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How to respond to positive reviews and boost your business

How to respond to positive reviews: florist using a laptop

Key takeaways

  • Knowing how to respond to positive reviews can help build a personal connection with customers, increase customer retention, and strengthen customer loyalty
  • Positive review responses should be genuine, concise, and relevant to each customer’s review
  • Calls to action in your positive review responses can encourage customers to return to your business

A positive review can do wonders for your business, including helping you stand out from the competition. In fact, 90% of people on Yelp compare businesses before making a decision, so more positive reviews can tip the scale in your favor. And there’s no shortage of them—nearly 70% of reviews on Yelp are 4 or 5 stars and there are more 5-star reviews than 1-, 2-, and 3-star reviews combined.

While positive customer reviews are worth their weight in gold, there are still steps you can take to tap into their full potential. The best way to do this is to respond to each positive review you receive. This is a key step in strengthening your online reputation and growing your business.

As a small business owner, you already know customer engagement is crucial. But after you deliver a positive experience and receive positive feedback, there’s an opportunity to solidify your relationship with happy customers who went out of their way to share kind words about you.

Importance of responding to positive customer reviews

Business owner responding to online reviews

All customer reviews deserve a response—that includes positive and critical reviews as well as short reviews and long, detailed reviews. It might seem more pressing to respond to unfavorable online reviews so you can try to smooth over a negative experience, but responding to positive customer reviews is just as important as addressing critical reviews. Here’s why.

Serves as free marketing

Responding to positive reviews and testimonials gives you valuable exposure online without needing to spend a dime. Better yet, it’s marketing that directly comes from the customer’s experience and point of view rather than your own.

Studies show that nearly 90% of customers scan through reviews before making a purchase. Of these consumers, 49% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Additionally, when customers see you responding to reviews from other customers, they’re nearly two times more inclined to trust your business.

There are many ways to promote your business (and inspire your staff) using positive online reviews. You can feature them on your website, social media channels, and other online marketing materials or even dedicate a section of your website to positive reviews you’ve received on review sites like Yelp to enhance your online reputation. When using customer reviews from Yelp, be sure to:

  • Keep the original wording and structure
  • Don’t use the review out of context 
  • Only use “Recommended Reviews”
  • Credit the reviewer with their name, the date, and the source

Strengthens relationship with customers

Responding to customer reviews shows that you care to offer top-notch customer service. It makes customers feel appreciated and demonstrates that you’re willing to build a personal connection with them.

When a customer sets aside time to write positive feedback about your business, it’s considerate in turn to thank them for their kind words.

Responding to these reviews also helps with customer retention and customer loyalty. It reminds them that you’re a real person who has genuine appreciation for their patronage and interest in their customer experience.

It’s much easier (and cost-effective) to retain current customers by maintaining positive relationships than it is to attract new customers. Responding to these positive reviews shows that you value their business and greatly increases the chance of repeat purchases.

Helps with search engine optimization

In general, reviews expand your reach online from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective. SEO is the process of improving and strengthening your online content to rank higher on search engines.

When a customer leaves a positive review, they inadvertently type keywords that other customers may be using when looking for a local business on a search engine. When you respond to these reviews, you’ll also be including terms that people could be searching for online.

For example, a consumer looking for a local mechanic shop might search “fixing an oil leak” and come across your Yelp Business Page where you responded to a customer review saying you were more than happy to fix their oil leak.

While SEO is helpful, keeping your keywords relevant to what you do is better than adding random keywords because they’re trending. Your response should be natural and only include keywords that appropriately represent you and your business.

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How to respond to positive reviews

There are a number of simple best practices for responding to reviews and online review management. There are even a few tips you can use to handle critical feedback and turn a negative experience into a positive one. Responding to positive reviews is all about going the extra mile to leave a good impression on both previous and potential customers online. Consider these tips as your template on how to respond to positive reviews.

Show your gratitude

Every time you respond to a positive customer review, thank them for their feedback. Show your appreciation and let the customer know how much you value what they have to say. Customers are willing to spend 31% more at businesses with positive reviews, so remember that their positive feedback can directly impact you as a small business owner.

Respond right away

Chances are that someone who left a glowing review did so immediately after visiting your business. Likewise, you shouldn’t wait too long to respond to positive business reviews. It’s best to respond as soon as possible so you can remain top of mind with your customers.

Waiting a long time to respond to a review may look as though you don’t value their feedback and could dim their overall experience. Current research shows that 53% of consumers expect a response from a business within seven days of leaving a critical review. This is a good timeframe for responding to positive reviews as well. If you reply weeks, or even months, afterward, it won’t have the same impact as a prompt response. Responding to reviews doesn’t have to monopolize your day, and the attentiveness will be a beneficial addition to your reputation management strategy. 

Keep it relevant and authentic

Canned responses are almost as detrimental as not responding at all. Since the customer took the time to write something about your business for the world to see, be sure to give a personal response that uniquely addresses their review.

You can mention specific topics from the customer’s review and respond to any compliments they may have given. Take it one step further and use the customer name if it’s available. The more personal you make your response, the better.

Whatever you do, stay away from generic responses that look as though you copied and pasted from one review to the next. Honest and authentic gratitude will go a long way with your previous customers.

Slip in a call to action

When you respond to good reviews, you have an opportunity to strengthen relationships with your customers and encourage them to interact with your business again. A call to action can provide the extra nudge for customers to start frequenting your business.

Calls to action can include inviting them back to your business or mentioning other products and services they might be interested in trying. They’re a great way to close the circle and sign off. For example, a beauty salon owner could respond with something like, “We’re so glad you enjoyed your fresh new haircut and styling. Make sure to try our relaxing scalp treatment the next time you’re in. We know you’ll love it!”

Be concise

Lengthy review responses aren’t necessarily better, even if you’re expressing gratitude. Your positive review responses should be short and sweet and don’t need to get into great detail. You can leave a brief response and still make a positive impact on your customers. 

Crossing the customer experience finish line 

Yoga studio owner working on her yoga marketing

An amazing review response can turn a one-time customer into a loyal customer for life. When customers tee you up by expressing their appreciation for your business, make sure to seize the opportunity to knock it out of the park by responding to their positive review.

Keep your review responses relevant, concise, and personal to express your gratitude. Not only will you foster a greater connection between your brand and your customers but you’ll also increase the odds that they’ll return to your business.

Learn more about how to leverage your reviews in this Yelp webinar: Using Reviews to Unlock your Competitive Advantage.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.