Friday 13 November 2020

How NOT to respond to a review

Whilst applauding businesses that quite rightly think it is best practice to respond to reviews, it is still, sadly, easy to find the kind of response to a Google review that will result in the opposite effect intended. 

Let us analyse a real-life example:

What, exactly, is wrong with this response, and how could it have been worded better?


  1. Overall impression: this response is what is known in the trade as 'formulaic'. 
  2. It doesn't address any of the points raised
  3. It requires the customer to take action: "Could you please reach out..."
All of these are key CRM failures and convey the impression that the business simply doesn't care.

Worded better:

The rules are quite simple:
  1. Do not address reviewers by their first name unless it is the only name they have used (e.g. 'Steve H'). In this case 'Dear Mr Hollis' looks so much more professional, besides being straightforwardly polite.
  2. The accusations of being 'unprofessional and unethical' should be addressed head on: 'We pride ourselves on being both professional and ethical'.
  3. The point about the accepted offer being subsequently rejected should also be addressed as succinctly as possible, without compromising client or potential purchaser confidentiality.
  4. The reason behind the follow-up call should also be explained.
  5. A 'complaints@' email address should never be used. Apart from anything else it gives the impression that the business receives sufficient complaints to justify their own email address/department!
  6. The response should be signed off properly: 'Kyle [surname]; [position].' 
It is also a cardinal rule to bear in mind that the response be written with subsequent potential customers in mind just as much as the actual reviewer. This review is what we christened a 'killer review' some years ago, that is: a review that has the potential to stop the phones ringing - or, at the very least, put off a significant number of potential customers from making any further contact with the business.

And here's an example of those rules in action:

First the critical review:

Followed by a prompt and properly drafted response:

One final - but nonetheless important - point: underneath every review you will see how many people have voted that review 'helpful'. In two years the review above has received only one helpful vote out of the many thousands of views it will have had. 

If you have any doubts at all - about procedure or wording - please contact us.

Further reading...

  1. Responding to Reviews - so much reward for so little effort
  2. Killer reviews - an explanation

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