Positive reviews provide real opportunities

Don’t ignore your satisfied customers to focus on the squeaky wheels
Acknowledge customers who leave positive reviews with a thank you. (Photo: Rawpixel, Unsplash)

This is Part 4 in our series on online marketing and how to actively use consumer reviews in a digital marketing plan, rather than a passive effect that business owners can’t control. Visit coloradopatioandlandscape.com/online-reviews to read the whole series.

Of course you’re delighted that your customer is satisfied, but is it really necessary to respond to a glowing review? While not every platform permits responses to these missives, it pays to reply on those that do. Why? Positive reviews make 68% of consumers more likely to use a business, according to U.K.-based SEO firm BrightLocal, and half of consumers say their first step after reading a positive review is to visit the business’s website.

Here’s how to respond to glowing reviews gracefully:

Write your reply as soon as possible—ideally within 24 business hours, but never longer than five days. Speedy responses demonstrate your dedication to customer service, a key factor when Coloradans choose service providers. Acknowledging that a customer took some time to endorse your brand for all the world to see is not only the very least you could do, but it will also help distinguish you from less savvy competitors.

Thank the customer for the kind words, and restate the service provided. When crafting your response, lead with a sincere “thank you.” As you reiterate the services described in the review, you can also incorporate a few strong keywords to garner more search engine attention. Don’t overdo it, but be sure to state your company name at least once, and if it makes sense, include a keyword that characterize your services, such as landscaping, lawn care, gardens, fire pit, etc.

“When I’m responding to positive feedback, my objective is simply to acknowledge that I saw the review and to say thank you for the kind words,” says Tim Lindgren, owner of Fort Collins-based Lindgren Landscape.

“We appreciate the kind words, Mary S.! Thank you for using XYZ Landscaping to install your new custom fire pit. We’re delighted to hear your family’s enjoying their upgraded outdoor living space.”

Inform the customer of relevant discounts, products, programs or services. If it feels appropriate, positive reviews can be great opportunities to share news that will appeal not only to them, but to prospective clients as well. Just make sure it’s relevant.

“Since we’re talking about your new native plant landscape, I thought you might be interested in attending the presentation I’m giving on incorporating these options into Colorado gardens next week (Tuesday the 12th) at the Sheridan on Main Street. Given your passion for sustainability, I think you’d enjoy it!”

Celebrate great reviews with the team, and tell the reviewer you plan to do so. Everybody loves a pat on the back for a job well done, so make a point of sharing feedback with the team on a regular basis. Be sure to call out anyone who was named or cited for their great work, acknowledge their part and thank them. Also tell the reviewer you plan to share their praise throughout the company, as it helps emphasize your company’s customer-service-centric culture.

[Related: Three R’s of building a strong workforce: Landscapes 2018]

Include a brief note saying you look forward to seeing the reviewer again, and consider a small thank-you gift. As you conclude your response, try to include a message that implies you’ll be doing business with them again soon—even if they haven’t hired you for anything more yet.

“We hope your family enjoys the summer in your newly sodded yard! We look forward to seeing you in fall when it’s time to blow out those new sprinklers.”

If you know who left the review, a small thank-you gift might be appropriate. Lindgren takes this a step further and sends gift cards—along with a personal note—to clients who take the time to post a positive review.

Have you successfully integrated online reviews in your marketing plan? Use the comments to share your experiences with your peers or email Danielle Andrus, managing editor, to tell your story.

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