encompass blog

How to Respond to Online Reviews

How to Respond to Online Reviews

Written by enCOMPASS Agency

Everybody likes to receive praise, to be told that they’re doing their job well. By contrast, most of us bristle at criticism and would really rather not receive negative feedback. For today’s business owners, however, both of these outcomes are fairly common. Thanks to online review platforms—whether Facebook, Yelp, or Google—feedback can come at any time. The nature of that feedback can be hard to predict, but it’s always important to take it seriously. After all, online reviews have a major impact on your business’ online reputation.

The question is, what does a helpful, constructive review response actually look like? Here are a few pointers from the enCOMPASS team.

Make Each Response Individualized and Unique

First, we’d recommend against using a templated approach. Instead of giving each reviewer the standard boilerplate text, take the time to offer an individualized response.

There are a number of reasons for this, but ultimately, it’s really just a matter of making sure your customers feel heard. Rather than dismissing their questions or concerns with a templated response, reiterate each point they make, addressing each one individually. When possible, address the customer by name. In short, you want to make them feel like you see them, understand where they’re coming from, and want them to have a better experience going forward.

Offer Thanks for Positive Feedback

It’s a lot easier to respond to a positive review than it is a negative one! Nevertheless, make sure you’re taking the time to actually post a few quick words of thanks for any accolades you receive. Simply let your customer know that you’re happy they had a positive experience.

You can also use positive reviews as an opportunity to highlight some of your staff members, referencing and honoring those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep customers happy.

Respond Quickly and Calmly

Whether your reviews are positive or negative, it’s generally best to respond as quickly as possible—within a day or so. Let customers see that you are diligently listening and always ready to provide customer service.

With that said, do take some time to formulate a thoughtful response to negative reviews. The worst mistake you can make is sounding off in anger or indignation. Even if the review is totally out of line, losing your cool and shouting at the customer is only going to make things worse.

Provide a Forum for One-on-One Dialogue

One other tip to keep in mind: Often, it’s best to provide the customer with a way to talk with you privately, offline. Respond to the review with your direct phone number or email address and simply let them know how much you look forward to resolving the issue.

This is helpful for a couple of reasons. One, it shows that you’re truly serious about helping your customer find a solution—not just giving them lip service. And two, it allows you to work toward a resolution without airing too much dirty laundry in a public setting.

Try to Make Things Right

Something we always tell our clients is that responding to any online review is a chance to show some customer service skills—which means that, if you have a customer who’s disgruntled, your job is to help them feel happy again.

What that means is that sometimes the best response to a review is simply asking: How can we make this right? Maybe something as simple as apologizing, or offering a small discount on a future order, can help your customer feel a lot better about their experience.

Remember: You Can’t Make Anyone Change Their Mind

Hopefully, these tips and pointers will help you mount a positive, constructive response to online reviews—even the ones that are negative.

With that said, it’s important to remember that there are some customers who probably aren’t going to change their minds. To be totally frank, some people are difficult to please, and even a humble and heartfelt response isn’t going to placate them. Make it your goal to offer the best customer service you can—but understand that you’re not going to win every single battle.

Consider Using a Platform

What we’re advocating for in this post is something fairly ambitious—offering a personalized and thoughtful response to every single review and mention your company receives. It’s a big undertaking, which is why it may be wise to look into a platform—a system where you can consolidate your reviews in one place, receive alerts as new ones come in, and offer responses from a single dashboard.

If that’s something you’re interested in pursuing, we’d certainly love to chat with you about it. Reach out to the enCOMPASS team at any time, and let’s talk together about responding well to online reviews.