The Ultimate Review Response Guide

October 10, 2017

If you have been paying attention, you have noticed that we have put out rules on how to respond to every type of review. Negative, neutral, positive, non-verified, fake, we have guidance for them all! SureCritic thought it might be nice for admins to have a go-to list of helpful tips for responding to reviews. One big list for you to refer to if there are any hesitations or questions. Some of the advice can be applied to any review. So without further ado, here is your complete response guide:

Act quickly
There is no time to waste when it comes to reviews! Do not put it off! The longer you wait, especially with negative reviews, the worse a situation could get. Replying to a review sooner rather than later also shows your business’s dedication to the customer’s feedback. A company that responds to the reviews infrequently will present a notion of inconsideration toward the customer experience.

Show your gratitude
Always, always thank the reviewer for taking the time to give any feedback at all. There is actually a small percentage of customers that will find time to leave a review, no less the customers who have a neutral outlook!

Pick out the positives
Touch on any positives the customer may have mentioned or if you are aware of their experience personally. Your response could easily tip the customer in one direction or another. Any personal touch can strengthen their chances of returning to your business.

It’s business, not personal, make sure it stays that way
Remember, negative reviews, especially, are likely written in the height of frustration. Snide comments are directed at the company, not at the person replying. The best option is to respond in a calm, professional tone.

Take ownership
You’re representing the company! Acknowledge the reviewer’s concern. Customers want to be heard! It is smart to let the customer know that you hear them and if your company could have done better, say so!

Stick to the facts
Be honest and truthful about the situation and your business. Provide insight a customer may not have been aware of on their own if necessary. Were you short staffed? Was your internet down? These are all factors that could affect a customer’s experience that they may not have been previously cognizant of.

The whole world is watching
Consider the prospective customers when replying. If you wouldn’t want your mama to read the words you’re using, probably best not to use them. A tone of voice can be easily misinterpreted, double check that your response comes across appropriately!

Present a real solution
If there is reasonable action to be taken, do it! Show initiative and take charge in ensuring an experience is a good one! Since this is in the public domain, others will be keeping a watchful eye on what your next step is!

Further compensation does not need to be your first move
Sometimes a simply apology and explanation could resolve any situation. Weed out the customers who may just be trying to get something out of you. But remember! “It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.” If you need to offer compensation to keep a customer, there is always a plan b!

Invite them back
A customer may return on their own but the chances of that occurring can increase with a personal invitation. If they highlighted that great BBQ sandwich they ordered, remind them that you will have it waiting for them at their next visit. If they mentioned the sandwich was a little cold, let them know it will not happen again.

Highlight company values
Being able to express what your company is about shows confidence as well as reassure the customer they should know to expect what your company values. If there is any doubt in the reviewer’s mind, letting them know your company values can ease that suspicion.

Be the conductor
The great part about  reviews is that you can take the reins on what will happen next. Your response could nudge that customer into a repeat customer or keep them in hesitation. As long as your response is helpful and genuine, you should be able to keep them comin’!

Use SEO Keywords
Reviews boost your SEO because they naturally include keywords related to your business. But! This is also a great opportunity for you to aid your SEO as well! Mentioning your own business in your reply is a great way to do this. “Our team here at (enter business) …” or “Thanks for choosing (enter business) …”

Share, share, share!
Further nudge your SEO by sharing the review not only on social channels and your website, but also to your employees. Everyone likes hearing about delighted customers knowing they took part in that merriment and are a part of a company that receives positivity.

Learn from it
Above all, feedback is what helps you learn more about your company. How it is represented, how customers respond to your service, etc. Take suggestions into consideration because your brand is no longer what you tell consumers it is; it’s what consumers tell each other it is.

As for fake/non-verified reviews..
If you know without a doubt that the review is fake:

Find out how to flag or report it
Review sites have their own terms of service or FAQs that could give you more information on what your next step should be. Many times you are able to flag the review to have it removed or marked as spam.

Don’t bother replying to the review
If you can flag the review for removal, don’t waste your time and energy on replying to the fake review. Throwing the review in the trash is the easiest way and you won’t have to worry about it again!

If you are having trouble detecting if a review is fake see this blog.

If you aren’t entirely sure the review is fake:

Check to see if that exact review appears on another site
A quick copy and paste into a search engine can tell you right off the bat if a bot or a mischievous person is posting this on multiple sites. If you find this to be correct, then definitely report the review!

Calmly respond to the review
Stick to the facts that you know. You don’t have any record of doing business with this person. Be honest and truthful but sincere. The person could easily have clicked on the wrong business to review. (There has definitely been evidence of that happening in the past.) It is also a great idea ask the reviewer to reach out to you directly if they have any concerns!

One last thing to touch on…
Asking for reviews will ensure the focus is not on any fake reviews. Building your online presence will guide customers to see your business in the proper light! Not sure how to ask? Don’t worry, we have a guide for that too! 🙂