Never underestimate the power of acknowledgment.
Being heard is a fundamental aspect of our social interaction. When we feel like others hear us, we feel valued, validated, and more connected. These feelings of belonging and being understood are essential for our emotional well-being and overall satisfaction in life.
When brands interact with customers, acknowledgment leads to better relationships and improved communication. Establishing more personal connections with buyers and customers means that brands need to demonstrate they stand by their products and customers. Reviews are an excellent chance to capitalize on those moments when customers share their stories.
Responding to reviews on G2 is easier said than done when you consider the overall sentiment of a review, its content, and which team members need to be involved. In this guide, you’ll learn more about the importance of responding to reviews, how to implement a process to reply easily, and how to write up responses for all kinds of reviews.
Why reviews are critical in SaaS
Reviews are becoming more ingrained in the overall customer buying journey in B2B software.
Research shows buyers view user-generated content and review sites as more influential in their decision-making, and our path to 2 million reviews illustrates how this trend will continue in the coming years.
But reviews aren’t just essential for sourcing new buyers – they’re also incredibly important for customer retention and product development.
Impacts of reviews on different teams
Reviews in B2B software go beyond brand perception. Here’s a list of the most relevant teams that need to care about reviews.
- Customer and product marketing: It goes without saying that reviews are a primary concern for marketing teams. In many cases, reviews require looping in different people to address them to find a resolution or next step. Additionally, reviews have the potential to highlight customer success stories.
- Customer success and support: In the case of negative or constructive reviews, customer success teams should view these reviews as crucial signals to follow up and grant additional attention to users who share a less-than-ideal experience. Alternatively, there’s a need to celebrate positive experiences, too. Whether it's learning from a top performer that delivered an excellent experience, or an opportunity for improvement, these are vital opportunities to acknowledge and understand to increase retention.
- Product and engineering: Product teams constantly evaluate user feedback to iterate and improve their products. Review sites like G2 are another feedback collection mechanism that drives discovery and product opportunity. Furthermore, product teams need visibility into reviews to comment on functionality or upcoming releases.
The hidden cost of being silent
We know that reviews are important and can convey much about customer sentiment. They’ve become a tool that helps buyers judge which products and services meet their criteria and influence their decision-making.
Reviews sometimes feel intimidating because they are an example of publicly available information that brands don’t have complete control over. For this reason, responding to reviews is an activity brands must prioritize so they can still play a role in the narrative.
However, not all brands leap at the opportunity to respond to their reviews. When I spoke about this to Rachel Bentley, Senior Director of Product Management at G2, she thought software vendors that remain silent would pay a high price.
“By saying nothing, you’re saying something about your company. There's an unintended consequence when you don't respond to reviews. Customers and buyers won’t get the sense you care. You love your customers, so show them.”
Sr. Director of Product Management at G2
When a customer leaves a negative review, it may seem like the safer route to ignore it and not engage. The reality is that your silence is saying something just as much as a response would.
Potential buyers look at reviews to see what people like and dislike about a product or service. These buyers also take notice when a business responds to reviews, good and bad.
Here’s another example demonstrating the drawbacks of staying silent in response to customer reviews. Let’s say you’re on the hunt for a new sofa, so you decide to check out a few websites.
First stop: Crate & Barrel.
We can see this customer wasn’t entirely pleased with their couch. Crate & Barrel takes the time to show they care by acknowledging the poor experience and encouraging them to speak with customer service to explore their options to make it right.
Next up: Overstock.com.
Let’s say you find a similar model on Overstock’s website, but notice several negative reviews over several months. The key difference here is that Overstock didn’t respond to any of them. Their silence ultimately might deter customers from making some purchases or any at all.
While we’ve focused on the impacts of not responding to negative reviews, positive reviews should also be acknowledged. This just further shows how seriously a brand views all reviews and doesn’t just attempt to please dissatisfied customers.
Positive reviews are exciting because they’re ultimately an opportunity to turn happy customers into loyal advocates. By not responding to these reviews, you’ll miss out on the chance to start a dialogue that could build relationships.
Welcoming all reviews for remarkable outcomes
One mistake brands make when it comes to reviews is chasing perfection. Did you know that in a study by Northwestern University, consumers view companies with a perfect 5-star score as less trustworthy than those with a 4.2 to 4.5-star rating?
“Positive and negative reviews have their value, so there’s merit in replying to both. Either way, they’re different forms of feedback that help you improve your product and company.”
Sr. Director of Product Management at G2
The truth is that your product may be the ideal solution for countless buyers, but it’s nearly impossible to be the perfect solution for everyone. Whether their complaints are justifiable or not, embracing both positive and negative reviews can lead to greater outcomes.
Why software vendors need to embrace the good and bad
Despite your instincts telling you to only focus on positive reviews, there’s value in all the reviews you receive. Here’s a list of our top reasons why you want real, authentic reviews from your customers and why you should respond to all of them.
- Build trust with customers and prospects
- Humanize your brand
- Get ahead of potential churn
- Show your customer that you value their input
- Show prospects that you take care of issues and listen to customers
- Customers that leave reviews are expecting you to reply within a week
- Since many companies don’t respond to reviews, this is your chance to stand out
Responding to reviews takes special consideration, especially since your tone and intent will differ depending on whether a review is positive or negative.
