Thanks to current-generation technology, it is much easier for users to give their input on specific goods and services today than they ever have in the past. In actuality, certain websites encourage people to voice out their feedback by providing them with forums to upload their reviews. While this may sound helpful from a consumer’s perspective, it is a tool that can make or break a business. After all, many put the same weight on customer reviews as they do on personal recommendations. Positive reactions may aid a brand to establish recognition but negative critiques can have the opposite effect and create irrecoverable setbacks for a company. It is for this reason that online reputation management is vital.
Marketers and entrepreneurs must understand not only the importance of responding to reviews – especially negative ones – but how to go about the task too. Expertly addressing concerns won’t just help you strengthen the bond of your business with existing customers. But it can help you re-establish your relationship with past clients too. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best practices that you must adopt when it comes to online review responses.
Responding to negative reviews
Coming up with a response for a negative review is rarely an easy task, especially if the feedback is cruel and unfair. While it may be a natural feeling to become upset, you must remain cool and collected. If you let your emotions take over and allow yourself to retaliate, you’ll do more harm to your brand than good, after all. So before you type up a response, allow yourself to go to a relaxed and peaceful mental state. Doing so will help you create a template for your response that evokes a professional tone. More importantly, it will keep you from typing a response that you’ll regret.
- Address the reviewer by name. Most consumers desire to be treated and heard as individuals. As such, you must address them personally. Make sure not to forget the use of salutations, but steer clear from the generic “dear customer” or “dear guest.” Instead, use the name of the reviewer. Not only will this help you connect to the person easier than you would have otherwise, but the added personalization is sure to be appreciated.
- Thank the reviewer. When it comes to responding to reviews, it is a general rule of thumb to show the reviewer that you value the unsolicited and candid feedback. So be sure that you thank the person who wrote the review, even if the input wasn’t positive. Expressing your appreciation can go a long way in keeping the customer invested in your brand.
- Apologize for the trouble. You must apologize for any trouble that was caused to the customer and accept that the business made a mistake if it did. Even if the brand wasn’t at fault, express your apologies still. Doing so will help you strengthen both the relationship and trust with the person. Additionally, consumers are far more likely to keep away from businesses that refuse to own up to their errors and mishaps.
- Take responsibility for the mistake. Even if the situation was an isolated incident, it is vital never to make excuses. Whether it was a minor issue or a day off, you should always acknowledge the customer’s experience and take responsibility for the mistake. But don’t just stop there; provide some form of reassurance that the brand holds itself to a high standard.
- Make it right. Whenever you experience negative input, it is good standard practice to avoid responses that are generic and do little to address the issues that were raised in the feedback. Instead, look into the details of the experience and include them in the response. Never forget to communicate the improvements or changes to make the situation right for the customer. However, if nothing can be done at this point, own the mistake and promise the reviewer that the issue will never happen again in the future.
- Address the problem offline. Sometimes, the best course of action to address a negative review is to take it offline and communicate with the person directly. Not only will this save the company further embarrassment and any potential interference from other parties. But it may make it easier to resolve the problem too. Because of this, you must include contact information in the response.
- Hire expert services. The reputation of a brand means everything in this day and age. No consumer will trust a business whose public perception is less than stellar, after all. If you’re unable to resolve the issue yourself, it is always worth exploring and investing in online reputation management services. It may sound like an added expense now, but it can make all the difference later on.
Responding to positive reviews
Just because you receive positive reviews, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can ignore it. In doing so, you’ll fail to engage with the reviewer and miss out on the opportunity to show your target audience that you value their input. Here are a few tips when responding to positive feedback:
- Show your gratitude. You should always express your sincere gratitude to your reviewers, especially if their input is positive. They’re essentially giving your brand free word-of-mouth advertising by posting a positive review when you get right down to it. This will only help your business gain traction and visibility.
- Remain personal. Most companies respond to their customers on a first name basis because this personal touch sets a casual and friendly tone. However, you should also remain professional to avoid any potential issues.
- Ask for suggestions. To further endear yourself to your reviewers, it is a general rule of thumb to ask for suggestions. This will make them feel valued and toughen the bond that you have with them.
Online reviews are a factor that can influence consumer perception of a brand. The reputation of a business isn’t just shaped by the way it presents itself; it also shows by what consumers say. Fortunately, it is something that companies have some measure of control over. With these tips and the services of a professional online reputation management company, you can elevate the reputation of your business.