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Why you should always respond to every online review (even good reviews)…

responding to online reviews
I’m dating myself with this story, but oh well.

My oldest son, Sam (24), took driver’s training in 2009.

When the kids in his class would practice driving on the roads, they knew they were supposed to use the turn signal when turning and when changing lanes.

But what about other times?

Did they really have to signal when merging on the highway… or when pulling into a parking spot?

The driving instructor, a no-nonsense kind of guy, always had the same response to the “blinker” question…

“Does it hurt anything? Does it cost anything?”

Point taken.

Now my son still fastidiously signals… pretty much all the time.

Think of this story the next time you ask yourself, “Should I respond to my online reviews?”

Here’s why…

Studies show 92% of people now read online reviews. That makes online reviews one of the most influential aspects of your marketing. Period.

Similarly, most of our clients know they should respond to negative online reviews. It just makes sense: Upset customers need to be dealt with—it’s obvious.

But what about responding to GOOD reviews? Is it really necessary?

“Does it hurt anything? Does it cost anything?”

The truth is, it actually PAYS huge dividends.

Your default position should be to respond to EVERY SINGLE online review.

Yep, all of them.

It’s an easy way to boost SEO. And it can help you drum up more business.

I’ll tell you how in a second.

But first, here is the exact blueprint for responding to good AND bad reviews…

Responding To Good Reviews

  • Thank the customer.
  • Specifically acknowledge what’s in the review; you want people to know it’s actually you and not an automated response. (“I’m happy to hear [insert employee name] provided a great experience for you.”)
  • SEO-ify your response by inserting your company’s name, location, and services. (“At [insert name], we’re proud to be one of [insert location]’s best [insert service].”)
  • Market your company. Mention why you were able to provide a great experience. Then, invite your customer to try another of your services and refer their friends.

What Happens When You Respond To Good Reviews:

1) Prospects find you more friendly and caring, so they’re more likely to hire you;

2) your SEO gets a little boost;

3) you get to market your company and showcase your strengths.

Example of responding to a good review:

responding to bad reviews - service champions

Responding To Bad Reviews

  • Say you’re sorry and express sympathy. (“Hi, [Name]. I’m sorry you had a bad experience.”)
  • Own up to any mistakes, and explain the type of experience you usually provide. (“We’re known for our attention to detail, and we apologize for missing the mark.”)
  • Provide your contact info, so you and the customer can discuss the issue and resolution one on one.
  • Keep it concise. No need to go into too much detail and say something that will make your customer more mad.
  • Do NOT include SEO stuff like business name, location, and services. It’s best if this review doesn’t show up on Google.

What Happens When You Respond To Bad Reviews: 1) The unsatisfied customer may change their negative review to a positive one; 2) the customer—now happy with you—is more likely to refer you or hire you again; 3) prospects see you fix problems, rather than neglect them, and that peace of mind makes them more likely to hire you.

Example of responding to a bad review:

responding to bad reviews - service champions 2

See? Simple.

The company in these examples is Service Champions. Leland, the owner, responds to literally every single review the company gets—good and bad. And they also happen to be the biggest HVAC company in California.

Here’s the thing…

The kids in my son’s drivers training class already knew the answer to the “blinker” question before they asked. They were just being lazy and didn’t want to reach the three inches to flip the turn signal.

The moral of the story: When it comes to responding to online reviews, don’t be like a lazy teenager.

Follow the blueprint I laid out above to squeeze every last drop of marketing juice out of your online reviews.

After all… it doesn’t hurt anything… and it doesn’t cost anything. 😉

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