How To Respond To Online Reviews
Every local business has reason to build a strategy to encourage customers to write online reviews about experiences they have encountered while using particular products or services. But, what happens when we actually get those reviews? In this digital age, it is crucial to understand the importance of not only getting reviews, but responding to them accordingly and effectively. With the emergence of more and more social media sites and online review directories, knowing what to say and how to say it is essential to the growth of your business and how your business is viewed in the public eye. Let’s go back to high school for a minute. That reputation you worked so hard to build has been shattered because of some silly misconception that has started roaming through the halls. It didn’t feel good, did it? So, the best way to overcome this was to reassure the people who actually matter and, unfortunately, accept fault when applicable. Same with online reviews.
I will provide you with a couple key points to keep in mind when responding to your online reviews, positive or negative.
As a whole, the first thing you must remember as a business owner is that those people leaving reviews are already customers! Whether they left you with a compliment or complaint, taking all feedback as it comes will enhance how your business operates, ultimately making you more successful. Second, don’t take reviews so personally, especially the negative ones. The customer is not reviewing you, they are reviewing your business, and it is your job to understand what you can do better to keep them coming back. Finally, be brief and polite. Since everyone and anyone has the ability to see online reviews, it is important to stick to the point and be as courteous as possible. Although there are circumstances where the customer is wrong, you should not make this apparent here.
Responding to Negativity
So, let’s start with the bad news first. We have all been there in instances where customers document a negative experience. And to some, it may seem they ONLY document their negative experiences. Although this may be the case, one of the most effective ways to reverse the effects of a negative review is to proactively respond to the reviewer. In doing so, the business owner has to realize that this is not personal as stated above. Don’t get defensive or think this is a personal attack against you. Before responding, take some time to cool down. No customer wants to be told off and no future customer wants to do business with a company who is telling their customers off. Take your time in responding, accept full responsibility, address the problem directly and apologize. Assure current customers and future prospects that this is not a normal occurrence and will not happen again.
I am genuinely sorry to hear that one of our customer service representatives treated you so poorly. This is very uncharacteristic of our staff, as we work to ensure all of our clients are treated with the utmost respect. This will be addressed immediately.
Your customers are human too, remember. Adding an element of empathy to your response will help heal the damage caused by that bad experience.
Responding to Positivity
Now, just because a reviewer has something nice to say doesn’t mean we are going to neglect responding to them. Don’t forget the small stuff that can make your company great, and thank them! This will give your customers, future and current, notice you care that they took the time to comment on your company, and that you appreciate hearing their feedback. After thanking them, share some new information about your business you think they may be interested in hearing. Whether it’s new processes you have implemented, new products you are offering or even industry news, keep your customers updated. The reviewers leaving you with positive feedback are your loyal customers, so providing them with more company and industry knowledge will give them even more reason to keep choosing you over your competitor down the street.
Responding on Social Media and Online Review Directories
Social media sites and online review directories are going to be very important for your business when it comes to reviews. Hubspot shares a great article outlining where you should look into getting your business listed if you have not already, and how to physically go about responding to the reviews you receive on each of those sites. Not only good for review purposes, but having your business listed on these pages will also enhance your online presence, making it easier for people in your area to find your business online. These sites make it simple for customers to leave reviews and business owners to respond.
Appointing someone to manage your online reviews is a good way to begin the ongoing process of keeping track and responding to your customers. Giving your customers the opportunity to leave feedback will only give them more reason to do business with you, especially when they see you are working to fix the issues that arise. By responding to the reviews your customers leave, you will add value to your business’s overall vision of providing that product or service to make someone else’s life easier.
The Lawgical team includes MBAs, business professionals with extensive backgrounds in technology, management, traditional media and search engine marketing, educators, and highly creative professionals who understand application development and usability.