Responding to online reviews of your business can be one of the most daunting tasks you face. Luckily, there is an abundance of advice on how to handle negative reviews. What’s missing are suggestions for thanking positive reviewers. They took the time to leave feedback and that deserves recognition.
If possible, you should try to respond in private to the reviewer. Doing so will let them know that you are listening to them. Deciding when to respond to a positive review publicly is a bit more nuanced. Before you write anything, you should take note of the community you are posting to and what the norms are for communication with business owners.
Google Plus currently has limited social context. Reviewers generally will not expect a response from the business unless the review is negative. Google has tied all sorts of services together with Google+ pages, so a good practice would be to check out the Google+ page for each reviewer and determine how active they are. Users that regularly post in Google+ Communities may be more likely to share their good review with other users.
Facebook is at the other end of the spectrum from Google Plus. Interactions on Facebook should be viewed as an ongoing conversation, and the community standard is to engage in it. Businesses should always respond to reviews here, even if there is nothing to add other than a simple thank you.
Yelp lies somewhere between Google and Facebook in terms of social activity. A community exists, but only between reviewers. Yelp had previously advised against businesses replying to positive reviews, holding the “Why mess with something that’s already good?” view, but have recently changed their stance.
As with Google+, you should check the posting history of the reviewer to aid in choosing which reviews to respond to. Simple thanks should be kept to private messages, and can be canned or personalized. Public responses should be genuine and sincere. They should also add significant value to the conversation by addressing any questions or providing more detail about what you do and how you do it.
Twitter is not directly related to reviews, but can be a constant source of feedback for some industries. Past studies have shown that 53% of users will expect a business to respond to their tweets within an hour. That statistic increases to 72% when the tweet in question is a complaint.
If no response comes, 38% of users will feel more negative about the business and 60% will take further action to express their dissatisfaction. Further action typically means posting to previously mentioned websites with review capabilities. While most of these statistics apply only to negative feedback, we recommend getting into the habit of responding to all tweets in a timely manner.
The best customers are the ones willing to take the extra step and leave positive feedback about their experience with your business. Responding to reviews builds positive customer relations and increases brand awareness. When you thank them, and you should, keep it simple and personal.