<img alt="" src="https://secure.wire0poor.com/215720.png" style="display:none;">
Request a Demo Sign In
June 28, 2024

5 Non-Negotiable Review Response Rules

Effectively manage your business's online reputation with these review response best practices.

At Widewail, we've responded to over 1 million reviews, gaining valuable insights along the way. 

In that time, we've learned that trust is essential to maintaining a strong online reputation for your business. 

In a world where consumers are increasingly wary of online content due to spam and phishing attempts, building trust has become more critical than ever for business owners. 

Review management offers a unique opportunity to cultivate this trust. By actively managing and responding to customer feedback, you can:

  1. Strengthen relationships with existing customers
  2. Enhance overall customer engagement
  3. Boost your online reputation
  4. Drive business growth

To help your business excel in review management and build a stronger online presence, we've identified five essential rules for crafting effective review responses. These guidelines will help you maximize the impact of your customer interactions and solidify your reputation as a trustworthy business.

5 Non-Negotiable Review Response Tips

1. Be Prompt 

Things online move fast. Reviews (and how your team handles them) are no exception. 

Set a goal to respond to all reviews—positive and negative—within 24-48 hours of receiving them. This demonstrates engagement and attentiveness while making customers feel valued. 

For negatives especially, prompt response increases the likelihood of being able to work with the customer to resolve things. When handled appropriately, negative reviews have the potential to become growth opportunities for your business

The sooner you deal with a problem, the sooner you can help resolve it. Use negative feedback to learn from your mistakes and make things right for your customers. 

Bonus Tip: Wait 3 days before responding to spam reviews. This gives your team time to address the situation and attempt to remove the review through reporting before publishing a response. 

2. Use a Personalized and Authentic Tone

Avoid generic, scripted responses. Customers know how to spot a bot, so they’ll appreciate feeling heard by a real person who acknowledges their specific comments.

When crafting responses, always use the customer's first name (avoid using screen or user names) and address any feedback they include directly. For example: 

Review Response Tips

Bonus Tip: If the reviewer mentions a staff member, include their name in your response. Staff is the leading cause of positive automotive reviews. Taking the time to include details like these in responses is a way to connect with your customers on a deeper level.

3. Provide Solutions Without Taking Responsibility

Negative reviews can be tough to receive, but it’s essential to remain objective and empathetic in how you handle them. 

Online reviews only provide one side of the story: the customer’s. 

While the customer’s feedback is important, outwardly admitting guilt online eliminates any chance for your team to share their input or for you to get more information as to what went wrong.

It’s always better to talk it out. Acknowledge the customer's frustration without taking immediate responsibility. Ask upset customers to contact you over the phone to discuss any issues directly. This will give you more control over the situation and avoid uncomfortable and public online interactions. 

Bonus Tip: Ask every customer for a review to receive authentic and genuine customer feedback. While it may seem easier to only engage with happy customers, this practice is not rewarded by Google and over time, will have a negative on your local search ranking and online reputation. Cherry-picking review opportunities, otherwise known as review gating, will only have negative effects down the line. 

4. Keep it Professional 

In the face of intense negative feedback, it’s crucial to remain professional. By maintaining a calm and measured approach, even when your business’ integrity is questioned, you protect your brand’s reputation and demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction. For instance:

Review Response Rules 2

Effective communication is vital and can significantly impact your business’s reputation. Many customers leave reviews during peak emotional moments. It’s always best to rise above it and remember that effective communication is your best chance at resolving an issue. 

Bonus Tip: Communication is an essential component of the customer experience—it’s the #3 driver of negative reviews in the multifamily industry. By investing in stronger communication practices, you can mitigate negative experiences for your customer base and ensure a more clear outlining of expectations in the future.

Your online interactions can significantly impact your company’s reputation and customer relationships. Every review response, comment, or message reflects your brand’s values, professionalism, and customer service quality. 

This is even more true for multi-location businesses, representing an entire brand. 

By providing your team with review response guidelines, you ensure uniform practices across the board, which keeps things professional, consistent, and on brand, regardless of which team member is responding. 

Consistency is key to maintaining brand integrity and customer trust through review responses. Here are some general tips to include in your response guidelines:

  • Use the reviewer’s first name
  • Keep responses concise
  • Don’t get emotional
  • Don’t take responsibility
  • Be appreciative
  • Encourage offline communication
  • Respond to every review
Bonus Tip: Monitor responses for quality control and use them as training opportunities for your team. If multiple customers are having X problem, make a plan with your team to correct it moving forward. Similarly, follow up on any reported negative interactions to ensure they don’t recur.

Effective review management is essential for building trust and standing out in today's digital marketplace.

By adhering to these five review response rules–prompt responses, personalized communication, solution-focused approach, professionalism, and brand consistency– you can turn customer feedback into growth opportunities for your business.

Stay responsive, be authentic, and let your dedication to the customer experience shine through in every online interaction. 

Free Book  56 Review Response Examples and Templates Read Now

Tag(s): Review Response

Ellie Guyon

I'm a Vermont local and graduate of UVM where I studied English, Global Studies and the Creative Arts. Outside of my Review Response Specialist role at Widewail, I take on projects with local arts groups as a writer, performer/director, and musician. I am an avid reader and I enjoy collaborating on all things creative.

U3GM Blog Post Comments

Other posts you might be interested in

3 Reasons Prospects Don’t Trust Your Reviews

5 min read | July 12, 2024
Why prospects might not trust your reviews and how to build credibility. Personalize responses, maintain review frequency and embrace negative feedback for authentic trust...
Ellie Guyon Review Response Specialist

How Smart Dealers Build a Head-Turning Reputation with No Wasted Effort, Backed by Data

6 min read | July 12, 2024
Smart dealers build their reputations using data-driven strategies. Learn to maximize positive reviews and minimize negative feedback in automotive sales and service.
Jake Hughes Director of Marketing

Use Reviews to Build Your Multi-location Brand

5 min read | July 10, 2024
Build a strong brand across multiple locations by effectively managing online reviews. Learn strategies to align locations, improve customer experience, and boost reputation.
Emily Keenan Content Marketing Specialist

Local Marketing Insider

Bite-sized, to-the-point, trend-driven local marketing stories and tactics.