Thursday, September 12, 2019

How to Respond to Online Reviews

Love them or hate them, online reviews are here to stay. Here is a compilation of tips for dealing with online reviews. I found many blogs that listed for each individual site (Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google), but I put this together into one document for my clients. This is geared towards restaurants but applies to any business. Enjoy!

How to Respond to Reviews

Why Respond to Reviews?
Nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase (Spiegel Research Center, 2017) Online customer reviews are becoming one of the most powerful tools for marketers while promoting their product or service. In fact, 95 percent of consumers read online reviews before making a buying decision in 2017. Meanwhile, 85 percent will trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That being said, it’s important for businesses to leverage customer feedback, both good and bad, to build their brands and stand out from the crowd. 
Responding to reviews is an important step to take toward fostering trust with your customers. A heartfelt, well-written response coming from a real employee can humanize a brand much more than just a “like” or a “share.” Additionally, consumers are relying on it. ReviewTrackers found that 52 percent of customers expect to hear back from brands within seven days of writing an online review—that goes for negatives and positives.  
Be Prompt

More than 80% of consumers believe getting their issue resolved quickly is the most important part of a great customer service experience. 

Start With a Thank You

Always thank your guests for coming in and trying out your restaurant, even if they’re regulars. Showing your gratitude for coming in underlines the hospitality you offer in-person. It’s the equivalent of your host thanking them on their way out the door.
Example of a response to a good review:

“So glad to hear you enjoyed your dinner here, Treesha! Thanks for checking us out and taking the time to share. Hope to see you again if you're ever back in town!”
If the review is less positive, thank them instead for coming in and for taking the time to share feedback. Here’s a response to a review that contained a noise complaint:

Thanks for sharing! We always appreciate honest feedback, and it does indeed get pretty lively in here. Glad to hear you enjoy[ed] the drinks!”

Show Customers You’re Listening

Most of the time, when someone posts a review, they want to be heard — so make sure that you’re listening. Acknowledging and echoing the feedback you’ve received in your response — positive or negative — shows that you care about what people are saying and that you’ve actually heard what they wanted to share.

Take this example from a review thanking the restaurant for explaining the menu to their party, who didn’t speak French:
“Many thanks for your post. It was a pleasure to translate our daily menu to you (hope my accent was not to difficult to understand :). We really hope to see you next time you are around. We wish you the best!”

Use Keywords in your Favor

When you respond to a review, you’re adding to the discourse about your restaurant. When someone is searching for your restaurant or restaurants like yours on Google, the reviews people write — and your responses — show up in search results. In your Management Response, be aware of the words you’re using.
So while it’s great to echo the feedback that your diners give you, think about what keywords you use and whether or not you want those words associated with your restaurant. If you’re known as a family-friendly restaurant, for instance, reiterate that in your Management Response.
Be Positive, Professional, and Courteous

While a negative review can be incredibly frustrating, it’s important to adopt the “customer is always right” mentality in your Management Response. Apologize for what the customer disliked and be sure to note that if it was an unusual occurrence so that future customers know that’s not what your brand is truly about.
Here’s a great example from James Hook and Company in Boston responding to someone who was a little disappointed about a lobster roll. They highlighted what they’re known for, acknowledged their shortcomings mentioned in the review, and asked politely for another chance:
“We're sorry if any of our staff seemed short with you on your visit, Sheila. We want you to feel welcome in our place, and you shouldn't feel rushed when deciding on your order. It's disappointing you didn't enjoy the lobster roll. As a proud member of the Boston community since 1925, we'd never want to be considered a tourist trap. We build our rolls the classic way, with only a touch of mayo and celery, and believe the quality of fresh lobster in every roll reinforces our price point. We hope you give us another chance the next time you're in town.”
Be Human

Being professional and courteous doesn’t mean you have to sound like a robot. Don’t be afraid to be friendly and open, just as you would in person, and remind them who you are:

“Thank you so much for taking the time to review us! If I remember correctly, I might have served your group. We're thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your experience and are planning to visit again. Until then, hope you're enjoying your holidays, and Happy 2016!”
When it comes to a negative review, make sure you respond as yourself and what you personally are doing to rectify the situation. Take this example from the Lounge and Bar in Hong Kong. They thanked them for reviewing, acknowledged the feedback, and made it clear that they were personally addressing those concerns to the larger staff. They even went above and beyond and included specific contact information for when this reviewer returns in the future to make sure they have the best experience.

“Many thanks for taking the time to review the Lounge and Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong.
I am sad to read that although you enjoyed the view and apple pie, the rest of your experience were not up to your expectations for which I would like to offer my sincerest apologies. At The Ritz-Carlton we constantly strive to ensure the food and drinks offered and also service is kept to a high standard. Following your comments I will be personally addressing these issues with the Lounge and Bar team to ensure that we provide a 5 star experience to all our guests.
We do hope your experience will not deter you from coming back to The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong where we hope to offer you a much heightened experience. I would highly recommend our Dom Perignon Brunch served on Sundays at Ozone, the highest bar in the world, 16 floors higher than the Lounge and Bar.
Please contact our Lounge and Bar manager Mr. Philip Howard (Email address below) when you are returning to visit us so that we can ensure you have the best experience.”

Invite Them to Come Back

Regardless of the type of review, make sure to invite them back!  

“Hi, Thank you for writing a review and highlighting your favorites. I will make sure our Chef Stephanie sees your wonderful compliments on her food. Hope to see you again soon.”
If they mentioned a particular dish or type of cuisine you offer, make sure to let them know in your response if you’re running a special event or discount around that type of food. If you offer a seafood special on Mondays, for example, or serve a particular dish seasonally, you could highlight this information for other diners reading your response.

How to Post a Management Response on TripAdvisor

Now that you know what to say, responding to a review is easy:

1.   Log in to the Management Center. If you haven’t already claimed your listing, you can do so here.

2.   Choose “Respond to Reviews” under the “Reviews” tab.

3.   From there, you’ll be able to look at every review you’ve received. You can filter them by bubble rating, title, and whether or not you’ve already responded to them.

4.   Type your response into the text box, choose your business role for your signature, and press the orange “Submit” button.

5.   Your response will then appear below the review.
How to Reply to a Yelp Review
To respond to a review via Public Comment
1.    Go to the Reviews section of your business account

2.    Locate the review and click Add Public Comment

3.    Enter your text and click Preview

4.    Review the text and click Post Comment
If you would like to edit or remove your comment, click on the overflow menu (three dots) to the right of the comment, and select Edit Comment or Remove Comment.
​To respond to a review via direct message
1.    Go to the Reviews section of your business account

2.    Locate the review and click Send Direct Message

3.    Enter your text and click Send
To respond to a review from the Yelp for Business Owners app

1.    Tap Activity in the bottom navigation bar

2.    Tap Reviews

3.    Tap the review you'd like to respond to

4.    Tap the bar at the bottom of the screen that says Write a response...

5.    Write your response and tap Next

6.    Preview the response. Toggle the Make Reply Public switch to ON if you'd like it to be a public comment on the business page (OFF will be sent as a direct message to the reviewer)

7.    Tap Post
To thank a reviewer
If you’d like to thank a user for their 4 or 5 star review, you can send a quick thank you note by clicking or tapping the Thank button underneath the review in your Business Owner Account. This will send a direct thank you message to the user that will not be displayed publicly on the site, but will be visible to that user only.
How to Reply to Google Reviews
  1. Sign in to Google My Business by navigating to
  2. Click the three horizontal bars in the top left-hand corner to choose your listing.
  3. Click "Manage reviews." Once you find a review you want to engage with, click "View and reply" to type out a response.