Reviews play an increasingly critical role in the customer decision-making process. It’s becoming ever more likely that customers will choose to shop at or book the services of organizations with high star ratings, lots of positive reviews and effective negative review responses.
Many businesses are catching on and putting more effort into acquiring reviews and monitoring and managing the ones they receive.
But some businesses are still behind.
If your business is one of them, don’t worry! By investing in review management now, your organization can still get an extra leg up in today’s increasingly digital ecosystem.
So what exactly is review management? Essentially, it involves monitoring and responding to reviews your customers leave on various channels — and it may just be the secret weapon you need to get ahead of the competition and increase your business’s success.
4 Reasons Review Response Management Is a Secret Weapon
1. Review Responses Boost Your Business’s Reputation
55% of consumers say that receiving a response from a business to their positive or negative review makes them feel positive about that business. Only 3% more (58%) said the same about a business having a high star rating, so customers care just as much about your star rating as your review response strategy!
Relying on your star rating alone isn’t enough to impress customers, but topping off a five-star rating with great review responses will increase your positive reputation among current and potential customers alike.
Review management is just one part of reputation management — which includes management of your review channels as well as other places the public may discuss your brand, such as on social media or in the news. Having an effective review management strategy works alongside other elements of reputation management to grow and improve your company’s reputation.
Replying to all reviews, both positive and negative, is an essential part of any review management strategy and one Google itself recommends. Replying to negative reviews won’t solve all your company’s problems, but if you do so in a way that applies best practices, you won’t need to fear bad reviews. Even the best companies get them! In fact, having a few can strengthen your reputation even more, especially when they’re followed up with great replies.
2. Reviews Are Becoming a Major Component of Local SEO
Are you optimizing all available options for search engine success? Reviews are poised to become one of the top ways for a brand to establish — and for the public to measure — authority and credibility.
The more reviews you have, the more likely your organization is to come up in a Google search (and rank higher). Replying to these reviews further increases your company’s online activity — a great way to get ahead of your competitors who may be ignoring their reviews, leaving customers feeling unheard.
Optimizing your review profiles is an essential aspect of SEO as well. Your optimized profile will pull up more search results. Plus, imagine how much better you’ll look to customers when you have fleshed-out profiles on top review sites like Yelp, Google and Tripadvisor!
3. Review Management Can Future-Proof Your Business
Online reviews have exploded in recent years, but they’re only getting started. Every year, more consumers turn to reviews for their purchasing decisions.
In 2021, 77% of consumers “always” or “regularly” read reviews, according to a study specifically addressing local business consumers. That stat was up from 60% the previous year. What’s more, 89% of those same consumers said they’d be “fairly” or “highly” likely to visit a business or book a service from a business that responds to all its reviews.
As digitally native consumers continue to hold more buying power, reviews will very likely continue to grow in influence. Gen Z and millennial consumers are far more likely to scrutinize how companies respond, so it’s essential to have a review management strategy if you want to bring in these consumers. The businesses that do will find it easier to beat out their competition.
4. Monitoring and Responding to Reviews Will Help Your Business Improve
If you’re truly paying attention to what your reviews are saying (both the good and the bad), not just reading them in order to write a quick response, you’ll be able to gather critical intel on what customers truly want.
Most reviewers are reasonable people who just want their concerns (or praises) heard. Yes, sometimes you’ll get a review that’s rude or revengeful, but many negative reviews will offer your business constructive criticism.
In response, your company can make changes and improve, ultimately making future customers happier, attracting more positive reviews and improving your reputation, both online and in real life.
How to Wield Positive and Negative Review Response Management in 2022
Now that we understand why review management is a secret weapon, here are a few ways you can wield it to sneak up on your competition this year.
1. Create a Review Response Strategy
Developing a strategy that details how your business responds to different types of reviews will help your organization keep responses on brand. Consider including example replies in your strategy, but remember that using canned replies is risky. While they may be useful in some situations, typically, each review response should vary depending on the situation.
2. Ask for Reviews
70% of consumers will leave a review if asked, so it doesn’t hurt to reach out. This could be through email or SMS text message requests — complete with templates your customers could use as a jumping-off point. Essentially, make it as easy as possible for them to leave a review.
Once your customers leave strong reviews, you’ll have something to reply to, which will ultimately help you feed your SEO and positive reputation — a win-win! The more people talking about your company, the better.
If you’re having trouble getting your customers to leave reviews, check out our tips here.
3. Be Authentic and Conversational in Your Replies
Does your brand have a genuine personality? Authentic brand voices are becoming more valued every day, and this trend applies directly to review management. Brands have the opportunity to relate to customers with empathy and understanding in their review responses.
Don’t try to appear like a perfect brand, but embrace your role as a relatable organization made up of real people, serving and connecting with real people. A little honesty — such as acknowledging when your organization made a mistake — will go a long way toward increasing your reputation and creating loyal customers.
Consider a Full-Service Review Management Team — Like Let Us Respond!
Are you DIY-ing every aspect of your reputation and marketing management?
As the emphasis on having a digital presence increases, brands need every advantage they can get to reach customers online. And sometimes, you just need a little help.
There’s a lot that goes in to review response management, but review management systems like Let Us Respond can handle all of that for you.
We use a combination of people and intuitive technology to provide real-time review response management — customized to you brand! Ready to equip your business with a weapon that could change everything? Book your free online review management consultation today.