27. 4. 2023

How to respond to reviews: with positive ones, establish a relationship; with negative ones, clearly name the problem

Responses to reviews can both annoy and amaze. When they are organic, written to order and thoughtful, they create a loyal clientele and positive word of mouth. If they are robotic and impersonal, on the other hand, they will annoy and discourage future purchases. Find out what details matter most and how best to respond to reviews.

53% of people expect a response to their review

It is therefore a "must have" without which you will find it hard to build a reputation as a trusted brand. Appropriate responses increase brand trust, and can even remedy negative reviews. Google recently confirmed that they also improve SEO, making your business impactful at all sales levels.

There are several types of reviews, each requiring something a little different

In practice, you will encounter:

  • Positive reviews
  • Negative reviews
  • Neutral reviews
  • Positive/negative review without text

For positive reviews, be graceful and establish a relationship

In segments such as electronics, food, FMCG or pharmaceuticals, only about 1% of customers will write a review on their own. If you get one and it's positive, you can be sure that you've really impressed the customer. But how to respond?

  • Always start with a thank you. For their trust, time and willingness to share their opinion.
  • Encourage them to make another purchase. Positive experiences earn loyal customers who love to come back. In response to their reviews, take the opportunity to show them what else they can experience.
  • Be very brief. Try to capture the first two points mentioned in a few sentences. A long listing can look smug and overburden other customers when they read it, which can reduce sales.
  • Sign at the end. This shows that a real person wrote the text and not a robot.

Example of a response to a positive review

Hello Mr./Ms. X, thank you for your review! We are glad you are satisfied with our product, we look forward to your next purchase. You will be waiting for (description of a bargain, discount or additional product). Have a nice day! Your XY

With negative reviews, it is important to name the core problem and suggest a solution

A bad review is a bit of a nightmare that every brand fears. While they aren't always as dangerous as they seem, you always need to be able to resolve them.

  • Keep calm. The response to criticism is often to counterattack, which in PR equals disaster. Your response must be clear and thoughtful, and you must never give in to emotion.
  • Say thank you. Even a negative review is a valuable source of information for you
  • Name the problem. Be clear and concise. This avoids the "everything is wrong" line of argument, makes the case clearer for other readers, and shows that you are really thinking about the case.
  • Suggest a solution. The client needs to be clear about what happens next; he or she should definitely not have to come up with something on his or her own. By making a suggestion, you will show real professionalism, which often only becomes fully apparent when problems are solved.
  • Move the conversation to a private place. You must never get into a situation where you are arguing with a client in a forum over a few lines of text.

Example of a response to a negative review:

Hello Mr. X, thank you very much for sharing your experience with us. We are very sorry that we did not meet your expectations. We see that the main problem was X, which fortunately can be easily resolved with Y. An operator will contact you shortly to resolve the situation to your full satisfaction. Sincerely, XY.

For neutral reviews, use previous experience

Neutral reviews around 3 stars are often difficult to grasp. They are not outright negative, but the customer is also on the fence and may not return. The challenge of your response will be to cut through this uncertainty.

  • Highlight the positives and offer more. It's easy to lose the good in neutral text. In your response, therefore, remind the client and other readers of the positive part of the experience.
  • For the negatives, name the problem and suggest a solution. Every neutral review includes a problem. By clearly naming the problem, you again clarify the boundaries of the problem, show concern and, in proposing a solution, professionalism and a willingness to fight for each client.
  • Once again, take the situation offline.

Example of a response to a neutral review:

Hello Mr/Ms X, thank you very much for your review. We are glad that you appreciated our X, we value Y and we are honest about these aspects. We noticed that you had a problem with Z. We suggest the following solution (description). An operator will contact you shortly to sort things out. We look forward to seeing you next time. Sincerely, XY

For reviews without text, the number of stars matters

  • If the review is positive, just a brief thank you. There is no point in stretching the answer if you cannot mention specific achievements, you would be unnecessarily increasing the cognitive load of the texts.
  • For negative reviews, find out more. After thanking, make it clear that you want to know the details and remedy the situation. Suggest a connection via email or phone.

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