Recently a story about a LEGO customer service email went viral. In it, the writer marvels at the whimsy and delight of a customer service agent’s response to the brick woes of their customer, left with missing pieces!
You can read the full email in the article that made it famous, but let’s just say the email both addressed the problem and referenced Star Wars, which is more fun than any customer service response most of us have received.
When it comes to responding to customer reviews (which, essentially are the same as emailed customer feedback, except that they’re displayed for the world to see), brand voice matters.
In creating websites, emails, and advertising, companies must continuously strive to match the vernacular and communication style of their audience through a unique brand voice. This increases both user engagement and SEO ranking. So why are many brands missing the opportunity to use that same brand voice when responding to reviews?
Either companies are not responding to reviews (here’s why that’s problematic), or they are using a simple PR handbook to guide responses. Either way, businesses are missing the chance to engage with their customers in their unique brand voice, which would make a positive and lasting impression on the customer. The few companies that are using brand voice to respond to reviews have a serious edge on the competition.
Take a look at an example of a standard response and an example of a branded response. Think about which you would rather receive as a customer, and which would make you a recurring customer.
Standard Review Responses
The UK baking chain Greggs is well loved. Not only do they offer delicious pastries, but they also employ fun visuals and creative marketing copy. They were even recognized by Econsultancy for being a brand with a brilliantly funny voice.
With ads like those in Greggs’ Available Everywhere, Enjoy Anywhere campaign—created by agency Drummond Central—the chain draws in their potential customers with innovation and delight.
So recently, when user Denis positively reviewed the chain, you’d think a cheeky response was just around the corner. Instead, when the diner reviewed a Greggs location on Facebook — calling the shop layout the best he had ever seen and applauding two staff members for their service — not much happened.
The company responded simply but dully:
We’re really happy to hear about this Denis. Could you please let us know the time of your visit so that we can [pass] this on?
And then, once the customer provided the requested information, the company said:
Hey, please DM us.
Not only does this second response add an element of confusion for Denis, not knowing whether he should have been DMing this information all along, it also lacks the brilliantly funny voice this brand is known for.
In this case, an opportunity is missed to use brand voice as a powerful tool to serve the customer and enhance their experience. Though the brand is known for its marketing and lauded for its service (just look at the review!), it could do more to reflect this excellence in its review responses.
On-Brand Review Response
Hidden in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (literally, hidden, with an alleyway entrance and password needed), is the SafeHouse Restaurant & Spy Bar.
Now, if your expectations are high for this top secret hideout, you’re not alone. Diners come to the SafeHouse not only from the Milwaukee area but from all over the Midwest for what the restauranteurs promise to be “a world of global espionage and entertainment.”
They invite diners to become a spy for the day and join in the immersive experience. Bring your loved ones out for a super secret covert mission of a lifetime, they advertise. But keep in mind, any intelligence found must remain secret.
But what if the serving agents are off their spy game one night? What if a dinner mission can’t be completed?
That’s exactly what happened to Yelp reviewer Anonymous S., who shared a negative experience with her daughter’s birthday outing to the SafeHouse. According to the review, the girl’s food wasn’t delivered when the other diners received their meals. There was also a charge on the party’s credit card after being promised complimentary food because of the mishap.
This is how the restaurant responded to the 1-star review:
Hello Agent Anonymous, my name is Agent Change. I really appreciate you taking the time to tell us about your experience. The way you detailed your time at Safehouse is really helpful and gives a really good picture of how that felt. I’m so sorry for your daughter. She handled everything so well. I have three junior spies under the age of 10yrs old so I completely relate to your experience. I can take care of the bill but I feel like I would pay anything to redo the experience for the sake of your daughter. Is [there] any chance you would let me throw a birthday party for your daughter as a redo? It can be any day and I will set it up myself.
Please call or text me at your earliest convenience.
And then Agent Change left their phone number to organize another meeting of the spies. With empathy, efficiency, and a message rich with brand voice, the SafeHouse delivered excellent customer service.
Less than two weeks after the first review went up, Anonymous S. had an update for fellow Yelpers. You can read the full review here, but it began with “The SafeHouse made things right,” and ended with “The SafeHouse management are a class act and I am proud that they call Milwaukee home. Thank you.”
Well done, Agent Change.
Make On-Brand Responses Happen. Every Time.
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