Responding to online reviews that critique your business can seem a bit daunting for many business owners. If the review is negative, should you explain your side of the story in a public forum? If it's a positive review, is there any need to follow up? If the review is neutral, should your response include an attempt to persuade the reviewer to change their mind?
While each review may have a different feel to it, establishing a few ground rules may help shape and control the direction of these online communications.
IF THE REVIEW WAS POSITIVE
Sincerely thank the customer for their response to your business. Let them know that you care and appreciate the time they took to let others know about your company. One way of thanking a loyal customer could be to send a coupon expressing your gratitude for their patronage. By recognizing your most valued customers, you will help strengthen those relationships, thus augmenting the number of brand advocates you have in the marketplace.
IF THE REVIEW WAS NEGATIVE
These online reviews can be a business owner’s worst nightmare. Not only because the review reflects poorly on the company’s reputation, but because responding to such reviews can open the door to subsequent issues for the business owner. The first thing you want to do is acknowledge that the customer is unsatisfied and sympathize with their negative experience. After you’ve done that, make sure to state that your business strives to perform to the highest possible standards, then invite the reviewer to contact you personally about the matter (be sure to provide contact information). By doing this, you will remove the conversation from the online world and eliminate the back-and-forth chatter that can potentially paint your company in a negative light.
Responding to reviews can be a tricky goal to accomplish so we suggest that you keep it simple, sincere and succinct. In the case of negative reviews, do your best to move the conversation out of the public forum. By responding in this manner, you will avoid the many pitfalls that can plague businesses while converting more of your customers into brand advocates. For more information about how to establish brand standards when responding to reviews, call the experts at WebPunch!