Online Reviews: More Important Than You Think
Did you know that online reviews can make or break a small business? In today’s digital age, online reviews are so important to consumers that a staggering 93% of shoppers read online reviews before purchasing a product, according to Qualtrics. Similarly, 94% of consumers say that an online review has convinced them to avoid a business altogether. With statistics like those, it’s clear that online reviews matter. And, with so many platforms customers can leave reviews on (like Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, BBB – Better Business Bureau, Trustpilot, and Yellow Pages, to name a few), keeping up with them all can be a challenge for a busy small business owner. So, how do you stay on top of your online reviews? Is there anything you can do to help shape your reputation online and harness the power of positive reviews? It turns out there is. Check out our tips for managing your business’s online reviews below:
Solicit reviews from your customers
If your business suffers from a lack of online reviews, the best place to start is with your customers. Ask satisfied customers to leave reviews on your Facebook and Google My Business pages and provide them instructions on how to do so if necessary. Ask your customers to describe how your business helped meet their needs and to mention any instances of great customer service. According to Forbes, 68% of customers will leave a review if asked; pretty good odds!
Respond to all reviews, positive and negative
It’s important to respond to all reviews that come in, not just the positive ones. Responding to reviews is an important part of your business’s customer service strategy. While it may seem like responding to negative reviews could put more of a spotlight on them, customers will be looking to see how you handle these negative interactions. Even if the review is negative, unfair, or biased, acknowledge the customer, offer an apology, and make an effort to make things right. From there, simply move on. Do not engage with the customer further, even if they edit their review or make a bigger issue. Remain positive and professional in your responses. After all, positive, timely responses to negative customer feedback can give your potential customers a better overall impression of your business and its customer service skills.
Plan out some pre-written responses to help speed up your response time
If you’re doing things right, the vast majority of your online reviews will be positive. To help you respond quickly and efficiently to your online reviews, it’s a good idea to plan out some pre-written responses. Having a half dozen generic responses for both positive and negative reviews can speed up your response time and let your customers know their feedback matters. Some examples of pre-written responses are:
Thank you for your review, [CUSTOMER NAME]! We’re so glad we were able to assist you today! We look forward to seeing you again soon.
We’re happy we could help, [CUSTOMER NAME]! Thank you for the five-star review! See you again soon.
Dear [CUSTOMER NAME], we’re so sorry to hear your visit didn’t meet expectations. We strive to provide high-quality service to all of our customers. Please reach out to us so we can make this right.
[CUSTOMER NAME], we’re so sorry to hear about your negative experience. The incident you described doesn’t live up to our customer service promise. Please reach out to our team so we can make this right.
Offer actionable responses to customer feedback
While responding to each online review is a great first step, it’s important to offer customers a way to resolve their negative experiences. When responding to negative feedback, be sure to offer your customers a way that they can reach out and discuss their concerns. This will show your customers that you care about their feedback and take customer service seriously. When responding to negative reviews, be sure to leave an email address, telephone number, or social media handle that your customer can reach out to for additional support. Whether your customer takes that next step and gets in contact with you about their review is up to them; at least you’ve demonstrated your willingness to work with them on a resolution.
Don’t be combative or personal in your review responses
It’s important to maintain a positive, professional demeanor when responding to online reviews. Remember that your response to a negative review is a public record for other customers to see. Despite how harsh a negative review may be, never make personal attacks, try to offer backstory, or have the last word. Doing so is unprofessional and will not help diffuse the situation. Instead, acknowledge the review and offer to discuss the situation further with the customer in private.
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