Responding to customer reviews isn’t always easy.  For some, it’s an area of this business that’s like the cupboard under the stairs – ignored and cluttered with stuff that you trip over while you’re trying to get the vacuum out.

However, if you make a habit of ignoring reviews, then you’re missing out on big-time value. Instead, go for gold and think about these three simple ideas. 

  1. If you respond at all, you’re ahead of 90% of your competitors.
  2. If you respond promptly, you’re like the Olympic runner that just lapped your nearest rival.
  3. If you respond with a balance of the professional and the empathetic, your customers will love you and literally fight for you (OK, probably not literally … but they will stand up for you and champion your brand).

Start implementing these three tips and  you’ll turn your business into a  a customer-focused superhero team Before you know it, you and your biz will be flying around, cape fluttering majestically, doing all kinds of things your competitors can’t (underpants on the inside though, OK?). 

Why is responding to reviews so powerful?  Because it clearly demonstrates to your customers that you care and appreciate them. If there’s one golden rule to stick by, it’s to never, ever underestimate the power of showing people you care. Sounds fluffy but when your customers know you’re paying attention, it goes a long way to helping to build trust and loyalty. 

10 Tips to Improve Your Review Responses

Let’s drill down into the technical side of things with these 10 great tips for responding to online reviews.

  1. Always aim for a quick response.  This shows you’re proactive and appreciate their review. We suggest within 24 hours is the optimum to aim for (within 2 hours is better).
  2. Use their name.  It’s the simplest of personal touches and should never be underestimated. 
  3. Don’t be shy – always sign your name.  It shows there’s a real person at the other end who is accountable and responsive.
  4. Always respond publicly to reviews.
    1. If the review is positive/affirming, thank the reviewer, as it will encourage future feedback and shows you’re willing to engage with your customers. 
    2. If the review is negative/critical, meet them where they are by acknowledging the issue and their dissatisfaction, even if you don’t believe you are wrong. Consider how you would want to feel in their place, then try to aim to take the conversation offline so you can address their concerns and offer an appropriate solution. 
  5. Have a procedure in place that allows you to logically assess and evaluate any negative feedback. Learning from the feedback by effecting change necessary to improve is truly going to  fast track your success.
  6. Be transparent and honest – we all make mistakes! It’s OK to admit fault and be vulnerable, particularly when you commit to finding a solution.
  7. Ask questions and clarify their concerns. Repeat back their concern and ask them if you interpreted it correctly.
  8. If you don’t get a response to your initial reply, reach out again and try to re-engage. Do all that you reasonably can, then do a little more before considering if you have to let it go.
  9. Once you and the customer have both come to a resolution regarding the issue, request an update to the review. This requires finesse, but, ultimately, it’s about having the guts to ask for what you want (and, if you’ve solved the issue, then it’s also what you probably deserve). 
  10. All feedback, good or bad is so, so valuable, and should be recorded and used for staff training. It’s a great way to let your people know where the bullseye is.

There are multiple, nuanced layers to all of these steps, and it will take time for you and your team to operate with something akin to the grace of a Russian ballerina. Initially, you may bumble about like a drunken koala, but, if you make a point to incorporate training throughout the year you can hone your skills and make incremental improvements that yield massive results. 

So, take off your suit jacket, twirl it around in the air like a disco dancer and get to the business end where lies the fortune and the fame: connecting with your customers through their reviews.