How to respond to positive reviews
There are many ways to respond to positive reviews. As a general framework, check out the following tips to remember the next time you do it.
- Mention the customer by name
- Start with a genuine thank you
- Highlight specific points they brought up
- Mention the specific features of your product that they mentioned
- Close the feedback loop
Here’s an example of what that might look like for a customer who loves the product but experienced a particular feature not working as intended:
Thank you for using XYZ.io. I am glad you are finding our platform useful for optimizing your team’s collaboration challenges. In regards to that communication feature not functioning properly, I want you to know that we hear you loud and clear. We’re aware of that issue and plan to address it in an update that’s coming in the next few weeks.
If you still have issues after that new release, please reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks again for the kind words!
How to respond to negative reviews
Now comes the more challenging part: responding to negative reviews. Or at least that’s the perception.
The good news is that you can easily turn many of these situations into a positive customer experience and earn another chance to deepen your relationship with them. Actionable negative reviews are still valuable to your brand because they can help build customer trust and prevent churn.
Check out this list of best practices to bear in mind when responding to negative reviews.
Be quick to respond, acknowledge, and apologize if necessary
- Never be confrontational
- Address the underlying issue
- Listen to what the customer is saying and be authentic
- Say thank you
- Hold the high ground and resolve the problem
- Transparently share contact details for follow-up
Let’s say you encounter a review from a dissatisfied customer, so here’s an example of a response that puts the above tips in action.
I first want to thank you for being a customer of XYZ.io. We greatly appreciate your business and want to acknowledge your experience using our products. I’m sorry to hear that our new product did not meet your expectations. Our product team has been working diligently to resolve the issues we’ve been experiencing and anticipates releasing a substantial fix very soon.
In the meantime, I encourage you to reach out to me at email@example.com, or your designated customer experience manager to explore how we can rectify this situation. Just know that your feedback is extremely important to us and that we want to make sure future product updates will address this to prevent other issues from arising.
Hoping to hear from you soon.
Suggested: Check out this handy flowchart with even more actionable advice when responding to negative reviews.
Creating a process for consistently actioning reviews
Since we’ve covered the why behind responding to reviews and how they have value beyond brand perception, let’s dig into what a reliable process for actioning reviews looks like. First, it’s important to explore the different ways you may want to route new reviews to ensure they get to the right people.
3 paths to route reviews internally
Generally, software reviews touch on several themes. Understanding these can help pinpoint who needs to be involved when addressing them. Note that reviews can touch on all or a combination of the following.
- Customer service: Some reviews will focus on the quality of customer service they received.
- Operations: These customers will highlight their experiences with operational aspects such as implementation.
- Product functionality: Product managers are taking in user feedback on a daily basis, but reviews are another avenue for taking in this feedback.
Once you can identify where a review needs to go, the next step in optimizing your process is routing reviews. You want to gather a comprehensive list of contributors and specific team members that need to be involved when drafting a response relative to the content of the review.
From here, you’ll want to determine ownership. Do this by defining who monitors and who replies to reviews.
In terms of monitoring and routing new reviews on G2, let’s consider three specific methods. It’s essential to keep in mind that it’s best practice to respond to reviews within seven days, so time is of the essence.
The G2 + Slack integration
For organizations that rely on Slack for business instant messaging, the G2 + Slack integration is one you’ll definitely want to activate. This integration will notify custom channels in your company Slack workspace when new reviews come in.
Make sure to add people from product, engineering, support, marketing, and customer experience teams to promote visibility. Using Slack also creates a reliable communication channel for these cross-functional teams to contribute to a given review response.
Using this integration is the most effective way to route internal reviews. Additionally, this integration is incredibly useful if your organization takes advantage of G2 Buyer Intent data and is a must-have for revenue teams.
Notifications on my.G2
Another way to route new reviews is right from within your my.G2 dashboard. Notifications happen in real-time in your my.G2 login, which allows you to take immediate action as new reviews come in.
Keep in mind that viewing and modifying your notification settings only impacts your login experience and not your organization. This means that whoever monitors your reviews will have to route reviews to the right place manually.
Similar to notifications in my.G2, you can use the same login to create email notifications to trigger under specific criteria. Of all the ways to route new reviews on G2, this presents some of the greatest challenges since it’s easy for messages to get lost in anyone’s inbox.
Acknowledgment yields happier customers
Your customers want you to hear them, and you’re missing out if you’re not maximizing opportunities to engage them. You have the power to leverage the voice of the customer to foster better relationships, reduce churn, and attract new buyers.
Top learnings about actioning reviews
- The high cost of silence. Responding to reviews can be immensely valuable, but staying silent can cost you.
- Positive or negative, you want them all. Whether it’s a chance to highlight customer advocates or rectify justified complaints, you want to embrace all of them.
- Responding to reviews requires the right approach. With the tips from this article, you have some decent guidelines to start formulating responses.
- Create a process for getting reviews where they need to go. Consider using the G2 + Slack integration to rapidly and effectively loop in the right folks to respond to reviews.
Ready to level up and learn more best practices around review management on G2? Log in to your my.G2 dashboard to enroll in G2 University today and hit the books.