Glowing online reviews and recommendations are marketing gold. This is because social proof drives purchase decisions. In his book, Influence, Robert Cialdini coined the term social proof and defined it as “informational social influence." If those around us—our friends and total strangers alike—agree that this product or service is a good one, we’ll take them on their word and buy it. Decision made. Today, online reviews are among the largest sources of social proof available. They have a clear impact on both sales and your brand’s reputation.
When your customers have good things to say about you, they are more likely to post reviews on sites like Amazon, Google, Yelp, or TripAdvisor. They want to sing your praises and shout them from the rooftops. They are doing the heavy leg work of marketing, expanding the conversation around your brand, and helping their peers make purchase decisions that will improve their lives. A win-win-win situation!
A simple thank you to these raving fans can take the conversation around your brand to the next level. So how do you respond? Here are some best practice tips:
1. First And Foremost, Thank Them!
When a customer leaves you a review, they’ve spent some of their precious time helping to promote your brand. Begin your response with sincere and heartfelt thanks, letting them know that you appreciate them taking time out of their busy lives to sit down and write such a kind review.
Thank the customer by name and write each response out individually. If you post a prewritten or canned response too many times, your reply will seem disingenuous or like the response was written by a bot. The thought and candor you put into your answer will go a long way in the minds and hearts of not only the customer who wrote the review but those reading it as well. Your potential customers will see what kind of company they’re looking to buy from: are you a business who genuinely cares about what your customers are saying? Or are you simply checking an item off your to-do list with your response? They know the difference. Trust us.
2. Respond Quickly
Respond as early as possible. Within the first day is ideal, but anytime within the first week is still widely considered acceptable. This goes hand and hand with the verbal expression of gratitude. Your timeliness is another way you show how much you value your customers and helps them know they’re a top priority.
3. Keep It Short And Sweet.
Be grateful. Be genuine. Be concise. No one likes a wordy response. In keeping your message brief but impactful, you’re letting your customers know you value their time as much as your own. If you say too much, ramble on too long, the value of your words may decrease, and you could even come off as a bit clingy. Short and simple is your winning strategy, every time.
4. Build The Relationship
Affirm your appreciation and make your customer feel special. Let them know you look forward to seeing or working with them again in the future. Sign the review with your name so that your customer knows there’s a real person on the other end of the computer. In an era of auto-responses, the personalized touch goes a long, long way.
5. When It Feels Right, Invite Them To Take Action
To maximize your success, you may consider adding in a small call-to-action. Strike while the iron’s hot and invite your happy customers to take action while they’re stoked about your brand. This is optional in your response, but the small ask can help further your own business goals. Make sure it feels natural, easy, and mutually beneficial. A few possible options: ask them to bring a friend next time, book another session to continue their momentum, or follow you on social media to learn the latest from your brand. Whatever you chose, your CTA should be small, simple, and have value to you both!
P.S. Do you have some reviews that are less-than-positive? In our previous article, we have outlined some great tips for responding to negative reviews as well.
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