Good or bad, customer reviews are always useful for businesses.

If they’re good, they can be excellent marketing material. If they’re bad, they provide an opportunity for your company to engage with your customers and refine your product or service.

So, you’ve received a review, what do you do? In all cases you will want to understand the customer’s concerns and address them. Here are five quick tips, followed by some advice from the experts.

Reevoo’s five quick tips for responding to reviews

1. Stay polite

In all situations, thanking the customer for taking the time to leave a review lets them know that their opinion means something.

Sometimes, if the review is negative, simply acknowledging the review can change the customer’s feelings and make them more open to a second-chance experience. Always keep a respectful tone and draw from the core style used across your business interactions.

Parkdean responding to reviews
52% of people like a company more when it responds to a negative comment. - Highlight to share -

2. Be a human

In the case of the online review, it’s not so much about what you write, as how you write it.

Avoid jargon completely as it only serves to alienate readers and muddy waters. You don’t need to confuse people or push them away with language they don’t understand.

If you are clear and open, your business also appears more honest.

Your response is also a good opportunity to slip in some helpful links to examples or other products. This gives the recipient (and others who see the response) some key information. But more immediately it will help the customer, hopefully turning touch points into trust points.

KIA responding to reviews

3. Strike while the iron is hot

Research we recently conducted showed that 52% of people like a company more when it responds to a negative comment.

People can often say things in the heat of the moment – and if they feel ignored, the heat will only rise. However, a thoughtful response by a brand is usually disarming. Try and respond within 24 hours if possible. You can choose to ignore bad reviews, but they won’t go away.

You can choose to ignore bad reviews, but they won’t go away. - Highlight to share -

Here’s a good example of a save from a manager of a restaurant, after reading a review from a not-so-impressed and rather hungry customer.

This quick response and honest approach then led to a surprising reply.

A restaurant responding to reviews

Although this may feel like an intimate communication between two parties, remember you’re in front of an audience – many pairs of eyes see the number of stars in each review and at least skim the keywords within it.

Being aware of the power this content can have is important – so write your response with that in mind.

4. So what are you going to do about it?

If an issue has been raised, you must offer solutions in your response. It’s all well and good responding to reviews, but there has to be some development that will either show understanding or bring about positive change.

Here’s an example we like from Scottishpower (excuse how it looks, it’s from the back end our clients use to respond to reviews).

Gordon from Scottishpower has already sorted the problem and gives a lovely polite reply.

Scottishpower responding to reviews

Reminding the customer to get in touch if they have any other issues is a nice way to leave the doors for communication open.

5. Bring it on

A response to a review often isn’t the end of the interaction. We suggest always inviting further conversation through another channel. Be real in your response and be there for your customers. That way they will keep coming back to you.

Direct Line Insurance responding to reviews
BLACK+DECKER responding to reviews

So remember…

  • Manners
  • Language
  • Rapidity
  • Solutions
  • Communication

Advice from the brands doing it well

David Kitchen, ‎Social Media Lead at NPower

“We respond to reviews as we understand their importance and the potential a comment can have in terms of damaging the reputation of our brand, especially when it’s presented in the public space. By responding it demonstrates to our audience that we’re a brand that cares and acknowledges customers’ concerns.”

“Do your best to respond to all comments, where appropriate. It’s just as important to respond to positive reviews as it is to respond to negative ones. It helps to build brand advocates and improve loyalty amongst your customer base.”

Alan Lay, Digital Engagement Manager at LV=

“Any feedback we get from Reevoo is fantastic – the good validates what we are doing and the not so good can be used to improve how we work and provide a better service as a result. Responding to feedback lets the customer know that we are monitoring and that we take their feedback seriously.”

Follow this advice and turn every review – good and bad – to your advantage.

Responding to reviews