Responding to Reviews

Responding to Online Reviews

Why you should be responding to online reviews and some tips and advice for responding successfully.

Why reviews are important to your business?

Simply put, having positive online reviews and high ratings can make your business more appealing to potential customers, while negative comments and low ratings that are in the public domain, can turn them away.

Online reviews drive who ‘sees’ you online by improving your SEO. According to Google – “Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility, and influence the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”

Why respond to reviews?

  • It’s an opportunity to interact with guests you have lost
  • It demonstrates to potential guests that you take their communication seriously
  • More reviews encourage more reviews which will in turn drive more footfall
  • More engagement and reviews = Higher rankings against competitors
  • Your teams are often encouraging guests to leave reviews, take the opportunity to thank them for their time
  • Your Google SEO will benefit the more you engage with Google reviews

Which channels to focus on?

Consider where you get the bulk of your reviews and match your responding strategy towards that. Bear in mind the following:

  • The Facebook algorithm rewards you when you engage more. Followers are more likely to see your posts in their feeds, helping your marketing team get their content
  • Google is the most widely used review channel when deciding where to go
  • Tripadvisor is the older demographics’ go-to platform, with 31% of 55-64 year olds heading to Tripadvisor to check out locations prior to choosing where to go as reported upon in our recent annual Consumer Research report ‘Pulse’.

Responding to Negative Social Reviews – Best Practice

  • Demonstrate you have read the review by picking up on key points raised in the review
  • Respond in a timely manner, within 24 hours if possible
  • Try not to take it personally, keep it professional
  • Address specific issues raised, apologising where mistakes have been made
  • Correct any false statements
  • Detail any action or change implemented as a result of the reviewers’ comments
  • Highlight the positives
  • Be polite and respectful
  • Thank the reviewer
  • Invite the reviewer to contact you privately which will give you the opportunity to invite them back in
  • Sign off with your name to show you are a real person

Responding to Positive Social Reviews – Best Practice

  • Demonstrate you have read the review by picking up on key points raised in the review
  • Thank the reviewer
  • Use emojis where appropriate to keep the reply light hearted
  • Reiterate keywords to help your Google SEO including dish names, your brand name
  • Where a team member has been praised, recognise this in your reply and ensure the team member gets internal recognition
  • Sign off with your name to show you are a real person

How can Feed It Back help you respond to reviews?

  • One place to manage all your review responding with alerts and a daily summary to help you keep on track
  • Useful dashboard reports to check status of open, closed or aged reviews
  • Templates and snippets with areas for customisation to mention food or drink items or specific team members
  • An easy way to take negative feedback offline and to contact the site directly via Feed It Back so everything is again in one place
  • Automatic assigning of reviews to different people in the business based on topics e.g. allergen issue