When Should You Respond to an Online Review?

Brandon Schmidt | August 16, 2018
Reputation Management

In June 2018, we partnered with Local University for NEXT! 2018: Smart Strategies for Business Leaders. During a Q&A at the end of the event, Mike Blumenthal was asked the following question about responding to online reviews:

How long is too long to respond to a Google Review?

Here is Mike’s response:

Key Takeaways:

Data > Anecdotal Evidence

Notice how Mike starts his answer: “I’ve done some surveys”; he then provides two great data points:

  • 40% of consumers expect a response (to their review)
  • More than 50% of consumers expect a response in less than 3 days

These data points lead into his recommendation: you should be responding within the day.

Others might answer with their best guess or anecdotes from their agency, but Mike brings the receipts. Of course, his role at GetFiveStars means he has a vested interest in better understanding user behaviors around reviews. But the point remains: when you create a hypothesis around online behaviors, make sure you test it and rely on the data — whether that’s through surveys, tracking, or compiling other data sources.

Your response is primarily for future customers

The person leaving a review has already made up their mind about your business — whether good or bad. If it is a negative review, Mike does say you may be able to affect their opinion, but only about 35% of the time. He also says this is dependent on responding open and honestly.

For the vast majority of people, your response will not change their mind. Instead, your response is written for future customers. By responding to reviews, you can minimize the effect of negative reviews, show appreciation for positive reviews, and reveal the personal side of your team.

As a bonus, you can even include keywords in your response that provides a better context for the review and your services.

A prompt response can set you apart

Responding to reviews is still a tactic not employed by most local businesses. Think of it as a mixture of customer service and online marketing. If you embrace it and your team can respond promptly and honestly, you will increase your online reputation and set your business apart from the competition.

“If you respond within the day, you will be better than 95% of businesses in the world and you will satisfy 95% of your customers.” — Mike Blumenthal