Here at Widewail we have always believed in the power of review response.
More than that, we’ve stressed the importance of responding to reviews in a genuine, human way. Doing so increases your review volume, improves your website’s visibility, and ultimately results in more business.
In this blog, we will discuss seven steps you can take to ensure all of your customers receive an authentic review response.
1. Respond quickly
Online review management should be a regular part of your business’s schedule. Whether you assign the task to a single employee or partner with a service provider that responds on your behalf, you shouldn’t allow reviews to go more than a few days without being answered.
Responding to happy customers quickly bolsters their positive impression of your business and makes them more likely to return.
For upset reviewers, waiting weeks to respond could cost you the chance to earn back their trust, or even reignite anger they had long forgotten. You must efficiently manage online reviews.
2. Handwrite responses
When was the last time you received a handwritten letter from a friend? Chances are you remember - you might have even kept it as a keepsake.
The personal nature of a handwritten note makes them stand out from the typical email or text message. While you can’t answer your reviews with ink and paper, it’s important to at least type out individual responses.
Automation and templates have their place, but taking the time and effort to craft a unique answer to every review will add an authentic touch to your online presence.
3. Refer to details in the review
Another way to prevent your responses from sounding like a machine is to repeat specific information from the reviews themselves.
Use the reviewer’s name, mention the people they worked with and the products they purchased, and bring up relevant upcoming sales.
Details like these prove that an actual human is reading the review, and considering that over 80% of customers prefer engaging with a human over a robot, that’s important.
4. Use keywords appropriately
According to Local SEO Guide, reviews with keywords are the second biggest SEO factor for determining the local pack. While business owners can’t control the content of their reviews, they can control the responses, which are also a major SEO opportunity.
Don’t take this as permission to pack your responses with every keyword that comes to mind. At worst, customers will assume that you’re more concerned with your website’s rank than their business. At best, they will find these responses awkward and unnatural.
Use keywords as appropriate and, with consistent effort, the SEO benefits will come.
5. Take action first
If you’re faced with a negative review, the first step is to reach out to the customer directly. A phone call or in-person conversation will provide a much better opportunity for communication than a back-and-forth online despite the quality of your review management service.
When you eventually do post an answer online, be transparent about your efforts to contact the customer and share the steps your business took to resolve their concerns.
Hopefully, the combination of direct outreach and online follow-up will encourage the customer to change their review. As an added bonus, future readers will get an inside look at how your business handles challenging situations.
6. State the facts
There’s always a chance that your business will receive a negative review from a former employee, a competitor, or a lying customer that doesn’t warrant an apology. If you need to dispute what is written, take a calm approach.
Saying something snarky or attacking someone personally isn’t the type of authenticity you want to project.
Instead, speak with your team to gather as much detail about the incident as possible and then state the facts in a neutral manner. This will demonstrate to future readers that there are two sides to the story, and that your business prioritizes honesty and professionalism above all else.
7. Offer to do something, and mean it
Apologizing for the same mistakes over and over will quickly reveal a pattern on your review sites. For people researching where to make a purchase, seeing a business claim that they will address an issue and then never doing comes off as extremely dishonest.
If you receive critical feedback, promise your customer that you will take steps to improve — and then actually take them.
This will not only make your business better in the long run, it will also show potential patrons that you stand by your word. Best of all, it may lead to fewer negative reviews down the road.
The easiest way to bring authenticity to your review responses is to work with experts. Our team at Widewail has responded to over 50,000 reviews, so we know how to craft personalized, genuine answers, every time. For more information on how we can support your online reputation management, click here.