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Are you still not replying to reviews?- Alan Berg CSP, Wedding Business Solutions PodcastAre you still not replying to reviews?

I’ve done episodes about reviews before, so this time I want to address why so many wedding and event pros still aren’t replying to your good reviews. Many of you are replying to the less than stellar reviews, but not every review. Why not? You’re missing a great opportunity to stand out. Don’t worry, you don’t have to reply to every review you’ve ever gotten… just some. I spell that out in this episode as well.

Listen to this new 12-minute episode for why you should reply to all of your reviews, starting today!

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– Are you still not replying to reviews? Listen to this episode and see why I’m saying that.

 Hi, it’s Alan Berg. Welcome back to another episode of the Wedding Business Solutions podcast. This is not really my soapbox, but I’m going to try to stay off the soapbox a little bit here ’cause I’m kind of getting up onto it for this one. And it’s about replying to your good reviews. You should reply to all the reviews but specifically the good ones. Why this came up for me again is in preparing for my presentation that I’m doing for a conference coming up, one of the things that I like to do is get people that are going to be at this conference and use them as examples by looking up good reviews for them. Because I always talk about that your why is in what people say about you. Your what is what you do. They need what you do. They need your service. 

But why choose you is easiest found in your brand, and your brand is found and what people say about you in their reviews, testimonials, thank you notes, emails you get, texts, things that people post on social media, things that people send you to tell you that you’re wonderful. Those, that’s your brand. So when someone takes the time to do that, and a lot of platforms will allow you to reply, The Knot, WeddingWire, Yelp, Google, Facebook. On all of those platforms, you can reply to the reviews. Even Tripadvisor if that’s something for your business. Tripadvisor, you can reply as well. And speaking of Tripadvisor, I just posted my 663rd review, personal review of restaurants, hotels, attractions. That’s not including photos. There’s over 1,300 contributions they call it there. 

Yeah, I travel a lot. I also posted on Yelp. I’m a Yelp elite. I think I have 240 or 250 reviews, something like that over there. And I love it when somebody replies to me, if they do it well. And if they do it poorly because they send some canned response or if I post a less than stellar review and they post some generic response that doesn’t take into the fact, into account the fact that I was unhappy. That makes it worse, right? So why is it important to respond to reviews? There’s four things that matter most with reviews. I’ve talked about this already on the podcast. I’ve talked about this in my books and speaking. The number of reviews, the rating or the score, the recency, they care how recent it was, and the responding. 

Now the number of reviews matters. You want to be in double digits whenever you can, wherever you can. On sites like WeddingWire and The Knot where they have the best of or the couple’s choice. The recent reviews this year, right? A certain number of reviews, new reviews this year is going to can qualify you for that. And then the recency matters because people don’t care what you did three years ago, two years ago, a year ago. They care what you did three weeks ago, two months ago, right? That’s what they care about. 

So the more recent reviews, the better. The responding, so think about this. If it’s a couple getting married and they’re looking on WeddingWire, they’re looking on The Knot or on Google or anyplace else, and they find that you have a lot of great reviews, five star, close to five star, you have a 5.0, 4.9, 4.8, whatever it is, but so do your competitors. And that’s the case for a lot of wedding vendors because unlike a restaurant, right? Like I posted a bunch of reviews yesterday ’cause I had been traveling. And what I’ll do is I’ll save the receipts from the restaurant to remind me to post reviews. And I posted a five for a restaurant that was really great. I posted a four for one that was really good and exceeded our expectations. And I posted a two for one where, I didn’t give him a one. I should have given him a one but I gave him a two because the service was really good, but almost everybody who was there felt ill the next day. 

So that’s a probably a good reason for posting a two. About that. my wife probably said one, but I thought Felipe the waiter did a good job. So I wanted to give him a two and give a shout out on there. So if you’re going to take the time to post that, I posted just in one day, three or four or five restaurant reviews. Whereas for a wedding, you’re going to post one for your photographer ’cause you only had one photographer one for your DJ or band, one for your officiant, one for your venue cater, et cetera, right? So you pick them because you already thought they were going to do a great job. And if they meet your expectations ’cause I’ve said this before, they pay us to meet their expectations. They don’t pay us to exceed them, they pay us to meet them. We want to exceed them, but they pay us to meet them. 

So if you’ve done that they’re going to give you a good review. And I’ve talked about already how to get more reviews and stuff. For this one I’m talking about specifically replying to reviews. Now when replying to the review, you very simply just want to read what they wrote. That’s all you have to do is read what they wrote. And if you were speaking to them, if they were right there and they had said that, what would you say back? You would say something specific to what they said. So instead of a generic response like I got one time from a hotel. Thanks so much, we can’t wait to welcome you back at your next day. And they, it’s like they didn’t even read what I wrote. I complimented them on things. I mentioned different things. Worse, I had one where I had problems. And the response just ignored the fact that I had problems. It was a hotel that was under renovation but the website didn’t say it. It said the restaurant was under renovation. It didn’t say the hotel. And we were not expecting to have people in the hallways doing wallpaper and things during our stay. That, we were not expecting that. We would’ve picked another hotel. There were plenty of them around, could have picked another hotel. And they completely ignored that and said, we’re excited about the renovation too and can’t wait for you to see it on your next day. 

