Why reply to reviews at all? Usually, when it comes to managing your online reputation, it’s all about getting more reviews. But replying to reviews can be just as important. When researching a business, 89% of consumers read replies to reviews.
If you’re not spending any time replying to reviews, you could leave customers with the impression that you don’t care about them.
If you currently have a sporadic approach to replying to reviews, maybe you haven’t noticed much of a difference in your business. But when you change your approach and strategically reply to reviews — even the not-so-good ones — you can drive long-term business success.
Here are the benefits you can expect from replying to reviews.
1. Brand Trust
One of the keys to building brand trust with your customers is through communication. Of course, there are many ways you communicate with potential customers every day – your website, email marketing efforts, social media, etc.
But if you’ve ever left customer feedback, whether that’s through a review, survey, or other formats, and the company followed up, how did you feel? Chances are you felt special. Because that communication was only for you. Customers want to be seen and heard.
And more importantly, they expect a fast response when there’s a problem. By giving timely replies to reviews, you show your customers that you’re committed to great service, meeting their needs, and resolving their problems.
2. Influence the Conversation
You don’t have any control over what gets posted on review sites, but you can control what you say in return. Replying to reviews is an important opportunity to clarify a situation, provide additional context and information, and offer support.
You’ll want to be careful in trying to correct a negative review that a customer has shared though. Negating or disagreeing with the customer isn’t a good look. So just be sure to address negative reviews carefully. If you can successfully reply to negative reviews, they can actually work in your favor.
How to Reply to Reviews
3. Brand Loyalty
According to consumers, businesses that respond to reviews are 1.7X more trustworthy than businesses that don’t.
Replying to reviews establishes a two-way connection with your customers. It makes your brand human to them and to everyone else who might be reading the reviews. It’s these types of human, emotional connections that ultimately drive brand loyalty.
An additional way to boost brand loyalty through review replies is to reward those who leave especially positive and informative reviews. Give them a discount to use on their next purchase to thank them – and keep them coming back!
4. Increased Visibility
The number of reviews and your overall review score factor into local search ranking. But so do review responses. Review responses signal to Google that the page is actively managed. The listing is then rewarded with better online exposure as a result. While other review sites can vary in how they factor in review responses, it’s certainly not going to hurt your ranking to reply.
5. More Conversions
All of these benefits eventually lead to more conversions. How? Because a customer that feels seen and heard by you keeps buying. Other customers who see your interactions with customers through reviews start leaving reviews. More reviews improve your local search ranking. And a better search ranking earns you more new customers.
As evidence, a study done by Cornell University researchers examined thousands of hotel reviews and responses on TripAdvisor. They found a 12% increase in the number of reviews that came in and an increase in overall ratings when businesses responded to reviews. More specifically, the business experienced a .04 percent increase in revenue for each additional review earned. Though this exact lift can vary from industry to industry — the evidence is there, responding to reviews increases reviews, and as a result revenue.
Replying to reviews takes time. But it’s an essential part of managing an online reputation. With GatherUp, you can save time replying to reviews. Our SmartReply feature uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze reviews and automatically generate a customized, human-sounding response. You can save time replying to reviews, craft better responses, and improve response time. Request a demo today to learn more.