Reviews are one of consumers’ most trusted ways of deciding which products and services to purchase. With 98% of consumers saying they read online reviews for local businesses, knowing how to respond to positive reviews and negative reviews can reap significant benefits for your business.
How do you respond to positive reviews online? How and when should you respond to negative online reviews? Should you respond to all online reviews? We’ll cover all of these questions and provide five steps to help you respond the right way to positive and negative reviews so you can strengthen your online reputation and grow your business.
How Do Negative Reviews Impact Your Business?
No one wants a negative review of their business, but that doesn’t mean negative reviews have a negative outcome. How you respond to negative reviews provides you the perfect opportunity to engage with customers, show them that you care, and take their feedback seriously.
It’s easy to take it personally when someone writes a negative review of your business. You’ve put a lot of hard work and time into building your business, but taking a step back and addressing the issue can help mitigate a potential blow to your business.
Negative reviews strongly impact consumer behavior (Website Builder report):
- 82% of shoppers specifically look for negative reviews
- 94% of consumers will not patronize a business due to negative reviews
- About 5–10% of consumers write reviews, influencing roughly $400 billion in e-commerce revenue
While these statistics can be scary, there is a silver lining. Negative reviews create buzz around your brand, increasing sales with increased product awareness when handled the right way.
Remember, a few negative Facebook and Google reviews make your brand more relatable and allow you to interact with customers directly. It’s a chance to turn a negative experience into a positive experience and show potential customers that you care and take feedback seriously.
Impact of How You Respond to Positive Reviews Online
Most businesses focus on responding to negative reviews and ignore positive reviews, but how you respond to positive reviews is just as important.
A positive review is a compliment. If someone told you they liked your new haircut, you would say “thank you.” The same holds for positive online reviews; you want to thank customers for taking the time to write a Google review, for example, and letting others know what they like about your business.
More than a third of consumers (34%) only leave positive reviews compared to only 7% of consumers who only leave negative reviews, according to BrightLocal. This is a substantial portion of your customer base that you can positively interact with while building brand loyalty.
Building brand loyalists increases sales revenue with your current customer base. It is also essential to your marketing strategy. With 81% of customers trusting recommendations from friends and family over company recommendations, loyal customers provide you with trusted brand exposure and how to get more customer reviews at no additional cost.
Should You Respond to All Customer Reviews?
Before responding to bad reviews, you want to decide if it holds merit. Say a Mediterranean restaurant got a one-star review because the reviewer couldn’t order pasta.
Since the menu is clearly posted on the website, the review lacks credibility. These types of reviews don’t require a response. You should flag and remove the review if possible.
On the other hand, if the review is credible, you should take accountability. Apologize for the issue and invite them to reach out via email or phone to further discuss the issue and resolution. Almost every review is an opportunity to build brand loyalty.
Google and Facebook rate and rank businesses based on how long it takes for them to respond to inquiries and reviews. So, responding to most, if not all, reviews in a timely manner can even help boost your business’ visibility. Additionally, recent activity on your My Google Business page improves your rankings, whether it’s making a post or responding to reviews.
5 Steps on How to Respond to Positive and Negative Reviews
Regardless of where your customers are leaving reviews, whether Google, Yelp, Facebook, Amazon, or Bing, you can capitalize on good reviews and mitigate negative reviews.
You want to respond to negative and positive reviews as soon as possible. Taking too long to respond to reviews will come off as an afterthought and insincere.
Here are five tips you can use when responding to positive and negative reviews.
1. Empathize & Show You Care
Whether you’re responding to a positive or a negative review, you want to start things off with a positive tone. Address them by name and thank them for taking the time to write a review. Reiterate their concern and propose a resolution. Even if a customer doesn’t respond positively, you show others you tried and care.
2. Seize the Opportunity
While it’s easy to get defensive of a negative review, the customer is letting you know something isn’t working with a product or service. Refrain from snapping back, thank them for writing, and then fix the issue.
On the other hand, a positive review shows what you’re doing right. Again, thank the customer and begin building a relationship by asking for further feedback, product reviews, and offering loyalty discounts and promotions.
When responding to reviews you should also be mindful of including keywords that are important for your business. You may want to thank the customer for their review of your business by saying “Thank you for your five-star rating and review of Business Name…“. You may also want to specifically reference what they reviewed. If you are a taco truck owner, you may say “Thank you for choosing Business Name. We are thrilled that you enjoyed your chicken tacos.” This allows you to gain some SEO keyword advantages while you connect with your customers.
3. Acknowledge and Correct
We keep saying it, but how you respond to positive and negative reviews matters more than the review itself. Be honest and own up to any concerns raised. A genuine apology goes a long way; let them know how you’re addressing the issue and offer a discount or other benefits to re-experience your business.
4. Move to Private Message (When Needed)
While you should respond to reviews publicly on the platform posted, it’s ok to move a conversation to a private forum. Whether you choose to resolve the issue on a phone call, video chat, email, or a direct message, make sure to provide clear contact details such as a phone number or email address.
5. Outsource the Task
As noted earlier, a business needs to immediately respond to positive and negative reviews. A timely response can be difficult, especially for small businesses, when you have a limited team and other business needs to address at the same time. And, keeping our emotions in check can be difficult when we’re close to the situation.
For these reasons, outsourcing online review responses is the way to go for many brands and businesses. An online reputation management agency can respond quickly to positive and negative reviews without that emotional connection while finding the valuable insight to turn reviews into opportunities.
At New Path, we help businesses create, manage, and grow their online reputation. We believe that a company’s online presence is one of its most powerful tools for marketing and connecting with customers and potential customers on a more personal level.
Understanding who your customers are, how they interact with your business, and receiving genuine and honest feedback is not only great for marketing, but it can help you innovate and better serve your customers.