Digital Marketing

The Good, The Bad, and The Anonymous: Responding to Online Reviews

June 4, 2018


Think about the last restaurant you went to… did you check out their online reviews before you went?

If you answered yes, you’re not alone. 90% of consumers claim to read online reviews. 88% of them trust online reviews before making a purchase, and 86% of consumers will decide against purchasing if the company has less than 4 stars. Starting to see the power of reviews?

Here at Art & Science, we manage our clients’ online reputations through social channels like Google, Facebook and Yelp. We post grow the online reputation of their businesses by responding to both positive and negative reviews, as each one is an opportunity to show prospective consumers that customer satisfaction is always a top priority.

Here’s a list of pro tips for you to consider using when responding to the good, the bad and the anonymous review.

Let’s start with the positive poster.

Congratulations! You’ve received a 5-star rating and a written review from an extremely satisfied customer.

Generating positive online reviews attracts more interested customers to your website and can potentially convert leads into sales. When happy customers share positive experiences, it builds credibility over time with your brand, products, and business.

So, how should you respond to a flattering review? Always be sure to show your appreciation to anyone who takes the time to share a positive experience. We all know that saying ‘thank-you’ is just good etiquette, but sometimes business owners forget that saying thank you online goes a long way in building your online reputation!

Be sure to write a custom response to every review. Doing so not only draws positive attention to your business, but it also adds a personal touch to your replies. For example, if a client shares a review on the great experience they had about a specialty service, address how others may be able to benefit from the same or similar services in your response.

The Negative Nelly.

No one likes a bad review, especially when you’re striving to create a positive online presence as business owner. Unfortunately… it happens. We know you can’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but there is no need to live in fear of the “Negative Nelly.” Actually, a few negative reviews can work to your advantage. Negative reviews help to humanize your brand and create a level of transparency that consumers like to see because it appears you have nothing to hide.

Since deleting the review is out of the question (Google won’t let you!)… here’s how to respond:

Act as soon as possible. The sooner you can respond and offer a possible resolution, the quicker the poster might remove or edit the post—which means fewer users will see the review. You can set up email alerts for all reviews coming in on the various platforms you’d like to monitor.

In addition, you should always respond in a polite and respectful tone. Even if the client is in the ‘wrong’, always offer a sincere apology, let them know you appreciate their feedback and tell them how you are going to address their concerns.

Finally, attempt to move the conversation to a private setting (email, phone call or in-person). Always finish a response with “please contact me at [your business contact information] in order to address your concerns.”

Everyone knows negative reviews are less than ideal, but when you sympathize with the Negative Nelly, continue the conversation offline, and (ideally) resolve the issue, the reviewer might even opt to remove or edit the review.

Finally, the Anon.

Responding to anonymous users can be one of the most frustrating processesespecially if it’s a negative review.

Even though you can’t remove the review, you can respond to the review and present your case. For example, if someone comments that they experienced long wait times on a Saturday afternoon, perhaps this is an opportunity to explain why you were experiencing a higher volume of traffic that day. But be sure to share how you are working to improve things before their next visit!

The most challenging thing about reviews from anonymous posters is that you may not be able to contact them directly to resolve the issue or research their visit in your database. In this case, take it as an opportunity to show future customers that you are aware of the review, that you take customer satisfaction very seriously, and that you work to remedy negative situations.

Your response should not be defensive; instead, use it as an opportunity to learn more about the situation and publicly ask for feedback for improvement.

Take Away

We hope you’ve gained a better understanding of how to respond to all types of reviews. Feel free to use our suggestions as a toolkit when responding to all your positive and negative reviews. And remember, there is no need to live in fear of the review!

The most important thing to remember is to make sure you respond to all reviews. Not only is this a free platform to boast about your business and services, but responding to your reviews improves your page ranking in Google.

Collaboration by @nunu & @andy