Reviews FAQs: How Do I Respond to Reviews?

This is the second post in our Reviews FAQs series where we answer frequently asked questions about online reputation management.

Now that we’ve talked about how to monitor your online reputation, let’s talk about how to respond to reviews that you receive.

Review responses are often a customer’s first impression of you as a business owner. You want potential customers viewing your review sites to know that you read your reviews and care about your customers, both things that can come through your review responses.

Here are three steps for responding to reviews.

Step One: Determine if It’s Positive or Negative

Is the review positive or negative? This will help you determine what kind of respond to draft. We’ll talk more about whether or not you should respond to positive reviews later in the series.

Step Two: If It’s Negative, Identify the Complaint

If the review is negative, it’s important to figure out what the reviewer’s issue is – were they upset about the customer service, the wait time, or the service delivered? Once you’ve figured out their main complaint, you can start drafting a response.

Step Three: Draft a Response

Instead of replying directly to the review, draft it in a separate window or Word document. When drafting your review, remember:

  • Reviewers oftentimes just want to be heard – so acknowledging their inconvenience or apologizing for their experience can go a long way.
  • Don’t get defensive.
  • If applicable, outline steps your business will take to improve in the future.
  • Most importantly, take the review offline by inviting the reviewer to contact you directly so you can rectify the situation.

Once you’ve drafted your response, read through it a few times to make sure it has a professional and concerned tone. You may even want someone else within your business to read it.

Step Four: Post Your Response

Now that you have a response ready to go, you can post it!

Step Five: Follow Up

Once you post your response, you can follow up either by talking with the reviewer and finding a way you can improve their future experiences or by taking steps to improve your business if the review identified a reason you need to do so.

Reviews can provide valuable insight about your business, and responding to reviews in a positive way can help you win over customers who either had a negative experience or may not have done business with you based on your reviews.

Come back next week for the next blog post in our Reviews FAQs series – we’ll be talking about whether or not you should respond to positive reviews.

Stephanie Heitman

Stephanie is the Sr. Marketing Manager for USA TODAY NETWORK | LOCALiQ. She has experience in digital marketing, social media management, and content creation for SMBs. Stephanie specializes in helping businesses improve their online reputation and appreciate the impact social media and digital marketing can have on their brand. When she isn't researching the latest online marketing tips and trends, she enjoys watching reality TV with her husband and her dogs.

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