We have written a lot about the value of responding to negative reviews. A short response to a tough review is an incredibly effective way to get in front of your prospects because, frankly, bad reviews get read. But, while negative reviews are especially prime marketing real estate, there is a lot of value in responding to some positive reviews as well.
When we looked at the read times for our own reviews, we found that people spent more time reading one particular 5-star review over all the others we had received. The review itself is not particularly long, but we wrote a comment below it and the results have been surprising. It seems clear that people re-read the review after seeing our response:
Third-party reviews are read in a way that ads are not. Your prospective customers seek out your reviews, and they spend more than two minutes on average reading them. (Eons in Internet time.) So, think about what you want your prospective customers to know about you and your business, and respond to third-party hosted reviews written by your customers. Here are a few tips:
Just as we advise when responding to negative reviews, it is important that you keep your comments brief. When people are confronted with a large block of text, they often don’t bother reading. A couple of sentences will suffice in most instances.
One of your primary objectives is to build trust. The more your prospective clients feel like they know you as a professional, the more they will trust you. To that end, it is important for your prospects to see you actively engaging with your customers. Direct your response to the reviewer and make your comments particular to the customer experience described in the review. People read reviews to get a look behind the scenes. Give them a sense of what they can expect.
Even if your customer ultimately gave you 4 or 5 stars, they may have also included some constructive criticism. Maybe there was one aspect of their experience that was less than satisfactory. Even if the criticism is unfair, don’t waste time setting the record straight. It is better to focus on the positive. This is your opportunity to assure your prospects that their experience will be even better.
If you are passionate about providing the highest quality work, mention it. If you are a family business built on old-fashioned values, consider working that into your response. Be mindful of the qualities you want your prospects to identify in you and your business, just be careful not to stray off topic. The emphasis must be on engaging naturally with the reviewer.