: Certain sites, like Yelp, allow for private messaging. If you are simply thanking a reviewer for their positive feedback, Yelp recommends doing so in a direct message.

3. Use SEO tactics in your review responses.

Recite the business name, any location identifiers (city/state), and other keywords related to your business in response to positive reviews. You will want these reviews to rank in search, and overall help your Local SEO ranking.

4. Invite the user to do something.

This can be as simple as asking them to return, use another service you offer or spread the word to someone else who may need your product/services. Adding this additional detail is likely to remind them in the future of your company if a friend or family member asks, “Do you know of a place I can get…?”

5. Share the review (Spread the word!)

A positive review can be a great advertisement for your business. Increase the reach of the review by publishing it on your website or sharing the reviewer’s experience on relevant Social Media channels. Take advantage of this unique content by also including your best reviews in promotional materials for your business.

guidelines and best practices for responding to negative reviews

1. Respond to reviews in a timely manner.

Follow up as quickly as possible, especially when handling negative reviews. This fast action tells your customers that you are listening and that their business is valued.

2. Thank the reviewer for their feedback, but attempt to take negative conversations offline.

Publicly demonstrate what you’ve done to address a specific concern raised by a negative reviewer. Let the reviewer know if you’ve made an impactful change based on their feedback. Remember to be sympathetic and human with your customers, and invite the reviewer to follow up with you by phone or email to rectify the situation.

Or, if the site allows for private messaging, publicly acknowledge the negative review first by letting the reviewer know you are sending them a private message to learn more about the situation. This shows the public you are handling the issue without giving them the details.

3. Don’t use SEO tactics in your review responses.

Be careful to eliminate use of your brand name and keywords in response to negative reviews, since you don’t want these reviews ranking in search. Example, “I am sorry you had a bad experience at McDonalds’s in Springfield, Illinois….” These keywords can be scraped by search engines and possibly be displayed when a user searches for “McDonald’s Springfield Illinois” in a search engine.

4. Recognize that even bad reviews can be a good opportunity for your business.

People may not trust businesses that have ONLY good reviews; they may assume your reviews are fake or have been solicited. Showing that you are listening to your customers and are willing to work with them after a poor experience proves loyalty to your audience.

All customers have had a bad experience at some point. Appropriately handling a situation and reconciling with a disgruntled customer can allow you to shine against your competition.

5. Know when to take the next step on bad reviews.

Pay attention to Content Guidelines across listing sites. Particularly offensive, spammy, or unrelated reviews may violate certain guidelines and have grounds for removal from the site.

Publicly respond to a negative review promptly, even if you are attempting to have it removed due to violations. You don’t know how long it may take to have the content removed so it’s important to follow up as normal for any negative review.

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