Did you know nearly 80% of users look at online reviews prior to making an important purchase decision? In this day and age, online reviews have risen to the importance, if not even taken the place of, recommendations from friends and family members.
It certainly makes sense that consumers want to explore others’ experiences with a product or service before shelling out their hard-earned cash. After all, reading reviews is simple, convenient, and gives a quick overview of what they can expect when they make a purchase decision.
This new approach to shopping seems like it’s here to stay, meaning business owners simply cannot cross their fingers and hope for the best when it comes to their online reviews. Instead, a proactive strategy for reading, requesting, and responding to reviews is key to maintaining an online reputation that attracts customers and promotes a positive business image.
We’ve compiled a quick guide to review management to help you get a grasp on the key points you should be focusing on to leverage the potential of online reviews and ensure all feedback is handled appropriately.
1. Know What to Do When You Get a Bad Review
It’s almost inevitable that your business will receive a negative review at some point, but this doesn’t mean you should just let them slide. The best thing to do when you receive criticism that is posted online for all current and potential customers to see is to respond in a professional manner. This means:
- Responding quickly. The sooner you respond, the greater the likelihood you can turn the situation into a positive experience for both you and the dissatisfied customer.
- Remaining empathetic. It can be hard to put yourself in the customer’s shoes, but trying to see the situation from their point of view is crucial, even if you feel you weren’t in the wrong.
- Actively resolving the issue. Instead of explaining why a situation may have occurred, focus on fixing the problem. After a negative experience, the customer likely doesn’t care what circumstances caused it to happen; rather, they want an immediate resolution.
2. Ensure Customers can Express Their Dissatisfaction Offline
Sometimes, customers simply want their opinions to be heard, and posting a negative review is an easy way to express themselves. If you give your customers a more effective and convenient way to make complaints and ensure issues are addressed promptly, they’ll be less likely to take their criticisms online.
The best way to do this is to clearly indicate how customers can contact management if they have an issue with your products or services. In many cases, you’ll be able to remedy the situation before the customer leaves a review, increasing the chances they’ll write about a positive, rather than a negative, experience.
3. Respond to Positive Reviews, Too
Negative reviews aren’t the only ones that deserve a response. Take advantage of the opportunity to promote customer loyalty by engaging with positive reviews as well.
This kind of interaction also shows potential customers your approach to customer service, dedication to building relationships, and appreciation for those who enjoy what you have to offer, making it an important part of online reputation management.
4. Don’t Hesitate to Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews
Many business owners fear the effects of bad reviews to such an extent they don’t actively encourage customers to leave reviews at all. However, this approach can backfire. Remember your star rating is averaged, meaning a single bad review will be more apparent if you have fewer reviews in total.
Having a high review count can not only negate the effects of bad reviews, but can also improve your search result rankings and show potential customers your business is well-established. With this in mind, you may have less anxiety about encouraging everyone who uses your products or services to leave a review, even if you’re unsure of what the outcome will be.