Old reviews have been some of the more debatable areas in a Google Business Profile. Should you answer them? Yay or nay? If you do, how far into the past should you look at? And which ones do you actually need to reply to?
Some Review-Related Stats
It goes without saying that businesses should reply to reviews, but around 63% of respondents in a reviewtrackers study said that the businesses they submitted feedback on never responded to them. It’s a norm that doesn’t have to be, especially when a business promises customer engagement all throughout their experience.
With that in mind, here are more stats to give you an idea of just how important it is to reply to reviews.
- According to another article published by reviewtrackers, a little more than half of the customers that responded to them expect businesses to reply to a negative review within a week.
- The same article mentioned that others actually want businesses to respond within three days.
- A brightlocal article said that people will consider or trust reviews “left between the last three months to a year.” This means that any review that’s older than a year may be irrelevant.
- They also mentioned that nearly 90% of consumers read replies to reviews
- Uberall released a study saying that businesses need to respond to at least 30% of their reviews.
The DigitalMaas Best Practice
We advise our customers to reply to reviews, as it is an important task in maintaining their Google Business Profiles because customers will trust them more knowing that they’re listening. While it doesn’t directly affect local search rankings, it does improve brand awareness and customer loyalty.
And more awareness and loyalty eventually bring in more views, clicks and foot traffic.
When they have old reviews that have been in the reviews section for some time, we usually tell them to answer those that are at the most thirty (30) days old. However, we’ve been reading some articles that may change our mind about our best practice. Here are some scenarios.
Scenario 1: Reply to Old Reviews
How old should an old review be for you to answer it? Whether it’s positive or negative feedback, some local SEO professionals say that revisiting reviews that are around a couple of years old may be beneficial to you in the long run.
Stating that your business is now actively listening to reviews can open up more opportunities for former customers to rethink about their relationship with you, and possibly try you out again.
For example, take a look at this review given by a customer. It took around two months for the store team to get back to them (names have been changed to protect privacy).
While it’s way less than a year, it did take a while for the store owner or team to reply to the reviewer. This shows that responding to old reviews, no matter how far off into the past, and no matter what sentiment, is always a good idea.
Scenario 2: Don’t (Always) Reply to Old Reviews
Okay, so hear us out. While it’s good to answer old reviews, you should also be discerning in what kind of review warrants a response.
Old violent reviews don’t always need your reply; as well, star ratings without any text reviews need no further attention. In short, you don’t need to reply to every single positive review that’s more than a couple of years old if it really isn’t worth replying to. If they do have feedback though, something like
“Everything was fantastic, from the food to the live band, but maybe the servers shouldn’t huddle in one corner when there were several tables occupied.”
… you might want to review this with your team and respond accordingly. The example above is a neutral review (neither positive nor negative) with good feedback. With a qualified response, you can bring back the customer into your location and subtly ask them for a second chance.
Moving Forward, Do This
So what’s our advice for this? It’s simple: Reply as much as you can, as long as the review is relevant to your business.
If you’re active in asking customers to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile (if you haven’t done so, you can follow our guide), you also have to be active in replying to new and old reviews. Whether you want to respond to 30-day-old or 24-month-old feedback, it’s a must to always keep track of any and all reviews coming into your Profile.
It also depends on you, the store owner, or your national marketing team on how far back you want to look.
The main point is to keep engaging with your customer base to maintain a good relationship with them and give them something to look forward to instead of staying in the same experience of the past.
Got dozens or hundreds of unanswered old reviews? We get it – it’s overwhelming to see which ones need answering, especially if you’ve got more than a few locations. The DigitalMaas Platform is your all-in-one dashboard that collates reviews from all your locations. We’ve made it easier for you to reply to all old reviews with a “Haven’t Replied” block to track any reviews that need a response on time, all the time.
Ready to amp up your relationship with your customers? Sign up today!