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Responding To Reviews: Especially The Bad Ones

It goes without saying that your online reviews matter. Like, a lot. Like, a lot alot. With 90% of consumers basing their buying decision off of reviews, it’s kinda a big deal that one of the main focuses of getting better SEO results is managing your online reputation.

Here’s what we have found that actually works for writing review replies:

1. Reply as soon as you can. Like within 24-48 hours if you can. Really, the quicker the better. But don’t run with scissors.

2. Thank your reviewer, regardless if it’s a 1-star or 5-star review.

3. Mirror Back the customer’s feedback. If they mentioned your “fast service” or “friendly staff”, reflect back to them what you read: “Thank you for your comment on our staff! We’re grateful to work with some really cool, and down-to-earth people.” 

4. Piggy Back on the customer’s feedback. If they mentioned taking advantage of your weekly special, use your reply as an opportunity to drop some free advertising – “Thanks for checking out our Taco Tuesday! We’re going to be offering a Fajita Friday next month, we hope to see you there.”

5. Be genuine. And honest. But don’t kiss anybody’s butt. Keep in mind, people are going to be reading your review replies, and the more human you sound, the better. (Don’t even get me started on AI written content…)

6. Address negative reviews with class. It’s going to happen one day. A crappy 1 or 2-star review that will leave a Rorschach sized stain on your Google My Business or Yelp page. It happens to the best, because truly, we can’t satisfy eeeeeeeveryone (insert joke about pizza here). 

Responding to negative reviews aren’t much different than responding to positive reviews – you still want to follow steps 1-5 with a little extra about how you can make their experience better. 

6a. Offer to have them call or email you to discuss this further.

6b. Include in your reply that you will be addressing the review with your whole staff and actually address it with your staff to improve your customer’s experience.

Here are a few stellar examples from our actual clients: 

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