Review Response FAQ
- What do mean by using a response to turn a review into a marketing opportunity?
- What sites does Response HELPER help with? Do they include Facebook? Blogs and Forums? Amazon product reviews?
- We have many more positive than negative reviews, so is it really necessary to respond to the negative reviews?
- Should I respond to negative reviews/ postings that were published a long time ago, e.g., more than a year ago?
- Can you help us get negative reviews and postings removed altogether?
- What if I post a response, and the reviewer writes a follow-up review?
- Is it appropriate to respond to a review with an apology?
- Should I be really deferential in my response? Because isn't the customer always right?
- Should I respond to every review? Or to any positive reviews?
- Should I respond to every negative review/ posting?
Our goal is to win
for our clients
* * *What do you mean by using a response to turn a review "into a marketing opportunity"?
When we say turn it into a marketing opportunity" we mean that we can use the review as an opportunity to deliver key messages about your business, and score a net positive impact. We exploit the negative review to say really good things about you. In this way a negative review can be an opportunity. The best way to understand this is to read our case studies.
* * *What sites does Response HELPER help with? Do they include Facebook? Blogs and Forums? Amazon product reviews?
Any place where there's a need and a possibility to offer a response. It could even be a print publication.
* * *We have many more positive than negative reviews, so is it really necessary to respond to the negative reviews?
Having many positive reviews is helpful, and could negate the need to respond to a given negative review. Popular restaurants often don't need to respond to most negative reviews. However, for many other businesses, what a review actually says determines if it should be responded to it or not, as well as the entire context that surrounds it. A particular negative review could sow doubt and could cost you business, despite being surrounded by many more positive reviews. This is especially true with product reviews. Also, bad is much stronger than good. This is explained in detail on our Why You Should Respond page. We're happy to evaluate any review and give you an opinion and recommendation of how best to handle it.
* * *Should I respond to negative reviews/ postings that were published a long time ago, e.g., more than a year ago?
In most cases (there are exceptions), it doesn't matter how long ago a negative review/ posting was published. As long as prospective customers continue to visit web pages and see relevant negative critiques, you're being hurt and competitors are getting business that should be yours. It's never too late to respond and neutralize a negative reviewand even turn it into a marketing opportunity!
* * *Can you help us get negative reviews and postings removed altogether?
Yes, sometimes it's possible to get a negative review/ posting removed. We'll tell you if it's possible, and we'll write the communication requesting its removal. We understand the policies of most of the popular sites and how to make the best case for removal. You usually only get one chance, so it's helpful to have an objective, experienced third party write the argument.
* * *What if I post a response, and the reviewer writes a follow-up review?
Sometimes the reviewer/ poster responds to your response. That's usually a good thing. If the initial review was fair, or at least reasonably well intentioned, then after your response the reviewer may do an update that's more positive. If the initial review was an attack review, after your response the reviewer may become unhinged in a follow-up response, further discrediting his/her original review. This is a positive for you. The original review was probably carefully calculated to sound objective and dispassionate in trying to hurt you as much as possible. After you publish the response we write, the reviewer's ego can't take it, so he/she writes a ranting response. In the case of a Yelp page, the new updated review basically replaces the more rational and damaging review, which is now minimized. Our response is still there. It's usually not worth responding to their response, unless something needs to be corrected. And if we do respond, it's usually short, factual and unemotional: a credible counterpoint to the rant.
* * *Can we write our own responses, and have you review it for us, like an editor?
Yes, certainly. We'll review your reviews, private communications to reviewers, or attempts to get a website to remove a negative review or posting. We do not have minimums on our response work, other than a 15-minute mininum increment on our hourly billing. In fact, if you do write your own response and do not want to hire professionals like us to review it, we strongly urge to you to have an objective third party look it over, even a friend. You're just too close to it. That said, we can tell you from experience that few clients can write effective responses. They're usually far off the mark, because they don't understand communications principles. Their drafts are typically complex point-by-point refutations that sound defensive and confuse the casual reader and cause him/her to stop reading.
* * *You say things like, torpedo the reviewer's credibility. This conflicts with articles I've read that say to be deferential, admit mistakes, provide restitution, etc.
The response strategy we use depends on the type of review and the specifics of the review and the entire context. It's oftentimes appropriate and effective to admit mistakes, and certainly to be polite (although it's never appropriate to be abject and servile). But if we're dealing with an attack review intended to destroy you, our strategy is indeed to torpedo the reviewer's credibility, because that's what it takes to neutralize the negative information and win the hearts and minds of potential customers. Our goal is to win for our clients. See our case studies.
A lot of information you might read on the subject of responding to reviews are one-person opinion columns, rather than articles by real journalists, based on research and speaking with real communications experts. Our senior professionals have worked on the front lines of high-stakes communications battles, involving issues such as environmental pollution, tobacco, product liability, and labor strikes. We're communications professionals with real experience and knowledge.
* * *Is it appropriate to respond to a review with an apology?
Yes, it certainly can be. But it has to be warranted, and strategically "smart", meaning that it will be effective for you. How you do it needs to be productive as opposed to unproductive, i.e., it should not be abject and servile and paint a target on your back for blackmailers.
* * *Isn't the customer always right?
If you believe that, you've already lost, because you've surrendered. Sometimes the customer is right, and sometimes the customer is wrong. When making a response, it's usually effective to point out both. If you made a mistake, you want readers to believe it was an exception, not the rule. The customer is never right if the theme of the review is that your business is worthless and nobody should patronize it.
* * *Should I respond to every review? Or to any positive reviews?
You should not respond to every review/ posting. The principle of less is more comes into play: the more you respond, the more diluted all your responses become, to the point where people don't bother reading any of the them. On review sites, responding to every review is usually about thanking people for their reviews. It comes across as ingratiating and obsessed with reviews, and puts a target on your back for scam artiststhey write a negative review, and then tell you they'll remove it if you refund their money, or some such thing. (See our ScamBrat case study.) That said, some corporate policies demand responding to every review, and if that's the case, we do our best to make each response sound personal, individualized to the review.
* * *Should I respond to every negative review/ posting?
You should not respond to every negative review/ posting. The less-is-more principle applies here, as well. It depends on what the review or posting says. On review sites with ratings, some businesses obsess over the rating of the review, when what's important is what is said. A review may not say much of importance, and discredit itself with emotional gibberish. We'll help you evaluate if a negative review should be responded toand if you should first reach out to the reviewer with a private communication.