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August 15, 2021

What The Imitation Game Can Teach Us About Authentic Google Review Responses

Your customers will always know when they’re being written to by a bot. Only one computer has passed The Turing Test. Ever.

Photo credit: The Weinstein Company/Photofest

In the 2014 movie “The Imitation Game,” Benedict Cumberbatch plays the 20th century English computer scientist Alan Turing.

While he was inventing the first computer, he developed a thought experiment called The Turing Test to consider whether computers could ever trick humans into believing that the computer is a human.


In its modern application, The Turing Test takes place as an annual competition among computer programmers. Basically, computer systems in one room and humans in another each have 5-minute chat conversations with a panel of (human) judges in a third room. The judges have to determine whether or not they’re talking to a human. 

The results of many of the Turing tests are, frankly, unsurprising. Only one computer system has ever passed the Turing test - that is, convinced the judges that it’s a human. And ‘passing’ is a generous term. To pass is to convince 30% of judges that its writing is human.


The passing computer program got a 33%. The winner simulated a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy named Eugene. This program’s broken English was overlooked by those judges because English was presumed a second language.

When it comes to language and context, few computer programs and AI solutions can deceive anyone. We are all experts in determining when we’re getting emails from a bot instead of another person. It comes from a lifetime of experience.

For local businesses, your customers play the role of a panel of judges, waiting to determine whether your communications with them are authentic.

Your customers will always know when they’re being written to by a bot. 

That’s why Widewail approaches review response with a team of in-house experts via our Google review service. To date, we’ve responded to 400,000+ reviews with the personal touch of real human interaction. A win-win.

As opposed to some of our competitors, Widewail’s review responses are personalized, empathetic, and we include SEO keywords. 

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Here, a kind 5-star review of a craft brewery is responded to by our team at Widewail with gratitude, enthusiasm, and a splash of personality. We celebrated the customer’s special occasion, gave a nod to their long-term commitment to the business, and sent them some love for their positive review. 

On the other hand, reviews responded to by businesses that automate their responses are noticeably distant. The response could have been an opportunity to use SEO keywords to boost this burger joint’s GMB page or shower the customer with gratitude. Instead, the next prospective customer will see a formulaic, automated response.  

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Now, let’s compare approaches to negative reviews. In an automated review response below, this business makes little attempt to address the customer’s frustration (a month after the review was left, no less).

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Instead, Widewail’s response strategy empathetically addresses this customer’s concerns with their customer service experience and proactively suggests a solution to take the issue offline.

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Alan Turing could envision the future of computer programs, but we haven’t quite arrived there yet. In the meantime, it’s best to stick to human-powered responses to build trust.

Widewail is here to help your local business manage a high volume of review responses without sacrificing customer service.

What's Widewail?

Widewail is a reputation management software and services company based in Burlington, VT. We help hundreds of small local businesses and national brands like Lexus and BH Property Management generate and respond to reviews.

Learn more about our core products:

Engage: review response managed services

Invite: send automated SMS review requests to all your customers

Free Book  56 Review Response Examples and Templates Read Now

Keaton Smith

I’m a writer, philosopher, climber, mountain biker, and a fried-egg enthusiast. Before joining Widewail as a Review Response Specialist, I attended Middlebury College and studied Philosophy and Art History. I grew up in Michigan, but I fell in love with Vermont while in school.

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