92% of consumers view online ratings and reviews before buying something, and 40% of them form an opinion of your business before contacting you.
When that many consumers rely on others’ opinions, the weight of online reviews is pretty heavy – and so is the way you respond to them.
On this page, we’ll take a look at why it’s so important to read and respond to your business’ online reviews, regardless of whether they’re positive or negative.
The power of online reviews
Online reviews are what speak for your business – usually before you can speak for yourself.
They allow potential customers to gauge how others feel about your products and services so they can see if you’re worth the money.
Over half of online consumers will select a business if it has positive reviews, which shows that those reviews have the power to funnel a significant amount of traffic to your website.
Negative reviews are just as important as positive ones. If your business has one to three bad reviews, you’ll likely lose about 67% of consumers. And if customers aren’t satisfied with your business, they’ll have no problem posting about their experience.
Since people expect the truth out of reviews, many reviewers can be brutally honest when it comes to business. Not to mention, customers usually feel pretty strongly about a bad experience.
So when you get a review, what should you do?
Should I respond to reviews?
The answer, in short, is yes. You should respond to both positive and negative reviews for many reasons. Google has confirmed that responding to online reviews improves your local SEO. This is crucial for local businesses like restaurants, dentist’s offices, and plumbers.
Reviews are a direct ranking factor for the “local pack” which is important for the success of local businesses since it’s the first thing that users see when entering local search queries. When a user is searching for “local plumbing services near me”, they are served the local pack as depicted below.
The local pack is a display of the top local businesses associated with the user’s search. The majority of users click through the local pack before moving further down the page. A business’s reviews are displayed on the local pack and the better the reviews the more likely the user will click on your posting. When users are shopping through the local pack, they look a the reviews to see how good they are and how the business responded to negative reviews. Responding to reviews is also important for non-local businesses.
Many businesses think it’s only necessary to reply to negative reviews, since it acts as a sort of damage control. But actually, you should also always reply to compliments you receive as well.
How to respond to positive reviews?
Positive reviews are always a boost for your business, especially because it shows that you’re running your business well.
Since reviews are visible to all Internet users, it’s beneficial to publically interact and connect with your customers. In doing so, you can provide a level of customer service, show that you care, and thank customers for their great feedback.
Not only is it courteous to respond, but it also allows you to simply and subtly market your business, while connecting and interacting with your customers.
Here are a few tips for responding to positive reviews about your business:
1. Be polite
Being polite shows professionalism and should always be a priority.
Thanking the customer for their feedback shows that you appreciate them sharing their encouraging experience.
Saying thank you for a review of any kind can go a long way.
2. Address the customer by name
If you’re taking the time to reply to a great review, also take the time to address the reviewer by name.
This adds a level of personalization to your reply and lets that customer know you care enough to talk directly to them.
It also helps to create an open dialogue with the customer to make them feel comfortable with replying or contacting you at a later time.
3. Use the name of your business and important keywords in your response
If you want your positive reviews to appear in search results, treat them like you treat your content.
When you reply, you should always use your business name along with some of your most important keywords. Doing so will help your good reviews to show up in search results for your keyword and business name.
It’s almost like free advertising!
4. Subtly market other products
Positive reviews are a great place to market other products that you think the customer would enjoy based on their review.
For example, if a customer was extremely happy with their new turquoise cotton throw pillows, you could suggest a blanket that is made of the same material or the same color.
This lets you provide assistance to your customer, which they’ll appreciate, while subtly marketing another one of your products.
5. Include an upcoming promotion
Review responses are also a great place to let the reviewer know about any upcoming promotions you have, especially if they pertain to the kind of product or service that someone reviewed.
If a customer reviewed the pillow from your “Holiday Home” collection, let them know that everything in the collection will go on sale next week.
It’s a great way to keep your business at the top of mind for that customer and others reading the review.
But since we talked about positive reviews, we also have to consider how to respond to negative reviews.
How to respond to negative reviews?
Something that all business owners dread, bad reviews can come without warning, even when you’re doing your best as a business.
You shouldn’t let bad reviews get the best of you though.
There’s a way to turn lemons into lemonade – by replying to negative reviews correctly.
1. Apologize for a poor experience
As a business, your first priority should be the satisfaction of your customers.
When they’re not satisfied, take the time to apologize that they weren’t happy with your product or service. You should also sympathize with their experience and show that you understand their dissatisfaction.
Not only will this reconcile with the upset reviewer, but it will also keep you from seeming defensive and show your professionalism.
2. Offer contact information
To keep the review thread from being too long, offer the negative reviewer your contact information so that you can talk more about their dissatisfaction.
This shows that you are willing to talk at length about their concerns privately while keeping it professional.
3. Reassure the customer
Reassurance is one of the best things you can offer to an unsatisfied customer.
If they are unhappy with a product for good reason, you can offer a refund or a replacement of the product. If you know you provided a bad experience, reassure the customer that you are taking steps to make sure that their next visit is improved.
Do you need help managing reviews online?
If your business needs help reigning in negative reviews and replying to positive ones, WebFX can help.
We have a whole team dedicated to managing your online reviews, and they can’t wait to help you!
Contact us today for more information and a free quote!