Check out these Dos and Don'ts of replying to reviews to avoid common pitfalls, improve customer retention, raise SEO rankings, and build online reputation.
How to respond to online reviews?

Should I reply to reviews at all?

The answer is yes! In general, it is incredibly beneficial for hotels and other businesses to reply to online reviews, no matter if they are positive or negative. Doing so can improve customer retention, raise SEO rankings, and build online reputation. A survey by BrightLocal found that 77% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses 'always' or 'regularly' before making a purchase or visit. Additionally, Google has been known to favor businesses that respond to reviews when determining search rankings. Therefore, responding to online reviews is a good way to show future customers that you value their feedback and are committed to providing excellent customer service. This will increase your prospects of attracting new business and will promote continuous happiness for your customers.

How do I respond to a positive online review?

First and foremost, manifest your dedication to the customer. You should always thank the customer for taking the time to write a review – be it positive or negative. Do not forget that it takes effort to sit down and type out thoughts and feelings, so the least you can do is show appreciation for their feedback. From there, you can move on to addressing the key points the customer mentions.

For positive reviews, highlight the aspects of your business that the customer enjoyed. It’s also a very smart idea to share positive reviews on your website or social media channels. This helps show potential customers that you’re a reputable business with satisfied customers. Just be sure to get permission from the customer before you do so.

Last but not least, remember to include keywords in your response. This will help improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and ensure that more people encounter your positive reviews when they are searching for businesses like yours.

Here’s a quick overview of Dos and Don’ts when responding to positive reviews:

DOS of how to reply to positive reviews:

  • Use the magic word “Thank you!” – show gratitude to your customer’s positive feedback
  • Acknowledge the key points they mention – personalize your response, it shows commitment
  • Keep your response short and concise – remember that quality is better than quantity
  • Share the review on your website or social media – make the world see the value behind your service or product
  • Include keywords in positive review responses – boost your SEO and increase your online ranking
  • Always personalize by using the customer’s name – again this is crucial, because it displays actual dedication
  • If a customer mentions a service, place or person, repeat the positive aspects in your response – this is a great example of keyword selection which helps future consumers to access positive reviews
  • Share your company values – acknowledge the positive feedback and relate that to your core business values
  • Avoid repetition – you want to keep it brief and not boring
  • Make responses conversational – use a friendly and chatty language that makes your customers feel connected to you

DON'TS of how to reply to positive reviews:

  • Write a novel – keep it short and sweet
  • Ignore parts in positive reviews – address them head on
  • Only use generic phrases be specific about what you liked about the review

How do I respond to a neutral online review?

Every feedback your customer shares with you should be taken seriously. A neutral review can be just as valuable as a positive or negative one, so it's important to know how to properly respond.

Thank the customer for their review and repeat the positive aspects of it. Thank them for their input and let them know that you're constantly striving to improve your business. If there are any negative aspects mentioned, apologize and explain what you're actively doing to fix the issue. Finally, invite the customer back. Thank them for their time and let them know you value their feedback.

By following these simple steps, you can turn a neutral review into a positive opportunity to elevate your business.

How do I respond to a negative online review?

No matter what business you're in, negative reviews are bound to happen from time to time. And while it's never fun to see somebody unhappy with your products or services, it's important to remember that how you handle a negative review can be just as important as the review itself.

Here are a few tips on how to respond to a negative review in a professional and productive manner:

DOS of how to reply to negative reviews:

  • Be professional – even if the customer is being unreasonable, it's important to maintain a level of professionalism in your response
  • Show dedication to your brand – let the customer know that you're committed to providing the best possible experience for all of your customers
  • Take responsibility – if there was something that went wrong on your end, make sure to take responsibility for it
  • Be empathetic – put yourself in the customer's shoes and try to understand why they're unhappy
  • Say thank you – even if they're dissatisfied, thank them for taking the time to leave a review
  • Offer solutions – if there's anything you can do to help resolve the issue, make sure to do so
  • Acknowledge that the customer is upset – don't try to downplay their frustration, but let them know that you understand
  • Ask for more information – kindly request the customer to provide more details about their experience with you over the phone; the goal here is to move the conversation offline so that you can further investigate and resolve the issue
  • Remain professional throughout the response – it can be easy to get defensive when responding to a negative review, but it's important to keep your cool
  • Apologize for the customer's frustration and provide a productive next step – let them know that you're sorry for their experience and offer a resolution

DON'TS of how to reply to negative reviews:

  • Take it personally – it's important to remember that not every customer is going to be happy 100% of the time
  • Speculate about the cause of the frustration – stick to the facts and avoid making any assumptions
  • Publicly accuse the reviewer of fraud – this will only escalate the situation and damage your reputation

By following these tips, you can confidently handle any negative reviews that come your way.

Final thoughts

If you feel that this is a lot to handle and requires a lot of time, we put together 5 strategies that can help you to reduce the time to respond to reviews. You can for example use our AI Review Reply Assistant which is trained to follow these rules and provides you with review responses to any guest feedback in seconds.

By learning how to respond to your customers’ feedback you can help diffuse negative situations and provide an opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied one. It will also allow you to leverage reviews as valuable feedback in order to improve your business offerings and monitor customer experience trends over time. As the saying goes, "Conventional wisdom says addressing a problem is better than letting it fester." And in our experience, dealing with a discontent review directly and as quickly as possible will most likely lead to a positive outcome. Your guests come first, so make them feel that way!

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