Why You Should Respond to Customer Reviews—And How to Do It Right

Potential customers can look up reviews for any product they may come across either online or in-store. For many, what they find in those reviews could be the deciding factor in making their purchase.

It’s in your company’s best interest to ensure that these reviews are managed respectfully, as your responses help build credibility and preserve your public image.

Why Is It Important to Respond to Reviews?

It’s important to respond to both negative and positive customer reviews. Online reviews are public, which means any potential customers can read them and decide if your products are worth it or not.

Positive Reviews

Sometimes, when reading comments on the internet, it can be easy to forget to be polite. If someone gave you a compliment to your face, wouldn’t you say thank you in response?

When a customer leaves a positive online review, they are essentially complimenting your product or brand. Responding to their review with a thank you is only polite, with the added bonus of reflecting positively on your business.

A huge percentage of customers investigate a product’s reviews before purchase, and your responses can be the perfect opportunity for some added marketing. Your positive feedback can also encourage more shoppers to add their own thoughts, and people enjoy being acknowledged for their contributions.

Negative Reviews

No matter how great your products are, you will always receive some negative feedback from customers. Sometimes, a negative review may not deal with your actual product at all, but rather with the retailer they purchased it from, shipping times, or some other issues out of your control.

Regardless, their unaddressed concerns can reflect poorly on your reputation. And, if you can resolve their issue, you could even convert a negative review into a positive one. Think of negative reviews as an opportunity to connect with your customers.

Does Responding to Reviews Really Improve SEO?

Responding to reviews can help improve your SEO in a few different ways.

Traditional SEO

Reviews won’t be the end-all be-all for your SEO if you’re not relying heavily on local customers, but it can still help in some smaller ways.

Look at your responses as an opportunity to advertise for your business while simultaneously improving your relationship with customers. When you respond to any reviews, positive or negative, you can make sure to include specific keywords that will help improve your SEO.

You can also share your positive reviews as a type of customer testimonial on your website or social media.

Responding to reviews and accumulating positive feedback from customers is one of the highest influences in your Google ranking.

Local SEO

If your business relies heavily on local customers, then responding to reviews, specifically Google reviews, can be a game-changer.

When your company responds, it shows Google that you engage well with customers, and boosts your ranking. As a local business owner, responding to reviews and accumulating positive feedback from customers is one of the highest influences in your Google ranking.

Having a better ranking means that your business will show up higher on a potential customer’s search and can greatly increase your foot -traffic.

How to Respond to Positive Reviews

The customers who take the time to leave positive reviews are your cheerleaders. When you respond to their praise, it pushes them and others to leave even more positive feedback. Your goal is to encourage this behavior and build a relationship of trust between your company and its successful shoppers.

There are several steps you can take to do this.

Say Thank You and Personalize It

Just like with any compliment, it’s important to say thank you. Make sure this doesn’t come off as generic; try to respond to something specific that they mentioned in their review, so they know it’s a real person talking to them.

Address the customer by name as well. People crave acknowledgment and feeling like they have made a difference. By responding to their review, you give them a sense of importance, and could entice them to make further purchases.

Include Keywords

In your response, make sure to include pertinent key words that can help boost your SEO. For example, mention the specific products they enjoyed by name, and any ways that product might be used or help the customer further.

Take Advantage of Free Marketing

When a customer leaves a review, it’s there for everyone to see. On top of having positive feedback for your business or products, you can take advantage of the opportunity to include some free marketing.

You can promote other products of yours that are similar or related to what the customer already purchased, or inform them of new promotions available to them, like memberships or credit cards.

Call the Customer Into Action

End your response with an invitation back to your business. Mention how excited you are to see that customer again and emphasize how important their business is to you. This makes shoppers feel seen and important, like they are making a difference for your company.

Take it a step further and ask them to recommend your company to others. They already left a positive review, all that’s left is to share it.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

Every potential customer can see your negative reviews, and not responding to them can come off as cold and distant. Responding badly can do further damage with the customer who left the review and any other future customers who read it.

This process can be intimidating, but it’s extremely important that you get it right.

Respond Quickly

It’s important to respond to negative reviews as quickly as you can. Having a customer wait to be heard can make them feel invalidated and disrespected. Plus, the longer a negative review sits there unanswered, the more potential customers may see the issues, but no solutions.

Thank Them for Their Input

Even if you don’t like what the customer is saying, their feedback can still be very helpful to your company’s growth. They are bringing issues to your attention that need addressing, and you should be appreciative of their helpfulness, even if they were rude about it.

Stay Calm and Professional

It can be frustrating to receive a negative review, especially if it’s not exactly polite. You need to make sure to respond calmly, take a deep breath, and be as professional as possible.

It is not worth losing profits and potential customers due to an overly emotional or volatile response.

Apologize and Acknowledge Their Issues

When a customer has an issue, what they’re really looking for is some empathy. They want to feel like their complaints are being heard and validated.

Word your apology carefully. Try not to admit fault unless you feel there was a true mistake made on your part, and even then, you should try to drive the conversation toward improvement and growth without lingering for too long on the mistake.

Offer a Next Step

Lastly, offer the customer an example of what you can do to resolve their issue. Not all problems will be immediately fixable, but a negative reviewer will feel more sated if you show them what your next steps are to address their problem.

Take the Conversation Offline

Some bad reviews can get a little ugly, but you still want to address them. Often these instances will be better resolved over a phone call or via direct message or email. This allows you to have a true conversation with the customer to address the situation at hand and shows that you are willing to offer your time to your shoppers to ensure satisfaction.

A one-on-one conversation also prevents your products or brand from having to suffer any further public embarrassment, or interjections from other reviewers piling onto the rant.

Should You Respond to Every Review?

Responding to every single review can be tedious but answering as many as possible can build stronger customer relationships, protect your reputation, help meet customer expectations, and improve your rating online.

If it seems like there are just too many customer reviews to keep up with, consider using a platform that identifies ratings and reviews of your products. This can help you prioritize your responses and ensure you are acting swiftly at the brand, retailer, and product level.

Ratings and reviews impact your sales, but it’s not something you have direct control over. Your responses allow your business to take back control of the conversation and shape the way potential customers view you. It’s important that you know how to say the right things at the right time.

Alexandria Flores

Alexandria is the Content Writer at Wiser Solutions, a retail analytics provider with an emphasis on data quality, data accuracy, and holistic in-store and online solutions. She holds a BA in Writing from The University of North Texas.

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