What Researchers Discovered From Analyzing 20 Million Online Reviews

Researchers from Texas Tech University and Temple University have identified key principles that businesses should follow when responding to online reviews. Their research has uncovered the best ways to maximize the use of a review response with the central objective of enhancing online reputation and attracting new clients. After analyzing more than 20 million reviews, they identified several key principles.

Key Principle: Address Positive Reviews With Care

Every response needs to be treated with a great deal of thoughtfulness – even positive reviews. It is important to strike the right balance between saying too much and not saying enough. For example, a simple “thank you” was not found to have any significant impact on people considering whether or not to support a business. Conversely, a longer response that was perceived to be disingenuous had a negative effect on prospects. The goal is always to be authentic in a way that is consistent with your brand’s values.

Key Principle: Respond To Every Negative Review

An appropriate response to a negative review will mitigate its harm and reduce the potential loss of a significant portion of customers. Put differently, prospects will gain a better understanding of the business by reading a response that acknowledges the feedback and attempts to resolve the situation. The researchers also found that responses to negative reviews may prevent a different consumer from posting a subsequent negative review. The idea is that a reviewer will be more hesitant to leave a negative review if they know it will be addressed in a public forum.

Key Principle: Provide A Tailored Solution To The Specific Complaint

A review response should always acknowledge the specific critique being made and outline the steps that have been taken to avoid the same situation from occurring in the future. This approach provides two benefits. First, it has a high likelihood of appeasing the unsatisfied customer and retaining their support in the future. Second, emphasizing the solution shows prospects that they will probably not encounter the same issue and therefore have a superior experience.

Key Principle: Respond Quickly To Negative Reviews

Negative reviews should not languish on a review site without a business posting its response. Countless prospects may be researching an establishment on any given day, and they will receive an unbalanced perspective without a review response. The faster a business posts a response the faster they show their commitment to creating a positive customer experience.

In the end, effectively responding to online reviews can strengthen any business by attracting new clients and conveying a culture of understanding. The words that you use matter, and they deserve the same amount of time and attention that is given to any other important area of your business.

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