Well, I complained about a bunch of things and that’s what they said? To me that made it worse. That makes me not want to stay there. Now if somebody responds well to a less than stellar review, it could make you want to do business with them again. I actually have heard this from many different wedding professionals who’ve told me that someone has read their one or very few of them that had bad reviews. But they said, we liked the way you responded. And again, that’s for another episode. I talked about how to respond to reviews. I’ve written about this in the books and all as well. 

For this, I want to talk about the importance of responding. If you’re looking at two companies and they both have what appeared to be really good results, they both appear to be high quality in your price point, both have good reviews. If one company responded and the other one didn’t, it’s giving them an edge because your personality is there when they’re reading the reviews. Your figuratively, if you’re listening your, air quotes, in the room when this was happening. So now you’re responding to it as opposed to how do I know if you’ve even read it if you haven’t responded, right? I just got my I think it was my 82nd review today, a phenomenal review. And I’m not sure if I’ve ever met this person in person, but it was phenomenal. It was actually about the podcast and the books, I believe. And I responded immediately. And as I have to every one of the other 81 reviews that are there, because I want them to know I’ve heard it, I’ve read it, I’m humbled by their comments. And you know that I want them to know that. And I think that’s what it does. 

But more importantly, the next person who comes, who’s considering using you for their event, for their wedding, for their corporate event, or mitzvah or quince, or a school event, or whatever it is, fundraiser, reading your responses allows them to find out a little bit more about you and who you are as a person in a company. Whereas the other people they’re reading what the customers say, but it doesn’t have you going back and being part of that conversation. 

So respond to your good reviews if you’ve never done any response to reviews. According to WeddingWire and The Knot, couples read on average for venues and photographers, seven to nine reviews per vendor. So if you’ve never responded at all you don’t have to go back to your dozens or hundreds over thousands of, just go back to the first nine, respond to those, that should be the most recent, and then every new one that comes in, respond. For every other category, it was five to seven on average. 

So go to the first seven. If you want to go a little more that’s fine. Five to seven and respond to those. And then, every new one that comes in, respond to those as well, okay? Now one more very important thing. On WeddingWire, on The Knot, on Yelp, I’m not sure if Tripadvisor, you can pin or highlight a review to stay at the top of the list. 

So it will be above the most recent one that comes in. The newest one will go below this. What you have to remember is it’s not going to change until you pin the next one or highlight the next one. So go take a look at The Knot, go take a look at WeddingWire, go in your dashboard, go to Yelp, go in your dashboard, and if you have not highlighted or pinned a review then the most recent one should be on the top. If you have, you might want to pin a more recent one or just unpin one so that the new one always comes to the top. But if you have a favorite one from the last few months or so, pin that one to the top. Just give yourself a reminder in your calendar to go pin another one in a few months so that there’s always a relatively recent one at the top. 

I’m actually put some slides about this in a presentation I’m doing in a couple of weeks to show someone that the first review is 2020 when there’s a 2023 below that. The next one I showed another example 2020 when there’s a 2022 below that. Well, the most recent one should always be at the top. And this is a self-inflicted problem. If you have not looked to see that there’s a highlighted or pinned review that’s keeping your most recent good review from showing up at the very top and an old one. The worst example of this I saw one time was there was one that was it was 15 years old. I wish I was joking, but I’m not. The most the one that was on the top was 15 years old. The one below that was a recent one. But if you don’t scan below that, you see one and say, well I guess they’re not doing any business recently. ’cause this is 15 years old. Not five, 15 years old. 

So replying to reviews, hugely important. Read what they wrote, comment about something that they said, comment about something that they didn’t say. So maybe if it’s a wedding and they didn’t mention their partner who they married, by name, you can call that person out and now say thank you to the person that wrote, the partner’s name. And now thanking them both because people know, oh, you must know who that is, because they didn’t mention who the partner was. But just read what they wrote. They almost always give you something to work with in terms of the details. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they write you two sentences. Everything was great, thank you so much. And then you can have a relatively generic thing back. but you can still maybe mention the partner or something that they didn’t to show that you really know who this is. In the responding to the negative reviews, if you go back to an episode that I did, what would you pay to make it go away? I talked about how to respond to negative reviews there. I’m sure I’ve done it on another episode and I know I have it in the books. It’s definitely in the newest book. So thanks again for this suggestion kind of indirectly from someone where I was not really going to you personally, but I’m seeing how many of you are not responding and missing out really on an opportunity. So thanks for tuning in.

I’m Alan Berg. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions about this or if you’d like to suggest other topics for “The Wedding Business Solutions Podcast” please let me know. My email is [email protected]. Look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thanks.

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