Best Practices for Responding to Reviews

Posted by: Alyssa Serres on 19 Apr, 2018

The way that you respond to your online reviews can significantly affect the perception of your brand. While the goal of every business owner is to collect positive reviews, bad reviews are bound to occur. Responding with poise is the only way to rebound. Understanding the fundamental function of reviews and best practices for managing them can help you better process and respond to every review you receive.  

Why are Reviews Important?

Reviews represent digital “word of mouth” communication. Eighty-eight percent of consumers say that reviews are a trusted source of information and help to inform their purchasing decisions. Reviews are valuable to customers because they provide a space where a business owner cannot polish her image. This level of transparency is credible in a world where everything can be – and often is – edited.

Your business will be reviewed whether you like it or not. Sites like Facebook and Google have review functionality built in. Third party review sites like Angie’s List and Yelp were created for the sole purpose of customers reviewing businesses. You can’t control what people will say in a review, but it is possible to positively influence customer experience. Likewise, it is essential to respond to negativity appropriately.

Pro Tip: Claim your business on third-party review sites like Yelp, Google, and others that are relevant to your industry, this will enable you to respond to both positive and negative feedback. 

A Few Notes about Reviews:

You cannot delete them
You should always respond to the
You should ask for them

Responding to Bad Reviews

“An eye for an eye leaves the world blind.” — M.K. Gandhi

Bad reviews are hard to read. But, they must all be taken with a grain of salt. Most people go into a business with the expectation of incredible service and quality products. You can do everything right and when they leave they may not feel compelled to write a review because their expectations were met. However, when people have bad experiences they are likely to take to the Internet and vent their frustrations.

When you see a bad review it can be a visceral experience. You work hard every day to care for your employees and nurture your business. A negative review can feel like a full on attack. It is crucial for your brand to take a step back and evaluate the situation when a bad review comes along.

Politely responding to a bad review with empathy can give you a chance to reclaim a customer and show others that you will do what it takes to right a wrong situation.

Bad reviews are not the end of your business.

Every business has a few bad reviews. It’s important to understand that the occasional bad review is normal and OK. It is how you respond to the negativity that can help or hurt your brand’s image. When you respond to a review, react as if you were speaking with the customer in person. It doesn’t matter if the customer was in the wrong, you should still operate under the idea that the customer is always right. Kindly responding to negative reviews shows that you care enough to reach out and reflects positively on your brand.

Do:

  • Be polite
  • Apologize
  • Offer a solution

Don’t:

  • Get Angry
  • Be rude to the reviewer
  • Not respond 

    How to Start a Negative Review Response:

    “Thank you for reaching out. I apologize that your experience at my business was not what you expected. Please give me a call, I would like to make this better”

     

Responding to Good Reviews

Responding to reviews is not all about damage control. It’s important that you thank customers who have taken the time to write a positive review for your business. As mentioned earlier, people don’t often post reviews when they’ve had good experiences. When a customer takes the time to applaud your business online, make sure that you acknowledge that and let them know that you appreciate their business. It’s the right thing to do.

Ask for Reviews

One thing that can help you get more good reviews is to ask your favorite clients, customers or patients for reviews. You can do this directly after providing products or services, or by sending them an email with a link to your preferred review site. Taking the time to ask for a review can remind customers who had a great experience to report on that. You will be surprised at how effective it is to simply ask for feedback.

Reviews are important for every business. Acknowledging and responding to them should be an intentional part of your digital marketing strategy.