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Marketing 360® Blog

Important Tips On How to Respond To Online Reviews

Post By Scott Yoder | Reputation Management

Today, online reviews are a part of marketing for most businesses.  Often, business owners don’t like them – but they’re not going anywhere.  They’re part of the customer-driven reality of internet content.

Business owners usually have mixed feelings about reviews because it’s content about their brand that they can’t control.  Most customers have no vested interest in supporting a brand’s image.  They just say what they feel, often in blunt language.

As part of your reputation management strategy, respond to negative reviews and gain back an element of control with this content.  Follow the tips below and you can remedy the situation in a way that earns a level of trust beyond what you’d have had without the initial error.

Likewise, you’ll want to respond to positive reviews with thanks, particularly when the review mentions a specific benefit you offer.  This is an opportunity to communicate your value proposition outside the usual promotional context.

Reviews also provide useful feedback for your business.  Instead of being defensive and taking everything personally, look at negative reviews as a way to improve your service.  Build off positive comments so you can do more of what’s working.

Most importantly, use reviews as a way to motivate your staff to new levels of customer service excellence.  By far the best way to earn a positive online review profile is to consistently exceed people’s expectations.  Do that and the rest will take care of itself.

Tips On Responding to Negative Online Reviews

The best thing you can do to mitigate the impact of negative reviews is to respond to them.  Handle them the way you would a complaint brought to you in person – try to make it right.

Remember that you’re not just responding to the individual reviewer.  You’re speaking to everyone who will read the review.  This is a chance to show you respond to feedback and take steps to ensure the problem won’t be repeated with future customers.

#1.  Keep It Positive

Don’t turn a negative review into a public argument.  Respond like professional with a positive tone.  Apologize and acknowledge the complaint.  Be specific about how you intend to remedy the problem.

#2.  Insert Marketing Into Your Response

Do two things here.  First, note that it’s a rarity for this issue to occur.  Second, be specific about why your service is usually so excellent.  You’re as surprised as the reviewer that there was a problem.

#3.  Keep Your Response Short

When responding to negative reviews, less is more.  Don’t belabor the point or draw things out to where you come across as defensive.

#4.  Don’t Include Your Business Name

You don’t want negative reviews to rank higher in online searches, so avoid using your actual business name in the response.

#5.  Take It Offline

Provide contact info in the response if you need to rectify things personally.  Avoid a protracted online conversation that further airs out dirty laundry.

#6.  Ask For An Update

If you successfully deal with the complaint, ask the customer to go back and either update their response or remove the negative reviews.  Some of the best overall reviews are the ones that show you made a genuine effort to make things right.

Response to a Negative Review Example

Here is an example of a response to a negative review that’s detailed and leaning towards a rant.

negative review response

Tips On Responding to Positive Reviews

The best way to deal with negative reviews is to bury them with positive ones.  Many businesses don’t think to respond to positive reviews, but it not only shows you care, it creates more of the content you want to rank when some searches for reviews on your business.

#1.  Ask For a Review

Review profiles can lead towards negativity, even when the real-world service of the business is very good.  The reason is that with many types of businesses, consumers simply don’t think to leave reviews – unless they have a complaint.

Tilt things back in your favor by actively asking for reviews.  In person is best, but email and social media posts also work.  For example:

facebook reviews

#2.  Repeat the Positive Benefits

After thanking the reviewer, repeat the positive benefit they mentioned in their review.  In fact, try to delve into more detail so you slip that marketing message into the review.  Drive home the service or feature that made your customer so happy, and note how you hope to offer it them and all customers.

#3.  Repeat Your Business/Brand Name

Just the opposite of the negative review here.  Repeat your business name and service focused keywords to boost your positive review search rankings.

#4.  Include a Call to Action

Complete your response with a direct invitation for the customer to repeat their business.  Better yet, include info on any specials, deals, or events they may want to take advantage of next time.

Again, remember that this review isn’t just a response to one person.  Prospective customers are reading these, and in may ways, they are your real audience.  Lace a marketing pitch into the personal dialogue.

Response to a Positive Review

This response follows the steps nicely:

positive review response example

Online reviews – both negative and positive – offer more value than many businesses realize.  You can create content that has an authenticity your other marketing materials can’t match.

Consumers today expect to see reviews on most businesses they’re considering.  It’s customer-centric content that informs their purchase decision.  Treat this content with the importance it deserves.

When you do, you can get a genuine interaction that not only markets your business but really helps other customers make the right choices and offers you genuine feedback to improve your offer, like this:

review with update