Reviews are now integrated with your online business listing. This makes them a part of your digital storefront, and therefore a key element of the way customers experience your brand. 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and research suggests that reviews produce an average 18% uplift in sales.
But even as we’ve seen a massive increase in review volume, Yext research shows that only 40% of businesses are responding to reviews — meaning there’s a significant opportunity in this space.
Responding to reviews directly gives you the benefit of publicly demonstrating your brand’s responsivity and customer service. What’s more, it’s 6–7x more costly to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one,* so it literally pays to address negative experiences in the hope that a customer will return.
Businesses that respond to 60% of reviews see an average .28 increase** in their star rating. This elevates your reputation online — especially in search results. Listening and responding to reviews helps you retain customers, raise your star rating, and showcase your business to potential new customers.
So, what does an effective review response look like?
Here’s how to draft an effective review response:
An effective review response should have four parts: A greeting, value statement, sentiment keyword, and closing.
- Greeting: A friendly opening that mentions the customer’s name or username.
- Value statement: This is an opportunity to make a statement that discusses your brand in a positive light and affirms your values. State the experience that your brand strives to deliver. For example: “At [business name], we always strive to provide great customer service.”
- Sentiment keyword: This is part of what makes a response feel personal. Apologize when there’s a need, and echo back their emotional sentiment. (i.e., “We’re so delighted that…”; “We’re so sorry that X happened, and we aim to fix it with Y.”) Affirm the customer’s experience, acknowledging the problem when you’re responding to a negative review. When engaging with a positive review, be sure to thank the customer for their support.
- Closing: A polite and personal sign off. Bonus points for inviting them back to your business again — either to show them a better experience, or to continue more of the excellent service they commended you for!
Yext recommends using this strategy for responding to all reviews 3 stars and below, and for reviews 4 stars and above that contain detailed comments. Responding to 60–80% of your reviews is optimal, but you can start to see benefits in star rating and customer sentiment at just 10%.**
Explore more strategies in The Complete Guide to Reputation Management.
**Yext Proprietary Study, 2018