Why Responding To Customer Reviews Matters
The reputation of your business matters more than it did ten years ago. Whether it’s your new product, customer experience, or social media post, people will be out there talking about your brand online. The sad thing is that you cannot control what they think about your business nor what they say. However, you can control what they see or hear from other customers using the most powerful marketing tool; word of mouth.
So, how do you control or manage reputation? Reputation management is influencing what and how people think of a brand or view it online. Unlike in the past, what people think about your business is based on what search engines like google portray or show about your business. With 90% of local consumers doing research online before making a purchase, you, therefore, ought to make peace with the Artificial Intelligence systems like google. But how do you make peace with google?
There is an unending list of some of the things you can do to improve how Google ranks your business through Google My Business (GMB) ranking. Paying keen attention to customer reviews is one of the factors to improve your online reputation best. However, there is more than that. According to Google, responding to customer reviews shows how much you value your customers and that high-quality, positive reviews from your consumers improve your business visibility.
Although Google does not specify what percentage replying to reviews accounts for in their ranking algorithm, Darren Shaw released a report about it. The Shaw report from the survey on google local rankings shows that reviews account for 15.44 % of how Google ranks a local business, improving from the 10.8% in 2015. Therefore, replying to reviews could significantly impact how your business ranks on google my business.
If you have to respond to customer reviews, you must understand how to handle each scenario. More often than not, your business will receive both positive and negative customer reviews. So, how do you ensure you seek out more positive reviews and respond to negative customer reviews professionally?
How to seek out more positive reviews
With 94% of online shoppers reporting that negative reviews have convinced them to avoid a particular brand, you should avoid them like a plague. Having positive reviews creates key benefits like improving visibility, building trust, and creating a conversation about your business. Google aims to provide browsers with the best reputable solutions, and if that person turns to be you, it will help you improve your sales and drive traffic to the business. So if customer reviews are that important, how do you get them?
Ask Customers For Reviews. As obvious as it may seem, it remains to be one of the most effective go-for methods. This method works perfectly, mainly when your customer is happy about your product or service. Ensure that you make it look easy and ask for the review as soon as possible. Also, since you’re pleading with the customer, ensure you use soft words that will compel the customer to leave a review.
Offer A Small Token. If this works for your particular business, offer a small token or gift to customers who successfully write a review. Offering incentives shows you value the customer’s time. However, Google uses analytics tools to check review traffic which may work well if you offer incentives.
Showcase Excellent Reviews. Bring it to the attention of customers that you often post great reviews on your social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, you can use a widget that posts positive reviews directly on your website or use screen captures in your monthly journals.
Reward Positive Reviews. Ensure that your team understands the role that customer review play and how to request them from customers. Some employees offer excellent customer service that attracts massive positive customer reviews. Plan to gift them for every review post they receive to create morale and provision of competitive customer service.
Respond To Every Review. According to a Harvard Business review finding, responding to customer reviews, including the negative ones, results in a better overall rating. Both the business and the customer are humans, and they will appreciate empathetic customer service. Your business can focus on the negative reviews as points to improve on.
Talking of negative reviews, how do you respond to them? Unfortunately, many companies end up spoiling their brand by approaching bad customer reviews wrongly.
How to Respond to Bad Customer Reviews
People leave negative reviews for different reasons such as vengeance, anger, teaching, and solution-seeking. As a business, responding to reviews at least 25% of the time, no matter the reason, may earn the business 35% more revenue, and failure may lower your average revenue by 9%. Your business doesn’t want ever to ignore that. Responding to bad customer reviews requires strategy or otherwise may end up tarnishing your brand. Such reasons include the ones discussed below:
Acknowledge and Apologize. You may think you did nothing wrong more often than not, but you shouldn’t forget that the customer is always right no matter how wrong you think they are. A review represents what the customer felt, and in no way should you argue with their feelings. So acknowledge it. Sympathize with the customer for what they felt about your business without in any way seeming to support their criticism. Supporting may do more harm than good.
Personalize The Response. Using a template such as “We’re sorry to hear about your experience” is fantastic but not perfect. As much as you shouldn’t explain and justify your actions, your response should address the reviewer’s primary concern. Understand their concern and tailor a review that directly settles their concern than using a general template with every review. By so doing, the reviewer will understand that you took the time to look into their issue. Certainly, you can even briefly mention your business’ mission and state your commitment to ensuring your business offers 100% customer satisfaction.
Take it Offline. Only on infrequent occasions will you solve a customer review online. As much as you sympathize with the reviewer, do not try to solve everything in a single broad text. It may harm your business and reputation as well, with every customer thinking, ‘oh! It’s those guys again!’ Instead, pleading with the customer to contact your customer care agent or provide a more specified answer like directing them to a particular company agent. By so doing, your business portrays that it values its customer service and has a dedicated person to handle the so thought rogue situations.
Make It Short But Sweet. A rule of thumb on this one; when tailoring your response to a negative review, saying less is more effective. In case you are wondering how short, three or four-sentence should be enough. The human urge to defend unfair accusations never works with business and in fact, writing long-form responses legitimatizes the complaints. Using follow-up questions may be adding insult to the injury and further incite the customer to curse more negativity to your business. Therefore, keep it short and sweet.
Thank The Reviewer. Thanking the reviewer shouldn’t be determined by whether the review is negative or positive. So, why should you do it? Thanking them doesn’t justify the complaint but shows a sense of gratitude for their time and expression of their feelings. Emotionally thanking a customer for a negative review intrigues a customer who has a contrary experience to protect your reputation and leave a more positive review.
Managing your reputation can be a hectic experience, especially if you have never done it before. What’s more, if it is already tarnished, it can take you decades to shoot it up. However, using professional reputation management providers could save you from all the hassles involved.