Reputation Management

How to Respond to Reviews

Why are online reviews important?

Ninety-seven percent of consumers find local business info
on the web, and nearly 90% make decisions based on what
online reviews say. Every business is constantly being put to
the test, and the results of that test are being published.

Review sites like Yelp! and TripAdvisor host over a combined
270 million reviews and if you consider the billion+ users
on Facebook and Twitter, there’s a good chance your local
business clients are the subject of much online chatter. They
need to be part of the conversation.

Responding to reviews, positive and negative, are key elements of modern day customer service. Good customer service is good business.

How to respond to negative reviews?

So like Mr. E says, every business is likely to receive the odd bad review—we just can’t all the time. A bad review can even be good for business, if the company responds appropriately and sprinkles a little marketing magic on it. It may be hard to see it as such, but negative reviews can be a gift. For every customer who complains, 26 others remain silent.15 That means if a business gets a bad review, there could be dozens of other people who had the same experience and aren’t saying anything.

Here are a few things to remember when responding to
negative reviews: 

Take some time to respond

Not a lot of time, you want people to be able to rely on your quick response, but make sure you don’t react purely on emotion. It is hard not to take a bad review as a personal attack, because business owners care so much about their company. While you want to ensure you don’t let your emotions take charge, it’s important to write with sincerity. Responders can make the situation worse by
sounding sarcastic or disingenuous.


Be kind and genuine

While you are responding to one person, and your response should come across that way, remember that the audience is potentially much larger and far-reaching. Not only will other people who visit the review site see the response, but it’s possible those people could share the review and response with their own networks. 

Be specific. 

If a customer mentions something in particular about the business, use that in your reply. Not only does this demonstrate that you are not a robot, but it makes the complainant feel heard and understood. 

Remember that feedback and criticism can be helpful. 

This reviewer has taken the time to invest in the business in an attempt to make it better—thank them (even if you don’t agree with them). Business owners are always looking for a way to understand the customer experience, and there is no better way than a review. The reviewer may have a relevant point about the business, so it’s important to consider the content without going on the defensive. If each negative review says that Zoe is the worst, maybe Timmy needs a talking to. Or a firing.

Offer to take the conversation offline. 

You would never want to have a less than pleasant dialogue with an unhappy customer in a physical store with other customers around, so why would you do it in front of more watching eyes online? Offering a phone number and a way to connect privately
ensures the reviewer that you want to fix the situation for them, not just for the digital audience. Also, if you decide to offer a free or discounted service to make up for the bad experience, it’s best not to do this in front of other customers and potential customers—that might encourage bad reviews to get free stuff. You know who loves free stuff? Me. And everyone else. 

Do not ignore it. Ever! 

Imagine a business’s competitors were taking out ads saying how terrible they were and the business just chilled. The negative review may not be written by a competitor, but chances are, more relevant people will be reading the review than would be seeing an ad in traditional media. These people have already searched the business and are deciding on a purchasing decision. Make sure local
businesses are part of the conversation going on about them, online, every single day.

And as Salvador Dali once said, “Have no fear of perfection—you’ll never reach it.” 

Consumers want to feel heard. They want to know a brand or local business is authentic.

Source: The Ultimate Guide to Online Reviews (https://support.vendasta.com/hc/en-us/articles/220315887)