Reviews are a critical factor in the reputation of your dispensary and the success of your digital marketing campaign. Reviews increase the visibility of your dispensary, improve SEO, and help customers see your business in the eyes of other customers. To make things easy, we’ve outlined best practices and a sample budtenders script to assist you in acquiring new online dispensary reviews, and also how you can respond to bad reviews that will actually make you look good.
In this guide, we’ll cover the following topics:
1. Asking for Reviews
- Effective Scripting: How to Ask for a Review
- Best Practices: 10 Tips When Asking for a Review
2. Positive Reviews
- Why You Should Respond to Positive Reviews
- How to Respond to a Positive Review
3. Negative Reviews
- Managing Negative or Bad Reviews
- How Do I Respond to a Negative Review?
- Response Examples: How to Respond to Negative (and Positive) Reviews
Effective Scripting: How to Ask for a Review
If you don’t ask for a review, chances are, you’re not going to get one — unless it’s a negative review.
Step 1: Ask For A Favor.
“I’d like to ask you a favor, [CUSTOMER NAME]. Would you mind taking a few minutes to write a review for me, please? Your comments help others know what to expect when looking for a dispensary.”
If yes, move to step 2. Most customers are willing to write a review, but you have to do a good job of asking for the favor. If no, say:
“Is everything ok? Were you happy with the service?”
Normally the excuse is they don’t like writing reviews or putting their name on the internet. If they don’t want to write a review, thank them, and move on. Most dispensaries receive 500 customers or more per day, so there are more opportunities to get reviews.
Step 2: Get Primary Email.
“Thank you, [CUSTOMER NAME]. I’d like to send you an email with a link to where to review us (and we will never, ever share it with anyone), is that OK? What’s your primary email address, please?”
Repeat the email back to them to confirm it for accuracy and make sure you get the right email address. Add the email to your preferred email marketing platform, and automatically send them an email requesting a review.
Step 3: Show Gratitude And Expectation.
“Thanks for offering to do this, [CUSTOMER NAME], it means a lot to me. I’m looking forward to reading your comments.”
Best Practices: 10 Tips When Asking for a Review
- Ask permission before sending a review request.
- Ask when your customer is the happiest.
- Ask for a favor, not a request. Customers will respond better if you ask a favor and will be more inclined if they know they’re helping you out.
- Let your customer know it will only take a few minutes to write a review.
- Let your customer understand how their review benefits “the community”:
a. Gives others an opportunity to learn about us from their peers and other customers.
b. Helps people see the business through the eyes of customers.
- Get your client’s primary email address. A large number of customers have multiple email addresses, so make sure you get their primary email address.
- Show appreciation. Tell them how much writing a review means to you.
- Tell them that you’re looking forward to reading their review.
- Use your words and personality. The budtender script above is a template you should tailor to align with your brand.
- Be consistent, ask everybody!
Should I Respond to Positive Reviews?
It’s common sense that if a customer leaves a negative review, you should respond promptly, politely, and try to remedy the situation. (Of course, “common sense” isn’t as common as we think.) But, what about positive reviews? If someone leaves a glowing five-star review, they’re happy, right? So do you really need to respond? Actually, yes, you should!
- Reciprocity: If someone pays you a compliment in real life, you instinctively feel an obligation to return the compliment. It’s human nature. The same rules apply in the online world.
- Engagement: Responding to a positive review provides an extra opportunity to engage with the customer, increasing the chances that they will keep you top of mind and continue to patronize your business.
- Encourages More Positive Reviews: The more positive reviews you have and the more you engage, the more likely you’ll get more positive reviews. Your responses will encourage others to join the conversation and increase the likelihood that they’ll leave positive feedback.
- Boosts Your Search (SEO) Rankings: Google pays attention, and they like businesses that are engaged with their customers. Consequently, there’s a good chance that you being proactive will boost your ranking in search results.
How Do I Respond to a Positive Review?
Now that we’ve established responding to positive reviews makes good business sense, the question is how to go about doing it. It’s actually pretty simple:
Say “Thank You!”
Address them by their first name (if visible), thank them with sincerity, and be specific. You want them to know a real person is monitoring the reviews, so don’t use a totally canned response.
Obviously, you don’t have all the time in the world, so you’ll want to start with a template that you can easily tailor to the situation. But, often it can be as simple as,
“Thanks, Sharon, for the kind comments! The [Your Business Name] Team is thrilled you enjoyed your experience. We hope the next time you choose a [Cannabis Dispensary] in [City Name], you’ll visit us again. Also, if you haven’t joined our VIP Program, be sure to sign up next time you’re in. It’s free and includes customer rewards and complimentary invites to exclusive VIP-only events. Stay tuned. We’ve got some great new promotions coming up next week.”
