The majority of articles, whitepapers, and research associated with responding to online reviews posted on popular review websites mainly address best practices associated with responding to negative reviews. When marketing researchers have approached business owners to try to understand their needs, as it relates to reputation management, positive reviews are always overshadowed by the when and how of tackling negative reviews. The benefit and potential of responding to positive reviews is often overlooked and frequently under-optimized.
Responding to positive online reviews on websites such as Yelp, YP.com, Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, and OpenTable can unleash tremendous benefits. Let’s explore a few as we learn how to optimize every opportunity available to the savvy business owner or reputation manager.
(Check out: “Ethical Ways to Generate More Positive Online Reviews”)
Responding to Positive Reviews Reinforces Loyalty
A study conducted by McKinsey found that “customers are loyal because they are emotionally attached”. Responding to a positive review creates a unique and personal communication link with a customer who has already demonstrated a proclivity for brand-advocacy.
By tailoring a response to a positive review in a way that triggers an emotional connection, a business can gain significant ground in building loyalty and repeat business opportunities. A response to a positive review should aim to connect with the customer. If a business does not have the time or willingness to craft a response that gets it emotionally closer to the customer, it is losing a prime opportunity to build and reinforce experiential value. If your review response serves as a building block toward emotional attachment, you are likely to soon see the result. A study conducted by Mori indicated that emotionally attached customers are:
- At least three times more likely to recommend
- Three times more likely to re-purchase
- Less likely to shop around (44 percent said they rarely or never shop around)
- Much less price sensitive (33 percent said they would need a discount of over 20 percent before they would defect)
Grab the ball and run with it, making it your goal to reduce your ongoing marketing and customer acquisition costs by improving your online reputation and increasing your customer loyalty.
Responding to Positive Reviews Boosts SEO
Improving the way and frequency by which people find you online is perhaps the most valuable benefit of responding to online reviews. By combining strategically drafted, keyword-rich responses with the power and visibility of popular review websites, businesses can exponentially increase the possibility of being found based on keyword searches.
While your website may not be strong, relevant, or popular enough for a new customer to find you for any search aside from your brand, a well drafted review response will, without a doubt, prioritize your review website profile to be responsive to the keywords you select and incorporate into your responses.
While negative review responses lend you a similar opportunity, positive review responses are ideal, since they naturally allow you to segue into rich descriptions of the products and/or services that people love. By mimicking the choice of words used by your customers in writing a positive review, you improve the chances of your review response being a perfect match to search strings and keywords used by customers of similar social, educational, and cultural backgrounds. Study the most popular terms for your niche, using tools like KeywordSpy, and make them part of your review responses to further your SEO strategy.
Responding to Positive Reviews Promotes Your Brand
A positive review sets the stage for responses that highlight positive, customer-centric characteristics of your business that may not be fully disclosed on your website or evident at first sight for new customers. If a positive review highlights products, services or business practices not commonly known to the public, such as special promos or value-add services, like turndown service with cookies and milk, for example, make it a point to expand on it in a way that is brand-sensitive.
You may want to include branded terminology and convey how the experience voiced by the review can and will be duplicated for the enjoyment of future customers. After all, good branding is about consistent delivery of excellent experiences across all customers.
Responding to Positive Reviews Reassures Future Customers
The way a business engages with every customer that leaves a review provides context for shoppers and sets expectations. If every customer receives the courtesy and consideration of a personalized, solution-driven and gratitude-saturated response, potential future customers may be more inclined to try you out and have increased confidence regarding the way your business handles the whole customer experience cycle. When writing a response to a positive review, always keep in mind the broader audience and write with a heart for ambassadorship that embraces all that your brand represents. Let your review response reassure future customers of your commitment toward quality and constant improvement.
Responding to Positive Reviews Spurs Review Velocity
Most humans are more inclined to join a dialogue than to engage in a monologue. If all your review website profiles are response-rich, caring, personable, and customer-focused, you will increase the potential of receiving additional reviews. Several surveys indicate that customers who made use of review websites in selecting a vendor are more likely to leave a review if the profile shows customer and proprietor interactivity. Having increased number of reviews can move you up the ranks of popularity, and in turn, increase the number of leads originating from review websites.
Responding to positive reviews is easy, it is encouraging, and it promotes a healthy online reputation for your business. If you are not doing it, it is never too late to get started. Give it a try and reap the benefits of a well-rounded online image for your business. Monitor your reviews and make it your goal to have 100 percent response rates because every customer matters!