If you’ve ever wondered which reviews to respond to, you’re not alone.

Believe it or not, there is a right answer and a wrong answer to this question. 

Responding to none of your reviews leaves potential customers speculating if you care, and encourages them to look elsewhere. Although some would argue responding to all of your reviews is a good thing, it actually overwhelms some customers and can be a turn off. Think about the helicopter parent at a teenager party. Being too involved is not cool.

So how many reviews should you respond to? Some researchers from Cornell University conducted a study of review responses made on TripAdvisor. They found that revenue increased as the company responded to more reviews. This impact leveled at around 40% of reviews being responded to with revenue more than doubling. As companies responded to more than 40% of reviews, revenue declined. At 80%, the revenue impact was back to zero and response volumes above 80% decreased sales more than if no responses had been made. (Anderson & Han, 2016, pp.7)

In the past decade, I have personally written over 2,000 pages of review responses across dozens of platforms representing many brands and companies. I’ve seen the negative impact of not responding to some reviews and responding to too many reviews. That’s why I developed a simple rule of thumb to guide which reviews merit a response, and which do not. It’s called The 3QPD Rule. (Pronounced “3 cupid”.) Here’s how it works.

Any review that’s 3-stars or lower always deserves a response. You want to showcase to potential shoppers a high degree of care for all customers that had a negative experience. Next, you want to respond to any review, regardless of the star rating, if it poses a question. These reviews are opportunities for you to manage expectations and guide potential customers in the right direction. Lastly, show that you care about happy customers as well by responding to a few positive reviews dispersed throughout your reviews. One in ten is pretty good. In my experience, following this rule will typically get you between 30% and 40% of your total reviews.

Now you know which reviews you should respond to. For tips about how to tactfully discredit false claims in reviews and other proven strategies, check out my book, The Review Cycle. It’s a deep dive into review management packaged into four easy-to-apply steps.

See The Review Cycle on Amazon

Guest post by Matt R. Vance

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