We share more response examples and templates at the end of this document.
Include Subtle Marketing In Your Response
You don’t want to overtly sell, but it’s okay to mention a new promotion or a customer loyalty program (as we did in the example above). It can be as simple as,
“BTW, did you know we just launched our VIP Program? We designed it to reward our loyal customers. And, it’s free to join!”
SEO Pro Tip! Use Your Business Name, Category, and Location In Your Response
Did you notice we used the business name, category, and location in the response? That was intentional. By consistently using these terms, you’ll help Google’s algorithm find relevancy and it can give your search rankings a boost.
Managing Negative or Bad Reviews
Given the fact that 92% of consumers read online reviews and 88% trust these reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation, negative reviews can be devastating! Worse, if you don’t have many reviews to begin with, one negative review can destroy your average.
Fortunately, managing negative reviews is not as hard as you might think. Most importantly, you need to make the effort. The (online) world is watching to see how you react! When you respond to a negative review, you’re not just responding to that individual, you’re responding to everyone reading the reviews.
How Do I Respond to a Negative Review?
Negative reviews happen to even the best run businesses. Nobody’s perfect. But, how you respond to and deal with negative reviews can make or break your business.
If you ignore negative reviews, not only are you likely to get more negative reviews but the world will see your lack of response and interpret that as you not caring. However, if you respond thoughtfully, you can actually turn a negative experience into a positive one — and the customer may even revise their review!
Here’s how to deal with negative reviews:
Be Sincere & Apologize
Don’t — we repeat, don’t — be defensive! Be genuinely apologetic and acknowledge their criticism. Sometimes it can be hard not to become defensive, particularly when the negative feedback is unwarranted. Nonetheless, convey empathy and let them know how you’re going to make it right.
Invite A Negative Reviewer to Contact You Directly. Offline.
If you can have a conversation with them (in-person or on the phone), you’re in a much better position to be able to fix the situation and even get them to revise their review. Simply share your contact information and invite them to contact you directly.
“I’m [YOUR NAME] and I’m the [MANAGER]. We are 100% committed to ensuring every customer has an awesome experience. I’m sorry we fell short this visit. Please give us a call at [BUSINESS PHONE #] and ask for [YOUR NAME] or email me directly at [YOUR EMAIL] so that I can address your concerns and make it right.”
Keep It Short, Sweet, and Professional
There’s no need to launch into a long diatribe. Keep your response short and to the point. Moreover, if you say too much, the greater the chance that you upset them more. Obviously, that’s the last thing you want. Two or three sentences is just fine.
Pro Tip: Don’t Include Search Terms In Your Response
Unlike positive reviews, you don’t want Google crawling negative reviews. So keep your business name, category, and location out of these responses!
Response Examples: How to Respond to Negative or Bad Reviews
Complaint: Price Too High
Hi, [CUSTOMER NAME]. Thank you for reviewing us. We do appreciate it and want you to know that we work hard to keep our prices low but reasonable. We’ve invested a great deal of time and resources in sourcing the best quality and hiring on the best talent, and sometimes, that comes with a higher price tag. However, we do believe we are competitive with other dispensaries in the area when it comes to pricing.
Hi, [CUSTOMER NAME]. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. While it is possible that some dispensaries may occasionally offer similar products at lower prices, we do our best to be as competitive as possible while maintaining a profit. We put in a great deal of time and resources into bringing you the highest quality products at reasonable prices. Keep in mind that we regularly offer promotions and incentives.
Complaint: Menu Out of Stock
Hi, [CUSTOMER NAME]. We apologize you were not able to find [PRODUCT]. We are lucky to have such an enthusiastic clientele and they’re quick to swoop up out best products. Please know that we are doing our best to remain in-stock at all times. We’d love the opportunity to make the situation right. Please don’t hesitate to contact [MANAGER] directly at [PHONE #] or [EMAIL]. Again, thank you for the feedback.
Hi, [CUSTOMER NAME]. Were you not able to find [PRODUCT]? We apologize for that and hope that doesn’t keep you from coming back. We work hard to stay in stock with all your favorite products, and we’re sure this was a rare snafu. We’d love the opportunity to make the situation right. Please don’t hesitate to contact [MANAGER] directly at [PHONE #] or [EMAIL]. Again, we apologize, and we hope to see you in again soon!
