Review Management: How Vendasta Gets the Last Word (and Keeps It)

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It’s fairly obvious that the phrase “the only bad press is no press” was coined Pre-YE (that’s Pre Yelp Era, for the uninitiated). Any business that has suffered at the hands of the reviewing public knows that infamy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when that infamy could entail the wrath of Real D. from Los Angeles, who found hairs in his food and wants the world to know about it.

Okay, so a cottage industry may have sprung up around the kinds of characters one finds on Yelp…

Real Actors Read Yelp

…but the Real Ds of this world and others like them are no joke. They now number in the millions, and have become critical to the success of businesses of all shapes and sizes. Yelp alone is visited by an average of 77 million unique desktop visitors, and 72 million unique mobile users per month (Yelp). Roughly 115 million reviews have been published since Yelp’s first review in 2004—that’s about 26,000 reviews per day! Quite the conversation, and no business wants to miss out.

Having the expertise to capitalize on these conversations, good or bad, makes you an invaluable part of any business marketing strategy.

That’s where we come in.

It’s dangerous to go managing reviews alone! Take this. 

Join the Conversation with Review Management

At Vendasta, our Digital Agents are review experts, answering an enormous amount of reviews on a daily basis! Whether five stars, one-star or anywhere in between, our team creates the perfect response to keep business booming. I know what you’re thinking: why bother responding to a positive review? Plus, isn’t responding to a negative review opening the ultimate can of worms? Not necessarily.

With 92% of consumers reading reviews online (Vendasta), businesses can’t afford to sit on the sidelines. An effective response will help ensure that a happy first time customer becomes a regular, and 70% of complaining customers will come back if you resolve the complaint in their favor (Vendasta). The first step is engaging with them.

We digital agents have tread the path to review nirvana, and we’re ready to share our secrets.

❗ Spoiler alert: these secrets will have businesses lining up around the block, waiting for you to make the magic happen.


How to Respond to Positive Reviews

It’s simple. Thank the customer, name drop, promote and tell the customer what to do. Got that? Now get selling!

1) Say thank you and be specific

No one would let a compliment pass them by in real life. Apply that same principle to a review response! And make sure to reiterate their compliment. This let’s the customer know that a real person took time out of their day to acknowledge them, and that feels good.

2) Use the business name and keywords

No business wants to miss out on the opportunity to drive themselves up in search results, and positive reviews work wonders in search. Referring to the business name, location and category (restaurant, coffee shop, hotel, etc.) helps index that review online.

3) Market, market, market

Is the business famous for a certain secret sauce? Are they having a promotion next month? A review response is a great place to get the good word out.

4) Give the customer a task

Not as scary as it sounds. Invite them to try something different the next time they visit, or bring a friend!

positive-review-management

As you can see, there’s a ton of potential hidden in a positive review response. Instead of one advertisement to rule them all, each review is an opportunity to sell!

Believe it or not, the same premise can apply to a negative review response. How you respond to a negative review impacts not only the reviewer, but all the sets of eyes that come afterward. Seeing a business handle a particularly challenging review online suggests that management is proud of their business, and willing to go the extra mile to maintain their reputation!

Make potential clients see the light with these four steps:

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

Repeat after me: apologize, promote, get offline, keep it simple.

1) Apologize and sympathize

The first step towards fixing a problem is acknowledging that one occurred. Regardless of what happened, a simple apology and sympathy for the customer’s experience goes a long way.

2) Promote

So the famous crab cakes weren’t up to par the day this particular customer visited. They’re what this client is known for, so why not reiterate that?
“Our crab cakes are usually a hit, we’re sorry to hear that they weren’t up to par when you visited!”

3) Move the conversation offline

Remember that can of worms we mentioned? We keep the lid on tight by offering the reviewer the chance to reach out via phone, email or both.

4) Keep it simple

Avoid specifics and don’t ask questions. Those conversations are much better served in a space away from the prying public.

One last pro tip: leave business name, location and category out of this. We don’t want these bad boys showing up in any searches!

negative-review-management

Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? We’ve got it down to a science; so much so that we gave review responses their own template. Plus, not only do we guarantee expertise, we guarantee it in a hurry: we respond to positive reviews as soon as our software pulls them in, and draft negative review responses for approval from the business too!


The reality is, businesses are no longer guaranteed the last word in the conversations about them. Don Draper doesn’t have the final say in whether or not Hiltons are the best hotels when hundreds of people around the world sleeping in them can tell you how they really feel. 78% of consumers rely on those recommendations, while a paltry 14% still turn to advertising. In the Yelp era, reputation is everything. The solution you’re selling is the ability for a business to gain control of their reputation before it controls them.tweet

Our reputation and review management service gives the business a seat at the table, allowing them to make the most of a critical conversation. Don’t have time to do review management for your clients? No need to hire, train and staff resources—see how we can help you scale.

Mara Selanders

Mara Selanders (M. Journalism) is a Digital Agent at Vendasta. She is a lover of words of all shapes and sizes, and spends her days immersed in online listings, social posts and of course, reviews.