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Turning Monologs Into Dialogs: Why You Need to Respond to Your Online Business Reviews

Business reviews are a go-to for so many people who want to find out about small businesses today. Here’s why it’s so important that you reply to your reviews.

Online reviews are essential to the success of your business. In fact, surveys show that online reviews impact 67.7 per cent of all purchasing decisions.

Clearly, it’s important to gather reviews from your customers. But, did you know that it’s also important to respond to your customer reviews? Even the negative ones?

Read on to learn more about the importance of engaging with your customers and responding to all of your business reviews, both positive and negative.

Why Should You Respond to Business Reviews?

Responding to online reviews is an essential customer service technique. When you respond to a review, you send several important messages to your customers, including the following:

Let Customers Know You’re Listening

First, you show them that you do actually take their opinions into account.

Many people are hesitant to read reviews because they don’t think anyone is actually going to read them.

Responding to reviews gives you an opportunity to prove that you care about their experience and value customer satisfaction.

Show Customers You Can Handle Criticism

A response also shows that you’re willing to listen to and accept criticism. There’s nothing more unflattering than an individual (or business) that refuses to accept any kind of critical feedback.

By responding (appropriately, of course) to negative reviews graciously, you’ll send a positive message to current and potential customers about your willingness to grow and evolve as a business.

Improve Your Search Engine Rankings

Responding to online reviews is also good for your business’s search engine ranking.

Search engines like Google will reward businesses that engage with their customers and respond promptly to feedback.

If you need help boosting your SEO strategy, you might want to start replying to customer reviews. 

The Best Way to Respond to Business Reviews

Of course, there’s a right and a wrong way to respond to online reviews.

It’s easy to let your emotions get the better of you and reply with a hostile or aggressive remark when someone leaves a negative review. It’s also easy to gloss over positive reviews.

Read on for some tips that will help you respond appropriately to all kinds of online reviews:

Use the Customer’s Name

Whenever you’re responding to a review, it’s helpful to establish a connection between yourself and the person leaving it.

The easiest way to do this is by using their name in the introduction.

Something as simple as “Hello, Sally” or “Hi, Mark” can show your customers that you care about them as individuals. 

Express Your Gratitude

Be sure to let the person who left the review know that you appreciate them taking the time to comment.

Remember to also change the way you thank them, too.

If someone looks at your review page and sees the same generic wording on every single review, they’re going to be less impressed than if every response is personalised.

Match the Tone of Positive Reviews

If you’re responding to a positive review, it’s important to match the tone of the reviewer.

If they’re extremely enthusiastic about their experience (think multiple exclamation points and emojis), echo that same enthusiasm in your response.

Mirror the Details Used in the Review

In addition to matching the tone of the review, it’s also important to mirror the details the reviewer used.

This helps you personalise your response.

For example, if someone leaves a comment raving about a great haircut they got from a specific stylist at your salon, be sure to include that stylist’s name when you reply to the review. 

Provide Value

If you can, include some kind of value in your response as well.

You don’t necessarily have to give something away for free. Instead, you might want to consider providing information about a specific service you offer or make a suggestion for the next time they visit your establishment. 

For example, if someone left a review complimenting a delicious item on your menu, suggest that they try it next time with a specific cocktail or glass of wine.

Apologise and Sympathise

If someone has left a negative review about your business, respond with an apology for their bad experience.

Acknowledge their concerns (whether or not they’re founded) and show sympathy. 

Address the Typical Customer Experience

It can also be helpful to include information about the typical experience your customers have.

Be careful not to minimise this customer’s experience, but let them know that it’s an outlier.

You might say something like, “We’re so sorry you had a bad experience. We’re typically known for our prompt customer service.”

Offer to Take the Conversation Offline

Let the person who left the bad review know that you’re dedicated to making things right.

One of the best ways to do this is to offer to take the conversation offline or to continue it privately.

When you reply to their review, provide them with a phone number or email address they can use to reach you to discuss the specific problem they had with their service.

Keep Your Response Short and Simple

There’s no need to go on and on in your response to a review, be it positive or negative. Keep things short and simple (while still making sure the response is unique and personalised, of course).

Don’t Use Your Business Name in Negative Reviews

Using your business’s name in response to positive reviews can help to boost your search engine rankings.

If you use your business’s name when responding to negative reviews, though, it can hurt your rankings.

Remember, you don’t want your business’s name associated with negative comments.

Sign Off Thoughtfully

Always include a thoughtful sign-off when you finish responding to a review.

Something as simple as “We’ll see you again soon!” or “Can’t wait for your next visit!” is a great way to close the response.

Start Responding to Your Reviews Today

Clearly, responding to business reviews is important for establishing credibility and fostering loyalty.

Do you need help simplifying the process or collecting and responding to your reviews?

If so, subscribe to Rocket Review today.

We offer a variety of services and resources that make it easy for you to gather, respond to, and showcase customer reviews.