The science of publishing a response to a negative review has been a major theme of this blog. I have written about the unique branding opportunity of owner responses, tips on formatting, and even some examples. One of the big takeaways is that responses get read. When I write about “opportunity,” I am referring specifically to getting in front of prospective customers who are actively performing Internet research; i.e., shopping.
This branding opportunity extends to publishing a “thank you” comment with a review. While the stakes are not nearly as high, and the read rates are less assured, the basic premise remains the same: Show your prospects who you are and why they should choose you. That’s it. Leveraging this channel means showing rather than telling. Consumers actively seek out reviews to avoid ads and marketing schlock, so there exists a fine balance between being authentic and advertising.
My tips! This is not, by any means, a definitive guide. Use the tips below as a starting point:
Avoid canned “Thank you” messages. A response should be specific to the reviewer’s customer experience. Again, consumers seek out reviews to get a sense for what their own experience would be like, and they are not going to get that insight from a generic response. Cite a few tidbits that are particular to the customer experience being reviewed.
I hear this all the time: A business owner goes out of his way to perform some harrowing feat or engineering breakthrough only to receive a review that omits all of that valuable detail. Well, add it.
This is tricky. One of the keys to ensuring your response gets read is keeping it short and sweet. So, focus on the 1 or 2 main points you want to include with your published response.
I appreciate that some business owners like to write at least a brief “thank you” for each of the reviews they receive. If that’s who you are, go ahead. But, understand this: When all of the reviews have a response, they are less likely to be impactful when it counts. It becomes a formality and your prospective customers will be less likely to read them. I advise reserving those “thank you” comments for when you have something especially meaningful to impart.
If you went above-and-beyond or threw in something for free, consider saying so. I understand why many businesses want to keep that kind of information to themselves to avoid setting the wrong expectation. But when you think of reviews as an asset for lead generation, those freebies become part of your advertising budget. Get a return on that expense.
Getting over the trust hurdle is one of the most important benefits of this effort. The more your prospective customers feel they know you and trust you, the more likely they are to select your business over a competitor. So, dial down the corporate-speak a little bit.
It is still important to be professional and technically savvy, but you can also be warm, funny, and light-hearted. If you are third-generation family-owned business, think about how you can get that information across.