Is Anyone There? Why It’s So Important to Respond to Online Reviews

Did you know that 86% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses? But what's more interesting is that 89% of consumers read the business's response to their reviews.

That means that potential customers care more about what you have to say about an online review than the reviewer.

If that's not enough to convince you, read on. We'll discuss the top reasons why responding to online reviews is worth your time.

Customers Want To Be Heard

Why else would they take the time to write a review?

Even a short review takes effort. The fact that they bothered to write a review means they felt strongly enough about their experience. 

Customer reviews give you a lot of insight into what is working well in your business and what isn't.

Responding to customer reviews lets them know that they are heard. You also send the message that feedback matters to you.

When you respond to consumer reviews, you show your existing customers that you care what they think. They're more likely to be repeat clients if they feel their opinion matters to you.

Build Confidence with Prospective Customers

It's no secret that prospective customers read your business reviews. In fact, it may be the deciding factor that influences them to choose you over your competitors.

When a consumer finds your online listing and sees your online reviews, he or she will judge your business. Before even conducting any type of interaction with you.

Peer reviews hold a lot of merit in the public's eyes. But that doesn't mean that bad reviews are going to ruin your chances of gaining this prospective client.

When people see negative online reviews, they look to see how you responded. If you tried to solve the customer's problem, most consumers will be willing to give you a chance. 

And when they see that you've thanked people for their positive online reviews, you will highlight that you are customer oriented and personable. 

Google Will Reward You

We all know that ranking on Google is vital for your online presence. Responding to your business reviews is one simple thing you can do to help you rank better.

When page owners respond to a review, it lets Google know that a particular page is actively managed. And because Google prefers to rank active pages, you'll get better exposure.

So responding to reviews isn't just good for customers, it's also a way that you can boost your business.

Reviews Humanize Your Brand

When consumers write online reviews about your business, they are reaching out to you. This is a chance for you to directly connect with them one on one.

When you reach out to reply to that review, it humanizes your brand. It shows your customers that you are more than your logo and website.

Reviews are Opportunities 

Online reviews, whether positive or negative, are excellent opportunities for you. Each time you respond to a positive review you reinforce the positive image you created for that reviewer.

When you respond to a negative review, you alleviate some of the problems they experienced. It's very possible to turn their negative experience into a positive through your response.

A recent study showed that if a business resolves a concern quickly, 95% of unhappy customers are willing to give your business another chance.

This is a huge opportunity for you to hold on to more customers. 

Now that you understand why responding to consumer reviews is so important, let's look at the right way to respond. 

How to Respond to Positive Online Reviews

First of all, thank the customer for their review. Show that you value their time and appreciate their feedback.

It's also a good idea to show that you are genuinely happy that this customer had a good experience with your brand.

Make sure you thank the customer by name. This shows that you aren't just a chatbot that copies and pastes responses to online reviews. If you can, mention something specific about the customer reviews in your response.

If they commented on how much they loved your risotto, say something like “our risotto is a favourite menu item. So glad you enjoyed it!”

Last all, give them a reason to come back. Something like “our new menu starts next week, make sure to come check it out!” 

How to Respond to Negative Online Reviews

Never respond to a negative online review instantly. Take time to internalize the review. Always have a logical response thought out before you hit reply.

It's best if you read the review several times and look for the kernel of truth (if there is one). 

Next, respond publically to the feedback. You can send a private message as well. But a public response is necessary for your other customers to see.

Even if the reviewer is unjustified in his or her review, empathize. Even if you feel you did nothing wrong. 

You can say something like, “We're sorry that you felt our service wasn't up to your standards.”

It's also important to provide some sort of resolution to try to turn this customer into a happy one. Offer to make it right by providing a solution.

You may not want to post the solution online but you can post your contact details and follow up offline. 

No matter what, the most important thing about negative online reviews is to show empathy. 

Bottom Line

We hope this guide has helped you get a better sense of why responding to online reviews is vital.

Remember, when you respond and show that you value your customers' feedback, you boost your ranking, build trust and make unhappy customers feel better.

Next, learn more about how to protect your online reputation.