How to monitor and respond to online reviews

Online reviews have become an essential part of the customer journey, providing valuable insights into customer satisfaction and identifying areas for improvement.

As a result, businesses must check online reviews to maintain a positive reputation, build trust with potential customers, and improve their products and services. However, constantly checking on feedback can be overwhelming to some businesses. Luckily, there are efficient review moderation tools that can help. 

Read on to learn the importance of monitoring and responding to online reviews, how they can benefit businesses, and the best practices for doing so effectively.

Importance of reviews: Quality and quantity

Increased conversion and purchase confidence

Online ratings and reviews for direct-to-consumer brands can drive purchases by providing potential customers with valuable information about products and services as well as customer proof. Consumers today often research products and services online before making a purchase, and ratings and reviews can be a key part of that research; if people like them are enjoying the product, they're more likely to purchase!

Quality and quantity are equally important when it comes to product reviews. A customer is much more likely to trust a 4-star product with 100 reviews than a 5-star product with just one or two. Additionally, including product attributes and subdimensions for reviewers give your shoppers more information to help them feel confident in their purchase.

Screenshot of Bob's Red Mill review with subdimensions

Improved search engine rankings

Search engines use complex algorithms to determine the relevance and authority of a website. One of the factors that these algorithms consider is the presence of customer reviews and ratings. Websites with many positive reviews and high ratings are seen as more trustworthy and relevant, helping them rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Moreover, having customer reviews and ratings also helps to increase the click-through rate (CTR), as these signals often appear in the SERPs and can make the website more attractive to potential customers. Customers are also more likely to use product-specific, long-tail keywords that align with Google searches from potential customers, making pages with reviews more likely to rank well.

Google Seller Ratings are a great way to boost SEO and gather even more customer feedback, this time reviewing your company overall rather than specific products. Seller Ratings show up on SERPs.

Screenshot of Google Seller rating for brand on SERP

Why monitor and respond to reviews?

How your team interacts with ratings and reviews affects your brand reputation. Responding to positive reviews is one way to show appreciation to your customers and encourage them to leave more reviews. On the other hand, negative reviews can be damaging to a business's reputation if not handled properly.

Address issues quickly and show customer care

Responding to reviews, both positive and negative, shows that the business cares about customer satisfaction and is willing to address any concerns. By regularly monitoring sites like Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor along with native reviews on their eCommerce websites, companies can quickly identify problems with their products or customer service and take steps to address the issues that customers have raised.

 By responding to reviews in a timely and professional manner, you demonstrate to the public that you're willing to take responsibility and are committed to improving your products or services. This can help mitigate the damage and even turn a negative experience into a positive one. 

Accrue feedback for product improvement

Online ratings and reviews provide an open forum for customers to share their experiences, both the good and the bad, with a wide audience. Are people generally satisfied with your product or service? What aspect of the product needs work?

Online ratings and reviews provide valuable insights into the performance and reputation of the business. By monitoring and responding to them, business owners can better understand what customers like and dislike about their products or services. This information can be used to improve products or services, address any issues with customer service, and make informed decisions about how to better meet the needs of customers.

How to monitor and respond to reviews 

Review moderation tools

A review moderation tool determines whether to publish or hide a review based on customizable trigger words, and may flag reviews for a brand's customer service team to resolve an issue (either by responding to the review, or contacting the reviewer directly). 

With three different support levels for moderation above a standard offering, Pixlee TurnTo's [now Emplifi] review moderation services allow your brand to choose the best fit depending on your goals and the volume reviews you're collecting. This also lets you expand your ratings and review moderation strategy as your business grows. Our team also consists of real, human moderators to help you efficiently navigate the reviews you're collecting and prioritize reviews that need attention.

Responding to negative reviews

When it comes to negative reviews, the tone of the reply should be polite but clear and crafted in a way that will not put the business in a bad light. Many establishments have been in hot water all over social media for their unprofessional response to criticisms. This is not the kind of publicity that any business owner would want to attract.

The tone of the reply should be polite but clear and crafted in a way that will not put the business in a bad light. Many establishments have been in hot water all over social media for their unprofessional response to criticisms. This is not the kind of publicity that any business owner would want to attract.

  • Acknowledge the customer's concerns and apologize for any inconvenience: Show empathy and willingness to make things right. Remember, customers can tell when you're insincere, so your apology should be genuine and heartfelt.

  • Be specific with your response: Reference the particular issue or concern that the customer raised in their review. This shows that you have read and understood their feedback. If it shows that the business has committed a mistake, take ownership of the problem and avoid blaming others.

  • Offer a solution or compensation: This demonstrates to the customer and other potential customers reading the review that the business values customer satisfaction and is willing to take steps to resolve any issues.

  • Do not delete or remove negative reviews: It will only create more mistrust among customers. This can be seen as hiding the problem instead of addressing it.

Responding to positive reviews 

This is obviously a much easier task than replying to a negative review, but it's still worthwhile to develop some best practices when replying to positive reviews. Here are a few elements you might want to consider adding to your response when a shopper says they love your product.

  • Thank the reviewer for their feedback: Just showing appreciation for shoppers who take time out of their day to write a review is underrated! Customers feel more affinity for a brand that actively engages with their content, especially reviews.

Screenshot of Maui Jim review

Maui Jim's staff does an incredible job at responding to reviews — read more here.

  • Mention related products the customer might enjoy: Provide value to the reviewer while also promoting your other products they may like, or that may go well with their purchase. Remember that other site visitors are reading your responses.

  • Mention specific parts of the review: Especially if the review is on the longer side, drop in a sentence that shows you actually read their review and aren't giving a canned, generic response.

Make sifting through reviews easier with the right Ratings & Reviews tech stack, so your team can spend more time actually engaging with customers. Hopefully, some of these tips even land you more conversions.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.

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