Responding to Online Reviews – Six Review Personas

Responding to Online Reviews -
Six Review Personas

Social Media from Operation Reputation

By Rick McNeely...

Responding to Online Reviews is Important

Is your business responding to online reviews?  Consider the following:
   “89% of consumers read local businesses’ responses to reviews.”

Okay, your customers and potential customers are expecting to see you responding to online reviews.  That said, we’ve created a helpful list of the top six personas writing online reviews and how you should respond.

The Top 6 Personas Writing Online Reviews
and How to Respond

Review Management Operation Reputation Responding to Online Reviews

1. Thanks for Doing a Great Job

The reviewer is simply saying thanks for doing a great job.  These are the best kind of reviews to get and the easiest to respond to. 

Responding to an online review of this nature with a quick thank you for writing and being a valued customer is the perfect response.  

2. Sharing a Sincere Comment

The sincere comment can be both positive or negative.  This review is driven by a sincere intention to either thank your team for an exceptional experience or point out an opportunity. 

Response:  Always thank the customer for taking the time to write a review.  Additionally, if your team has gone above and beyond, specifically mention the experience your customer has written about.  Last but not least, express your appreciation of the customer’s business.  

Conversely, If the customer is reviewing a negative experience or problem, apologize and state your intention to always provide a quality experience.  A public response to a negative review is always a great time to state the vision and goals of your business regarding customer service, product and experience.  Additionally, be understanding and honest regarding not meeting the customer’s expectations.  If the problem is more complex, or you need additional information, express your desire to learn more offline with a phone call.  In this case, your goal is to publicly show your desire to make the situation “right,” while taking further conversation offline and out of the public domain.

3. A Client Needs Help

Online reviews can also be a customer raising their hand for help.  For example, questions around your company policies, services or products.

Response:  As always thank the customer for taking the time to write a review.  If you can provide a brief answer to their question, do it!  If not, politely ask to follow up either via email or offline.

4. The Great Debater

It’s not uncommon to receive an extremely long or quarrelsome review.  The goal of the Great Debater is to draw you into a public debate over their experience.  Not surprisingly, they will respond or change their review based on each response you propose regarding their experience.  While it’s always good form to give an empathetic response, it’s critical to move the debate out of the pubic forum.  Remember, while a public comment is always intended to address a review, the primary audience is the review-reading public and your goal is to show a proactive and customer-centric operation.  

Response:  The best action is to give a brief reply (as you would with any negative review, see #3), thanking the customer for their review while encouraging them to either discuss further via email or phone call.  Remember, don’t go back and forth with the Great Debater in front of your current and potential clients.     

5. Just Crazy Talk

While responding to online reviews, the crazy review can be one of the most challenging.  There are reviewers who will say the most bizarre things and relate situations that are truly strange.  Thankfully many review platforms will catch the crazy review before it goes live, but no algorithm is perfect and some will slip through.  A great first step is to contact the review platform and point out that the review is outside of their terms of use (with a goal of having the review removed). 

What if the crazy reviewer asserts untruths that could possibly harm your brand?  You should not let a crazy allegation that could cause harm to your business remain visible to  the public with no comment.  While staying positive, assert your operation’s values, standards and goals.  If there are other facts or circumstances that can be stated for the benefit of the public audience, briefly state them.  Express how seriously you take reviews and ask the reviewer to call and discuss.  The goal is to get the crazy review and follow-up discussion offline.  Again, follow-up with the review platform and request removal of the review.    

6. Silent Stars

Some reviewers will just leave a star rating with no comment.  While it can be frustrating to receive a star rating with no guidance regarding what you are doing right or wrong, it never hurts to give a simple thanks to a good review.  In other words, responding to an online review is always a good choice.

Online Review Management Operation Management

Need a partner to help manage your Reviews?


If you’re not managing your online reputation or allocating marketing budget to reputation marketing, Operation Reputation would highly recommend you do so.  The cost of having your in-house team (or an agency) monitor your presence and make ongoing efforts is a great investment.  Of course, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to send me an email at 

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