Hi, [CUSTOMER NAME]. We’re so sorry about that! Did you ask our budtenders about any of our other products? We have some other really amazing products to choose from. However, we should have never been out-of-stock of that product. We’ll work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen again. We’d love the opportunity to make the situation right. Please don’t hesitate to contact [MANAGER] directly at [PHONE #] or [EMAIL]. Thank you again.
Complaint: Slow Lines
Thank you for sharing your frustration with us. I do hope you’ll let us explain how this sometimes happens. You see, some customers need much more time in making their decision and we want to help them make the right choice. We’d love the opportunity to make the situation right. Please don’t hesitate to contact [MANAGER] directly at [PHONE #] or [EMAIL]. Thank you again.
Complaint: Bad Selection
We’re sorry we didn’t meet your expectations and hope you’ll give us another shot at making it up to you. We have made countless other customers happy with their experience at our store and we know we can do the same for you. We’d love the opportunity to make the situation right. Please don’t hesitate to contact [MANAGER] directly at [PHONE #] or [EMAIL].
We’re sorry you feel this way. We just want you to know that we work hard to curate the best of the best for our customers, and we hope you’ll come back in and give us a second shot. Thank you for sharing your concerns with us. We’d love the opportunity to make the situation right. Please don’t hesitate to contact [MANAGER] directly at [PHONE #] or [EMAIL].
Complaint: Rude Service
We’re sorry to hear about your lackluster experience. There are absolutely no excuses for this, but we do hope you’ll give us a second chance. Everyone has their off-days, but if there is staff in particular that you find unsatisfactory, please contact [MANAGER] directly at [PHONE #] or [EMAIL]. Thank you for reaching out to us.
We’d love the opportunity to make the situation right. Please don’t hesitate to contact [MANAGER] directly at [PHONE #] or [EMAIL]. Thank you again.
Response Examples: How to Respond to Negative Reviews
Compliment: Best Selection of Flower
Thank you, [CUSTOMER NAME]! We certainly strive to have the best selection in town! Thank you for your feedback, and we hope to see you in again soon.
Thank you, [CUSTOMER NAME]! We’re so glad you had a great experience with us and the flower you chose. It sounds like our team helped you make the right choice. Thank you for taking the time to review us.
Compliment: Great Staff and Customer Service
Thank you, [CUSTOMER NAME]! Choosing our team at Mary Mart was definitely a process, but we’re confident in all the members we have on staff now. It sounds like you believe the same to be true! Thank you for your review.
Thank you, [CUSTOMER NAME]! We definitely work hard for reviews like this! Thank you for taking the time to share this with us. We love our team and appreciate hearing that they’re doing a great job in making your experience the best it could be.
Compliment: [Team Member] Is My Favorite Budtender.
Thank you, [CUSTOMER NAME]! We love hearing this and we know they do too. We’ll make sure to share your review is passed along to them for a job well done. Thank you for taking the time to review us!
Thank you, [CUSTOMER NAME]! Thank you for your review!! We’ll make sure [Team Member] knows that you appreciate them. We strive for this level of service and are happy to hear we hit the mark on your visit.
Compliment: Fast Lines
Thank you, [CUSTOMER NAME]! We work hard to find the perfect balance in being quick while giving our customers enough time to make the right choice. It sounds like we’re hitting the mark. Thank you!
Thank you, [CUSTOMER NAME]! We definitely like to help our customers get in and out with their favorite products. Happy to hear we are doing a great job at it. Thank you for your review!
Compliment: Amazing Prices
Thank you for the great review, [CUSTOMER NAME]! You’re definitely right. We do our best to keep our prices competitive and reasonable while maintaining the highest level of service.
Thank you, [CUSTOMER NAME]! We keep our prices competitive and have a product in every budget. Thank you for your great feedback, and we hope to see you in again soon.
Compliment: Knowledgeable Staff
Thank you, [CUSTOMER NAME]! We’re thrilled we were able to exceed your expectations and that makes us proud. We appreciate the time you took to review us.
Compliment: Great Deals
Thank you, [CUSTOMER NAME]! We’re glad to hear that we are doing a good job with our deals and special promotions. It’s definitely fun for us and we love giving back to our loyal customers.
We hope you found this guide valuable. Remember, being proactive and responding to all reviews, including negative and positive reviews, is vital to your reputation and success. Sure, it can be time-consuming, but it’s 100% worth it. And, by leveraging the right tools or services, you can easily automate the process.
If you’re ready to take your online reputation to another level, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help!
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