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While online reviews are a megaphone for your customers (for better or worse), you have an ability to have a direct line back to them and to share your side of the story–responding to online reviews.
(of course, here at Ovation, we are partial to taking control of the reviews BEFORE they get online–but that’s for another conversation–really though, let’s chat!)
Online reviews have become integral to running a successful business. Those in the restaurant, hospitality, healthcare services, and retail industries should particularly evaluate how responding to their online reviews affects their business.
The right question isn’t, “Do they find me online?”, but rather “What do they find when they find me?”
Maintaining your online reputation is just as important as those face-to-face client interactions. Whether good or bad, engaging with your online reviews has become an important part of the business world.
Responding to positive reviews:
Engaging with satisfied consumers creates trust, personability, conversation, builds SEO (search engine optimization), and even attracts new customers. In fact, 78% of consumers say that seeing management personally respond to their online review makes them believe that the business cares more about them¹(reviewtrackers). Not only that, but when you respond to a review, the reviewer gets a notification and hence, a reminder to come back in.
When crafting your response to a positive customer review, it’s best to start with the client’s name and a quick thanks for their feedback. You can also include company values in your response to reinforce your brand, but always keep responses brief and free of advertising–online reviews are a place to be heard, not sold to. Did you know that 52% of customers expect to hear back from brands within 7 days of writing an online review?¹ So be prompt! Successful businesses know that even positive reviews need some positive engagement.
Responding to negative reviews:
Responding to negative reviews allows you to seize the situation, mitigate negative influence, and show you care. Your response creates context to a problem or negative experience that influences other readers. Use this opportunity to prompt actionable steps to resolve the issue privately.
One client of ours received a negative review. When they responded appropriately, the customer came back in for another chance. Not only did they change their 1-star review to a 5-star review, but ended up being regular customers. What could have been a loss of hundreds of dollars, ended up being worth thousands.
When responding to negative reviews, remember the 3 C’s: collected, compassionate, call to action.
- Collected. Reviews should not be taken personally and it’s important to respond with professionalism.
- Compassionate. Try to understand your customer’s perspective and never dismiss their experience. Once you’ve acknowledged their experience be sure to include a brief apology.
- Call to action. Don’t justify in your reply, rather call them to action. Refer them to a number, email, or webpage where they can provide additional, private feedback. Make sure they know their voice will be heard and action will be taken to improve their personal experience with your business moving forward.
Many of the same tactics used in positive reviews can be applied here as well, but it’s most important to respond calmly, empathetically, and present an action plan.
Responding to ALL of your online reviews is an easy way to improve your online presence.
With 97% of consumers reading online reviews before making a buying decision, it’s critical to leave personal responses for the thousands of people reading⁴. Online reviews creates an ideal space to reinforce company values, increase SEO, build a brand, create customer loyalty, mitigate negativity, and attract new customers who see that you care.
And if you don’t want to do all this work yourself–know that we at Ovation are happy to take it off your hands. Chat with us at www.ovationup.com and let’s see how we can help!