How do you turn your customer reviews into a strength?
Managing and responding to your online reviews can be an effective way to grow your business, but you need to do it the right way.
Online reviews are important because they can help you build a brand, inform you of your customers’ experiences, and teach you how to improve your product or service. That’s why getting reviews shouldn’t be a passive experience, but rather an activity you intentionally participate in.
How do you manage online reviews?
Being proactive in managing your online reviews can have a significant impact on your brand and business growth. That’s why it’s crucial to develop a management process.
First, you must claim or create your business page. Claiming your page is free, and then you have control over its content. If your page has not yet been created, you can create one yourself. To claim or create a page, visit the relevant site and look for a button or link indicating information such as, “For Businesses”, “Claim Your Page” or “Unlock Your Page”.
Claiming your page can improve your natural ranking in search results and will often give you access to special services provided by the review site (e.g., review tracking and analysis tools and the ability to communicate privately with reviewers).
Next, you need to examine these reviews. This involves finding out what platform you are reviewed on and what your customers are saying about your services and products. You will likely see both positive and negative reviews.
Respond appropriately. If you take the time to respond to both types of reviews, you’ll say a lot about your attitude and behavior to your potential future customers.
Create a rhythm of follow-up and response. When you first discover that you’ve been reviewed, you may need to catch up. Respond to at least the most recent messages. Then, you can create a more sustained rhythm in your week to monitor and respond continuously. Part of managing reviews is to regularly ask satisfied customers to post their reviews of your business.
Responding to negative reviews
Many businesses fear negative online reviews because they can drive away existing and potential customers. Your unhappy customers want to feel heard and have their opinions respected. Fortunately, negative reviews can be managed, and even turned to your advantage in some situations.
Here are some simple steps you can take to help you take the heat for those negative reviews:
- Respond promptly: If the customer felt dissatisfied enough to post a review about your business, you should make it a priority to respond seriously to their negative comments. Respond within 24-48 hours of posting the review. In the long run, it can be helpful to create a process document that will serve as a reference guide for dealing with negative reviews. This will also help the team involved by teaching your sales representatives how to handle the situation.
- Learn from the customer’s complaint: Showing the customer your willingness to understand their dissatisfaction, can make a huge difference and will enhance your image with internet users. It’s also a great example of business ethics for potential customers to get a glimpse of your company’s personality. Simply saying “We’re sorry to hear you had a bad experience with us” will make them feel heard and put out the flames of their anger.
- Apologize and show empathy: Apologizing to your customer instead of dithering about what they said is the ultimate example that your customer service is up to par.
- Take responsibility: Even if the bad experience isn’t your fault, you need to demonstrate moral character. When it comes to responding to feedback, you must take a customer-centric approach. The goal is not to blame yourself for all the negative feedback from your customers. However, you are obliged to keep in mind that your business exists because of them, and their satisfaction is the key to your business success. A fault assumed is half forgiven, all that remains is for you to improve your service/product at the origin of these negative reviews.
- Provide an explanation if necessary: All businesses are bound to make mistakes at one time or another. Clearly explain to clients what went wrong, you are showing them the human side of your business. Based on the customer’s experience, you can provide an explanation. Nevertheless, don’t justify what happened; explain what happened. There is a difference. You don’t want to appear to be making an excuse. Instead, clearly explain why the mistakes happened.
- Keep the conversation private: Online reviews are public, and that’s the essence of their impact. This is a double-edged sword when it comes to negative reviews. If it’s crucial to respond, it’s a good idea to subtly suggest moving the conversation to another private platform. You don’t want all your customers to witness the interaction. For example, if you have a customer chat feature on your website or app, you can ask them to record a formal complaint. Or, you ask them directly to contact you by phone or email. In this case, include your name, the customer service representative’s name, title and direct contact information. In doing so, you indicate that their feedback as much as important to you and that you are willing to listen.
- Fix it: If the problem can be fixed, do so. Offer a refund or consider offering a free service/product to make up for the last one. Find the root cause of their dissatisfaction and turn the situation around. Sometimes this can even result in the negative review being deleted or turned into a positive customer service testimonial.
If nothing can be done to remedy the situation, write a public response, showing your sincere regret and your desire to prevent this type of situation from happening again.
Do not ignore positive reviews
Yes, all positive reviews should be received and not taken for granted. They are the promoters of your business – the people who rave about your business and want to tell their friends about it.
They are also the people who will come back to your business again and again, which is important when you consider that it costs almost seven times as much to attract new customers as it does to keep the ones you already have.
You can thank the evaluator with a personalized message. You can submit a call to action for marketing purposes. This can be:
- asking customers to share their experience with their friends,
- to sign up for another appointment,
- to connect with you on social media.
It all depends on you and your business goals. Indeed, it’s wise to strike while the iron is hot and invite reviewers to verse additional actions while they are satisfied.