Responding to these reviews is a great way to engage with your customers and show how much you care about their experience. Promptly responding to reviews is important, but it is equally important to respond to different types of reviews appropriately. Here are the 6 different kinds of common online reviews you may encounter, and how we recommend you respond to each:
The First Time Review:
According to BrightLocal’s 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey, 63% of consumers have left a review for a local business at some point or another. That means there are still a lot of shoppers out there who have never been motivated to leave a review for a business. When interacting with a first-time reviewer, it is important to keep in mind that they feel strongly about their experience, whether good or bad.
Responding to The First Time Review:
Take your time when responding to a first-time reviewer. If the review is positive, their experience was good enough to push them to leave their first review! Share this with your team and thank the reviewer for their feedback. On the other hand, if negative, you must first validify the response. If valid, it is important you outline how you will correct the issue, and how you will avoid repeating the same issue in the future. If you do disagree with the content of the review, calmly and politely provide your side of the story so future readers will have context.
The Constant Complainer:
These reviewers are the polar opposite of the first-time reviewer. They are consistent and persistent in their history of leaving lengthy negative reviews and will likely review almost if not every business and product they use. They have unrealistic standards and expectations and are usually not looking for resolution, but conflict.
Responding to the Constant Complainer:
Responding to these experienced reviewers can be a treacherous journey. They are committed and good at making you look bad. Your response should be carefully planned and worded while addressing the point or complaint. Be warned these constant complainers will likely want to engage with additional comments or arguments but don’t stress too much about changing their minds. Just respond and don’t get sucked into a bigger debate.
The Direct Messenger:
Direct messengers don’t waste time with public exposure of their complaints. They are coming straight to you, the business owner. They may just want a personal way to tell you they enjoyed your service, however, if they’re negative they will EXPECT a personal response.
Responding to the Direct Messenger:
Your response to the direct messenger should be clear and concise while avoiding a confrontational style. This reviewer expects straight talk and swift action. They don’t want to air out their dirty laundry, they just want to know that their voice has been heard by someone who can act.
The Picture Painter:
We’ve all seen this review; way too long, extremely detailed and very informative. However, they often include a lot of information that has nothing to do with the product or service being reviewed. While they certainly tell a great story, you can be sure their review will also be full of suggestions and advice to readers which may or may not be true.
Responding to the Picture Painter:
Don’t be tempted to reply in the same long, drawn-out manner that the storyteller does. If they’ve left a negative response, be sure your response is accurate and equally well thought out. Don’t engage in sarcastic or snippy comments as it can backfire on you in a public setting. Focus on fixing the issue or providing details that support your business.
The Sniper goes for the head. Their review is short, but not so sweet. This review will be brief, quickly written and almost always negative. With little to no detail or context, it is easy for readers to see these short responses and make a quick decision.
Responding to The Sniper:
Make a conscious effort to be short, but not as curt as this reviewer. Use clear-cut sentences rather than long-winded and wordy responses. This way, readers that are susceptible to making snap judgments can see your response and process it at the same time they see the review. Wordy rebuttals may be ignored in favor of the easily digestible short review.
If you haven’t fallen victim to at least one fake review, you probably will at some point. Most people will agree that fake reviews are the worst kind. The Review Liar has never used your business, never purchased a product. They take pleasure in leaving fake one-star reviews to hurt your online reputation.
Responding to The Liar:
The worst thing you can do here is to make an off-the-cuff, emotional response. Check your records to see if they’ve ever been a customer before. If you can confirm that it is not an authentic review you can refute it with supporting evidence. Don’t be afraid to point out they are lying but in a polite and professional manner. You can also flag the review and reach out to Google to have it removed, though this often has little success. The best way to counteract a fake review is to focus on acquiring new, positive and genuine reviews to push the fake bad review down.
Timely, professional and appropriate responses to even the worst review can help mitigate the effects of a poor experience. Your responses are there for other readers as much as they are to answer the reviewer. Make sure you come across confident, polite and helpful in your responses and you will be ready for these reviewers and any others that come your way!