Business Reviews are More Influential than Ever Before
While word of mouth has always been a key factor in the success of a business, the internet and social media have made it possible for consumers to share their experiences with an increasingly large audience.
Before dining out or shopping at a given store, 72% of US consumers check online reviews; and 4 out of every 5 consumers base their decision to bring their business somewhere based on negative reviews and complaints. Unfortunately, positive reviews can often get buried. On average, an unhappy customer will tell 24 people of their experience, while happy customers tend to tell 15 people of theirs. When it comes to leaving reviews online, even fewer satisfied customers take the time or initiative to share their experience than dissatisfied customers. The anonymity and degree of separation provided by the internet leads many to post things they would never say in person. This creates the potential for a perfect storm that could damage your reputation online, and by extension, harm your business itself.
In the interest of helping you maintain your reputation online, we have compiled some tips for responding to both positive and negative online business reviews.
Tips for Responding to Business Reviews
- Respond in a timely manner: whether the review is positive or negative, a timely, well thought out response helps show you are both attentive to your customers and caring for their needs. Not every complaint is worth addressing. Petty personal attacks and overly crude, aggressive or vague posts should be ignored, as responding could further fuel the crazy fire. If a complaint is valid, for example, if it mentions specific details or seems sincere, then it is worth addressing in a calm, friendly tone. You should never act too defensively or engage in hostility in any case.
- Take it outside: while it is important for customers to know that you are actively listening to them, brevity is key. Addressing the complaint by providing an avenue to continue discussing the issue with a dissatisfied customer, say via phone, email, or even in person, will allow you to offer unique solutions to an individual without the dealings being published online. Responses should be kept brief, ideally within the space of a response or two. Thanking satisfied reviewers for taking the time to leave a review should be kept brief, simple, and honest. If you reward customers for leaving reviews, it is best to do so in a more private manner, creating the appearance that you are bribing customers to leave reviews is generally off-putting. Public exchanges have a tendency to go sour the longer they continue online, so keeping things brief is a powerful means to control your reputation.
- Keep it simple: Taking accountability and offering a solution is an important step in resolving any issues and repairing your relationship with customers. Conversely, engaging with satisfied customers is a powerful means to strengthen your bond. In either case, keeping your responses open and simple provides a great deal of reassurance for your customers.
- The best response for negative reviews in most cases is to say something to the effect of "Hey (insert person's name) we are sorry to hear about xyz. Our goal is for 100% client satisfaction. Please call us at our phone number so we can discuss making this right."
- For positive reviews, it is best to say something to the effect of, "Hey (insert person's name) we are grateful for you taking the time to let us know about your wonderful experience with our staff. We look forward to seeing you next time. Have a great day."
- Think of the big picture: When you read and respond to reviews, take a broad view of things. Not only can you ensure repeat customers and turn negative experiences around, you can also glean valuable information from reviews. Are there recurring themes, suggestions, or complaints? Reviews are great for shining a spotlight on things that are either working well or in need of improvement. Sharing reviews internally can motivate your team to either keep up the good work, or make necessary improvements, while sharing reviews externally can make conversions easier for you and your team. The ease and speed of communication via the internet and social media provides an excellent channel between your customers and you.
Online Business Reputation Management Utah
Managing your reputation online can be a time-consuming task. We've made it easy for you to encourage customers to leave positive reviews, while deflecting negative reviews about your business online. iGetReviews guides your customers through the online business review process, reminding them to leave you a review in their downtime, and giving you the tools necessary to monitor and respond to their comments. For more information on managing your reputation online, call Utah SEO Pros at (801) 413-7734.
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