Once online word gets around, your name can be difficult to salvage. But if something happens and you get a bad rating, your business can suffer. In any case, the way you respond matters. All online reviews deserve a response. The question is, how can you respond to every customer who posts one?
Why Online Reviews Matter
Online reviews give potential customers a glimpse into your day-to-day operations. Some reviews offer a consensus on critical areas such as customer service and efficiency. They allow others to see your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Your immediate response reflects how well invested you are in maintaining and expanding your customer base. Below are a few reasons why it’s essential to respond to every review promptly.
Timely Responses Improve Customer Relations
This applies to both positive and negative reviews. Recent research demonstrates that 39% of customers expect to have business owners heed their concerns. Therefore, prompt response to their online reviews is highly appreciated. When a customer leaves a negative review, your immediate reaction should be a concern. You need to think of what can satisfy your customers and keep them returning.
But don’t neglect any positive reviews either. All reviews should warrant a prompt response from the owner. Something as simple as a thank you followed by a call to action is valued by your audience. Something such as a link to your site or contact information will do.
Your Reputation Will Be Noted
A swift response to all reviews tells the customers that you care. Not only should you respond immediately to feedback, but every answer needs to be both professional and courteous. If you respond angrily and with pettiness to criticism, your reputation is likely to sink.
Customers will lose their trust in you and switch to one of your competitors. A good response is to learn from all reviews and strive to improve.
Marketing trends show that businesses who respond to all reviews in a timely and personal manner will see a 16% boost in customer referrals. Doing so will seal your reputation and help you expand your customer base for many years.
Timely Responses Improve Your SEO Presence
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way for your business to be found online. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing can find you in a few handy keywords. And with everything being so transparent these days, it pays to have an online profile that’s both sharp and professional.
Your response to every customer review adds depth and meaning to customer relations. Their experience will be noted everywhere for others to see. And who knows, maybe this information will result in specific keywords to identify your business.
If, for example, you run a vintage clothing store, some of your keywords might include designer fashion, vintage children’s wear, or retro clothing. The time and manner you respond to each review may earn your store a reputation as the “Best Retro Clothing Shop.”
More Reviews Mean More Business
The more you respond to online reviews, the better and greater your business. Online reputation takes precedent over word of mouth these days, so be prepared. A constant response says a thousand words and tells customers your willingness to listen. But the key is to avoid tossing around the old cliche of “putting the customer first.”
Instead, walk the walk. Back every promise up with action. If someone complains that your restaurant didn’t deliver enough crab cakes on time, apologize and try backing it up with a discount or a free meal on their next visit.
The goal is to attract more customers and increase your business traffic. But keep in mind that you won’t be able to make everyone happy. Some customers will vent online. How you choose to respond matters.
Responding to Bad Reviews
Bad reviews can happen to anyone anytime. Even businesses with a stellar reputation will have the occasional customer who comes across as someone who is a challenge to please. The good news is that you can learn from every review, good or bad. Negative people also have something to teach us about patience, fortitude, and good professional conduct.
There are methods for crafting your response to where that person feels heard and validated no matter how angry they seem. Your goal should entail de-escalating the situation firmly and politely. Sometimes, light humor helps, but your best response should toe the line between professionalism and compassion.
However, the one thing to remember is that several advantage seekers are out to get free products and services by making a big stink about faulty products and a lack of customer service. A restaurant owner could offer a full refund for lousy service to smooth things over with an angry customer. Your best bet is to consult another entrepreneur for insight and sound advice about the best way to craft your response.
Online reviews give you a scientific glimpse into your online business reputation. You can check your star rating and get a basic idea of where you stand. If you rate 4 out of 5 stars, there’s room for improvement. You can go online to see what most people are saying about you. Even positive reviews are an opportunity for growth.
Reach out to us at OnePoint Business Solutions today to learn more about responding to online reviews.