If you’ve recently visited the Shout About Us blog, you might remember seeing our how-to guide for responding to bad reviews. In the second half of our two-part series, we’re tackling the opposite problem: how to respond to positive feedback, such as 4-star and 5-star ratings. We’ll share actionable, step-by-step suggestions for responding more effectively, along with some helpful examples of the language and tone you might use.
Whether you’re in the retail industry, the home services industry, the automotive industry, or a different field of work, your business can implement these strategies to improve customer retention, engage new customers, and build a loyal consumer base — who may even recommend your business to others. By following best practices for responding to positive online reviews, you can grow your business simply and cost-efficiently, no matter what type of product or service you provide.
Why Your Business Should Respond to Positive Reviews
Responding to positive reviews might seem like an optional courtesy — at worst, even a waste of your time. However, nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, data shows that most customers expect businesses to respond to reviews, creating a standard that savvy business owners will actively strive to meet. By disappointing their customers with delayed or generic responses — or in many cases, by failing to respond at all — business owners needlessly waste valuable opportunities to connect with and satisfy their customers.
Yet it isn’t only the fulfillment of customer expectations that explains why responding to reviews is important. There are also other reasons you should respond to online reviews, such as:
- Standing out among your competitors, who may respond less frequently. There is ample data showing that the majority of small businesses neglect their online reviews — according to some research, as many as three quarters of them. Simply by making the effort to respond to a higher percentage of your positive reviews, you may be able to give your business a competitive edge, while simultaneously boosting your Google ranking. There’s a reason (or five) why Moz calls owner responses “one of the greatest assets your local business has for becoming an active contributor to your online reputation.”
- Strengthening brand loyalty among existing customers, who may promote or recommend you to others. By responding to a customer’s review, it confirms to them that they’ve been heard, which not only encourages repeat business, but also gives them (and others) an incentive to leave future reviews. These review responses will help build a relationship with your customers and they will in turn advocate even more on behalf of your brand.
- Expressing your gratitude to the customer. By expressing your appreciation for the customer’s time and business, you can easily and instantly build rapport. That’s not just a courtesy, either — it’s a recipe for better business. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), nearly 70 percent of customers report leaving a business because they did not feel valued or cared about. By comparing that to the 14 percent who left due to dissatisfaction with the quality of a product or service, you can instantly see the immense value that customer appreciation holds for your business.
Unfortunately, many business owners tend to focus on only negative reviews, if they respond at all. Don’t fall into the same trap. If you want to truly connect with your customers, it’s essential to respond to both negative and positive reviews.
How to Respond to a Positive Review in 5 Simple Steps
The five-step process below should be thought of as a guideline that you can make variations to, rather than a formula or template you must rigidly follow. In fact, it’s actually recommended that you vary and customize your responses, so don’t be afraid to mix up your format and structure! As long as you remember to greet and thank the customer while adding a personal touch to your comment, you’ll be well on your way to crafting an effective response. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at our five-step process for writing responses to positive reviews.
Set a friendly tone by greeting and thanking the reviewer. Most businesses use a specific tone, or “voice,” that aligns with their brand and messaging. Your responses are perfect opportunities to establish your brand voice as being friendly, pleasant, and enthusiastic — something you can accomplish simply by starting with a personal greeting.
If that seems hard to believe, just think about the tonal difference between “Dear Valued Customer” versus “Hi, Sarah!” If you were a customer — satisfied or otherwise — which type of greeting would you rather receive?
At this stage of the response, you should also thank the customer for their feedback, which will help to make the reviewer feel valued. Even if they simply rated your business 4 or 5 stars without leaving a comment, you should still express gratitude for the time and consideration they have shown.
Show some recognition of the customer’s experience with your brand. After you have greeted and thanked the customer, continue maintaining a personal connection by commenting on a specific detail from their review. For example, if the customer complimented your fast work, you could respond by saying, “It was our pleasure to provide you with speedy service.”
This shows the customer that you are paying attention to their feedback, rather than “brushing them off” with a copied and pasted response. Remember, customers are more likely to remain loyal when they feel like they are being recognized and provided with exceptional service — something your business can better accomplish by responding effectively to reviews.
Emphasize values, positive features, or other positive attributes of your product or service. This is the perfect opportunity to reinforce the unique features, deals, or corporate values that set your brand apart. For example, you might mention to the customer that you are offering a holiday discount, or call out features like customer referral programs, sustainability pledges, free delivery services, modern amenities, climate control, or guaranteed warranties.
Assure the customer that you will share their feedback with your team. If the reviewer mentions a specific worker, team, or department, such as your maintenance workers or front office staff, assure him or her that you will pass along the compliment. Not only does this show that you read the review carefully — it also ensures that the customer has a more personal, more satisfying interaction with your business.
Close your response gracefully. Try to avoid bringing your response to an abrupt or sudden end. Instead, try to find a natural closer that ties the response together. For example, you could:
- Reiterate your gratitude. “Once again, thanks for rating [Company Name] today! We truly appreciate your business.”
- Demonstrate dedication to continuing customer satisfaction. “We’re looking forward to serving you again soon!”
- Offer well wishes. “From everyone on our management team, have a safe and happy holiday!”
There are many ways to effectively respond and thank a customer for a valued positive review. The bottom line is to be kind, courteous, and grateful for their contribution to your brand’s success. Your customers need to know that their feedback is acknowledged and appreciated, so make sure to respond to all of your reviews — not just the negative ones.
Hire a Response Scribe from Shout About Us for Fast, Personalized Replies to Your Online Reviews
BrightLocal recently reported that 50 percent of local marketers “can’t put more effort into their online reputation due to a lack of time.” If you’re like many business owners, you probably don’t have space on your calendar for writing custom review responses — even if you’d like to make it a priority. Let Shout About Us simplify your business by handling ORM for you.
At Shout About Us, we specialize in providing businesses with dedicated response scribes, who commit to creating original, personalized responses within 24 hours of receiving each review. We can also provide your business with a customized, easy-to-navigate ORM dashboard, which keeps your data secure and organized while offering flexible filters and search tools, ideally suited for multi-location brands and franchises. With the ability to screen responses, request revisions, receive notifications, and more, our intuitive software makes it effortless to improve your customers’ experience.
Emily Homrok is a freelance copywriter based in Philadelphia.