Best practices to responding to reviews
Responding to reviews is an important way to stay in contact with your customers. Well thought out responses help your customers feel acknowledged and can impress potential customers.
This is a brief guide on writing responses to reviews. This guide also applies well to answering questions and private messages from your customers.
- Posting Guidelines
- Template Responses
- Responding to Positive Reviews
- Responding to Negative Reviews
First, make sure your responses follow our Posting Guidelines. These guidelines apply to all site members as well as brand managers.
In addition to our Posting Guidelines, your responses should be:
- Calm - Try to respond with a cool head and avoid callous comments.
- Impartial - Try to understand your customer's point of view, even if you disagree with them.
- Professional - Respond according to your company's customer service policies.
- Respectful - Treat others fairly: don't personally attack or insult others.
- Relevant - Directly address your customer's concerns.
- Mindful of Privacy - Unless a reviewer has chosen to disclose their personal details, avoid posting information that could identify them.
- Non-commercial - Don't post promotional material. We reserve the right to remove any external links we deem inappropriate.
We understand that it is often company policy to use a template when responding to reviews. There is an obvious advantage in the ability to respond to a lot of reviewers quickly and efficiently but there are some notable disadvantages which apply more to negative reviews. These advantages and disadvantages have been summarised below in a pros and cons list:
In more detail, consumers perceive template responses as impersonal. They have the impression that their review hasn't been read/acknowledged because everyone is being given the same response. This disadvantage is related to the issue of repetitiveness where consumers will read through other reviews posted and will feel frustration at seeing the same response.
A larger problem with template responses is how prone they are to being incorrectly used. Due to how easy it is to copy and paste templates, it is also easy to miss altering important details. Consumers who see that they have not only received a template response but one that has been used incorrectly feel even worse than receiving a correct template response.
- If you do choose to use template responses, do not rely on them as is.
- Use more flexible/customisable template responses - have more blanks that need to be filled in so that consumers feel acknowledged.
- Use a range of template responses so they don't look repetitive as consumers scroll through your business listing.
- Check your responses carefully before posting them.
- Make sure your responses should also follow our Posting Guidelines.
Responding to Positive Reviews
A prompt response where you thank your customer for their review is very effective in showing others that you acknowledge the reviews you receive.
Responding to Negative Reviews
While negative reviews are unfavourable, they give you the opportunity to show the quality of your customer service.
For reviews with minor issues, respond publicly and acknowledge your customer's review - offer them assistance if possible. This can involve asking them for their order number or further details about their experience. The reviewer may change their mind and post an updated review. While an updated review can't be guaranteed with every negative review, a prompt and carefully-written response to a negative review can make a big impression on the customer and potential customers.
For reviews with major issues, again respond and acknowledge your customer's review. The more prompt this response is, the better. If need be, send your customer a private message to discuss the issue in private. You can make use of our Private Messaging Tool for this.
It may be the case that a customer chooses not to respond to you. Even if this happens, other reviewers and potential customers will see that you have responded and have taken the time to address someone's concerns.
We also encourage businesses to reach out to all their customers and to ask them to leave their genuine opinion on ProductReview.com.au. This helps your listing have a better overall rating that's representative of the majority of your customers.