News article

A new idea (and tool) that’ll help you write better and quicker replies to your Google or VouchedFor reviews

You’ve heard us say (many times!) that it’s crucial you reply to your Google and VouchedFor reviews.

Now there’s research to support what we’ve been saying for years.

Data from BrightLocal shows that 88% of consumers would use a business that replies to all its reviews. This compares to just 47% who would use a business that doesn’t respond to reviews at all.

Despite our efforts, and this research from BrightLocal, we know there are two main barriers preventing most advisers/planners from replying to their reviews effectively:

  1. Time
  2. Knowing what to say.

Combined, these challenges mean advisers/planners either don’t reply, write very short replies, or cut and paste the same response.

None of those look great to the client who gave up their valuable time to write a review. It also means an opportunity to impress prospects is thrown away.

So here’s a potential answer to the problem: AI.

You might be tempted to roll your eyes – AI seems to be the go-to answer for every problem at the moment, but let me show you how it can help. Make sure you read to the end to learn more about The Yardstick Review Responder which will write your replies for you! And no, that’s not a belated April Fool’s joke!

Include these three things in your reply

As we say in our definitive guide to online reviews, you should do three things in your reply:

Step 1: Say thank you and use their name

Everyone likes to hear their name. So start your reply by giving a genuine and heartfelt thank you to the client for taking the time to leave a review, using their name.

Step 2: Tell a story to show benefits and achievements

You’re never going to reveal confidential information or break a client’s confidence. However, by referencing something they say in their review you’ll be able to explain the benefits of working with you.

Step 3: Include key messages

Potential clients will read your replies, which means you should work in the key messages you want them to hear, ideally linking back to the client’s review. Depending on your service and proposition these could include:

  • The local nature of your service
  • The benefits of financial planning
  • The importance of independent advice
  • Why your Chartered status sets you apart
  • How your fixed-fee structure will benefit them
  • How cashflow modelling gives clients confidence about their financial future.

There’s plenty more. Mix them up too – you don’t want it to look like your replies have been cut and pasted!

AI will give you a great first draft

That’s quite a lot to include in your reply and while some advisers/planners do it brilliantly, as we’ve already said, a lack of time and writer’s block often prevent others from writing effective replies.

So let AI write your first draft.

We all know the content AI produces right now is bland, middle of the road and lacking in personality but, when it comes to writing replies, if you give it the right prompt it can provide you with a great first draft.

And if you’re concerned about using AI, further data from BrightLocal should provide reassurance. Their research found that 58% of consumers preferred the AI-written review response when shown one written by a human and another generated by AI.

So if you’ve not used AI before or never thought that it could help you reply to your reviews, keep reading for some practical tips and prompts you can cut and paste.

Using AI to respond to Google reviews

Here’s an example using a random Google review I found for a financial advice firm (who hadn’t left a reply, proving the points we made earlier).

  • My prompt to ChatGPT (free version):

“I’m a financial adviser and need a reply writing to the following Google review:

“Very approachable, well informed advisors with whom it is easy to discuss financial affairs. Website simple to navigate, regular updates provided. Opportunities to invest sustainably”

The reply should be professional, but personal and written for a British audience. Please write 150 to 200 words, include the person’s name (Susan), and start with a genuine and heartfelt thank you. It should also reference the comments made in the review and build on them to show the benefits of taking financial advice from my business. Finally, I’m based in Nottingham, so please include a key phrase which might help my SEO.”

  • The unedited AI-generated reply:

“Dear Susan,

Thank you so much for your wonderful review. It truly means a lot to us. We’re thrilled to hear that you found our advisors approachable and well-informed. Building relationships with our clients here in Nottingham is at the heart of what we do, and it’s fantastic to know that you felt comfortable discussing your financial affairs with us.

We’re also delighted that you found our website easy to navigate and appreciated the regular updates. Keeping you informed and empowered is our priority, and we’re committed to providing you with the resources you need to make informed decisions about your finances.

Furthermore, we’re proud to offer sustainable investment opportunities that align with your values. It’s important to us to provide investment options that not only offer potential financial returns but also make a positive impact on the world.

Thank you once again, Susan, for your trust and confidence in our services. We look forward to continuing to support you on your financial journey.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Business Name] in Nottingham”

Now I’m not claiming that my prompt is perfect and can’t be improved. The AI-generated reply also needs editing to inject your personality.

However, it’s a great start and is a million times better than not leaving a reply.

Using AI to reply to VouchedFor reviews

We can use the same technique for replying to VouchedFor reviews. Here’s an example, again using a random selected review.

  • My prompt to ChatGPT (free version):

“I’m a financial adviser and need a reply writing to the following VouchedFor (a website where financial advisers can collect reviews from their clients) review. Below, you will see the questions VouchedFor asked my client and the client’s answers.

What were the circumstances that caused you to initially look for an adviser?

My savings were with a company that offered no advice or ongoing customer care. I felt that my savings would work for me better if I transferred them to a different way of investing.

How has Jane Doe helped you?

By providing very professional and knowledgeable advice, by understanding my individual needs and circumstances and by tailoring my investments to meet my goals without undue risk.

Have you seen the outcome you were hoping for?

Most definitely.

What could they have done better?

It’s difficult to see what could have been done better. I have been more than happy with the service provided so far.

The reply should be professional, but personal and written for a British audience. Please write 150 to 200 words, include the person’s name (Susan), and start with a genuine and heartfelt thank you. It should also reference the comments made in the review and build on them to show the benefits of taking financial advice from my business.”

  • The unedited AI-generated reply:

“Dear Susan,

Thank you sincerely for taking the time to share your experience with Jane Doe Financial Services. Your trust in us means the world, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to support you on your financial journey.

We understand the importance of finding an adviser who truly listens and tailors their advice to your unique needs. We’re thrilled to hear that Jane was able to provide you with professional and knowledgeable advice, tailored to your individual circumstances, and aligned with your goals.

At Jane Doe Financial Services, our priority is to ensure that your investments work for you, with careful consideration of risk and opportunity. We’re delighted that you’ve seen the outcome you were hoping for, and we’re committed to continuing to provide you with exceptional service.

Your satisfaction is our utmost priority, and we’re always here to listen and evolve to meet your needs. Thank you once again for your kind words, Susan. We look forward to continuing to serve you with excellence.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Business Name]”

Again, it’s not perfect, but it’s a great first draft.

Try it for yourself by using our Yardstick Review Responder

If you have the paid version of ChatGPT (it’s $20 per month and will save you hours of time each month) you can use The Yardstick Review Responder tool that we’ve created. Simply click here to give it a go.

If you have the free version of ChatGPT (and don’t want to upgrade), all you need to do is cut and paste the prompts we’ve given you above, along with the text of the review you’re replying to.

If you’re currently writing short replies, ChatGPT and The Yardstick Review Responder will improve them.

And, if you’re not replying to reviews at all, using these prompts or our tool will make the job much quicker.

As always, if you have any feedback on this blog, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me by emailing or calling 0115 8965 300.

Stay in touch


Sign up to receive our hints, tips & ideas to improve your marketing.
As you’d expect, we’ll never pass your details to anyone else and if you don’t like what we have to say, you can unsubscribe at any time.