Two recent studies give us further evidence of reputation a best practice: responding to consumer reviews within a day. An analysis of reviews and response patterns on TripAdvisor found that hotels responding to reviews saw an increase in the number of reviews they received overall as well as a boost in their actual ratings.
The authors found that about half of hotels responded to reviews and roughly a third of reviews received a response. The study’s findings were summarized in the Harvard Business Review:
[W]e found that when hotels start responding, they receive 12% more reviews and their ratings increase, on average, by 0.12 stars . . . Approximately one-third of the hotels we studied increased their rounded ratings by half a star or more within six months of their first management response.
The study’s authors advance various theories for why this is. Regardless, they observed a causal relationship between review response rates and improved ratings. They also found that consumers who saw management taking reviews seriously were less likely to leave “short, negative reviews”:
We found that consumers who had read past management responses were less likely to leave short reviews than consumers who had not. Consequently, once hotels started responding, they experienced a sharp drop in the rate of short negative reviews. And while longer negative reviews still cropped up, these reviews often contained constructive feedback that could be useful to managers trying to make changes.
Q: If you leave customer feedback how quickly do you expect to be responded to?
An unrelated consumer loyalty survey from Yotpo found that the majority of review writers expect a response from a business within 24 hours of leaving the feedback.
This question asked generally about “feedback,” so it’s somewhat broader than just about reviews. But the finding illustrates consumer expectations around reviews. LSA has some forthcoming research (with SOCi) that generally supports the 24 hour turnaround time guideline. The bulk of the audience wants a fairly immediate response.
I’m unaware of research that addresses response-time expectations with negative vs. positive reviews. My guess is that consumers have more relaxed expectations around favorable reviews and praise than they do complaints. In other words, they likely want a more immediate response when they complain.
These two survey takeaways (respond to consumer views and within 24 hours), may seem obvious or self-evident but large numbers of US businesses still don’t closely monitor online reviews and many do not respond to reviews at all. And among those who do, there’s often have a relatively casual or undisciplined approach.