In this world where the internet dominates much of our shopping habits and other Business interactions, many people use it to leave reviews about a business they had dealings with. Other people who then search for that business will see those reviews and use them when making their decision on whether to use that business for their needs. The reviews left can be positive or negative, and can be found all over the place, from sites like Google and Yelp, to the business’s own social media pages. But what if the business being reviewed is yours? What should you do about the reviews? Should you respond or not? And if you do respond, how should you do it?
Responding to reviews can be tricky. Responding shows you have interest in what others are saying and are interested in engaging with customers. Thanking those who leave good reviews would be socially polite. But if the reviews are negative, you don’t want to respond angrily and get into an argument, as it will make you seem petty. And you need to be wary of internet trolls, who seem to have nothing better to do than post silly and inflammatory stuff online just to get people riled up.
So, how should one respond to online reviews?
First thing is to keep in mind that with online contact, all conversation is written, so sometimes intentions can be misinterpreted. When you craft your Response, keep in mind that the reviewer you are responding to is a paying customer, is a human being, and that they are vocal and opinionated (they wouldn’t be leaving a review otherwise), and formulate your response accordingly.
If you respond to a positive review, be sure to thank them for their review and be specific, such as mentioning a particular employee their review may have referred to. Incorporate your business name and keywords into your response to help the review be found in searches. Since the reviews are public, you can try to sneak in a little marketing, like mentioning a new reward program being started, or invite the reviewer to do something, such as to return and either try to something new or to bring a friend. But do it tastefully so it doesn’t sound like a bribe or anything. Generally, though, just a simple thank you will suffice to show your appreciation.
You don’t want to ignore bad reviews. It’s not going to go away, and leaving it alone will just make things worse. A reply from you is your chance to make things right, and you won’t be replying to just the reviewer but to everyone who has read the review. Your response will show you are not a shady person and are not neglectful, and that you are taking steps to avoid a similar situation happening again.
When you respond, be sure to apologize and sympathize with the customer for their bad experience. Try to insert a little marketing into your response by explaining what the customer experience is usually like (something like “We’re usually known for […] and I’m sorry this happened.”). Take the conversation offline by providing a phone number or email, or continue it in a private message, so it can be concluded privately and out of the public eye. Be sure to keep your response to the review short and simple. Don’t go into to much detail or ask questions (if you need more information, you can get it in offline conversation) so as to avoid upsetting the angry customer further. Generally, a response of three sentences is good enough.
Find out more about responding to reviews, and some examples of responses to negative reviews here, here, here, and here,
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