You sit down at your desk; open your email, application, or browser; and there it sits — a review notification. Whether positive or negative, how you and your business react will be a significant indication to others of your brand’s personality and customer service.
The majority of consumers (92%) read online reviews, and over 88% incorporate them into their decision-making processes. Unfortunately, people are also far more likely to leave a bad review than a good one. The majority of consumers with a negative experience will leave a negative review. Only one in ten happy consumers will do the same. A quarter of consumers (26%) believe it is essential for a business to respond to its reviews.
But responses to reviews do not only influence consumer sentiment. Google has confirmed that responding to reviews improves local SEO. Recent findings also show reviews account for over 15% of how Google ranks local business. Google’s support page states companies should, “interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.”
Crafting a response
Writing back to a positive review is relatively straightforward. While there are recommendations out there which suggest using keywords, your business name, marketing other products, and including promotions, many consumers will flag this as insincere. Remember that consumers see responses to reviews as a direct reflection on how your business conducts customer service and experience.
The most important thing to remember when responding to any review is to be representative of your brand’s personality. Try to use the reviewer’s name. Follow any social cues within the review to determine whether a promotion, up-sell, or additional commentary is warranted. Avoid a copy and paste response. Be human.
Negative reviews are a different animal. They are often accusatory and generally display the worst side of the person posting.
- Remember the reviewer is probably angry. How would you feel if their situation happened to you? They don’t know the inner workings of your business. They only know something went wrong. In most instances, what they truly desire is a resolution.
- Talk to the people involved in your organization. Look into the issue the reviewer has described. What happened to create this bad experience? If it is in an internal matter, discover what is being done to fix the problem.
- Wait until you are calm. The language used in negative reviews is often inflammatory. Take a deep breath. Responding to anger often creates more issues.
- Be Thankful. Thank the reviewer for contacting you. Many issues are not spotted unless someone leaves feedback. While frustrating, negative responses are an essential part of improving your business.
- Take responsibility where possible. People respect those who can own up to mistakes – so long as they also attempt to fix them. Taking responsibility for your part of the problem can help diffuse the situation and create a calmer atmosphere.
- Do not argue. Your goal is to negotiate a truce. Apologize and present solutions that fit the situation, such as detailing how you are resolving the internal problem or offering to some other consolation.
What I do (or don’t) get a reply?
When a negative reviewer does not respond to a reasonable response from your business, it can call the legitimacy of their review into question. If they were angry enough to leave a review, wouldn’t they want a resolution to their issue?
Keep an eye on all of your reviews for the opportunity to create an ongoing dialogue. Remember, responding to reviews builds SEO. Even positive reviewers often react if they see the business they reviewed has commented. More importantly, when a negative reviewer replies, it can open up a dialogue and the opportunity to turn the interaction into a positive experience.