The Art of Responding to Customer Reviews

Every business has had its own particular blend of good and bad reviews from the time they opened their doors to the present day. In today’s business world, working alongside your customers is the new norm. With that in mind, it’s to be expected that your business may receive an influx of online reviews based on those various experiences.

While Google has mentioned that improving your local SEO can, and will, improve your local rankings on a Google search, what they’ve failed to mention is how your business is perceived on an experience level when it’s pushed into the spotlight. When your business comes up on a Google search, your star ratings and reviews left by prior customers is on full display.

Yes, ranking highly on a Google or Bing search is a goal, but ensuring your business’s online reputation matches that of the extraordinary experience and customer service you provide in real-time is equally as important. If a restaurant has the number one spot on an internet search, yet you scan the screen and see they have a 1.5 average star rating; that business’s placement on the results page then becomes obsolete and irrelevant.

On the other hand, your business could have a plethora of 5-star reviews with extensively detailed accounts of their recent experience with your business or a member of your team. This is what every business works towards receiving, yet many throw in the towel and call it a victory once the 5-stars start pouring in.

To master a precise and personalized customer experience that withstands as the year rolls on, your team should adopt several techniques and tools to positively impact your online reputation. Once upon a time, responding to negative or positive reviews was viewed as an extra step a business could take if they felt so inclined. Today, what was once considered an ‘extra’ step has become ‘expected’. Luckily for your business and the various others around the world, there are systematic steps your team can take to master review responses; regardless of their connotations.

Be Consistent

When a review comes through from Yelp or a Recommendation from Facebook, your initial response should be to read it, but not just once. Reviewers oftentimes utilize high-level summaries of their experiences, noting a few key moments of mind-blowing customer service, or areas of epic failure from their perspective.  They may even point out specific employees by name in the midst of their review.

Whether it’s a positive or negative review, your next course of action should be to respond. We find it to be best practice to respond to any type of review within 1-2 business days. Implementing consistency into your review response strategy from day one will allow you and your team to set the foundation for a certain level of consumer expectation associated with reviews.

Today, customers seldom leave a review for the sole purpose of visibility in on the worldwide web. Now, reviews are left either as a grandiose thank you to your business specifically, or they’re used as a method to communicate something that went terribly wrong throughout the customer’s past experience. Regardless of the review, take the time to fully dissect and understand the woes being spelled out prior to responding if it’s negative while ensuring your response time doesn’t extend beyond 1-2 business days. In terms of online review responses, consistency=trust and belonging from a consumers point-of-view.

Think Positive

We understand how difficult it may be to react optimistically after reading a review that sets a fire under the core of your business. In these instances, positive reinforcement is your best bet. Now that you’re in the groove of responding to reviews on a consistent basis, it’s time to test your crisis management skills in the world of online reputation management.

First off, hear the complaints your customer has spelled out in their review with the assumption that they are valid. The key here is withholding a positive disposition while admitting shortcomings and offering a solution to rid them of their previous aftertaste with your business. By speaking to them with respect, understanding, and sincerity — you’ll address every one of their needs and then some. By adhering to a positive mind frame in the midst of chaos, your thoughts will be clearer, and your ability to turn a wrong into a right increases.

For the reviews that are positive in nature, follow their lead. Thank them for their time in leaving a review of your business in the first place, and highlight a few elements of their review to speak on. If you or an employee personally remember this customer and their experience, mention what a joy it was assisting them every step of the way.

Utilize Reputation Management Tools

There is no shortage of review platforms online. For businesses, this can lead to areas of unknown-to-you sites accumulating reviews on your business in every corner of the web. The best way to ensure streamlined access to every review left on your businesses accord on any review site is to get set up with an online reputation management tool, like ReviewPush.

With ReviewPush, all of the reviews associated with your business will be showcased in one centralized and easy-to-use dashboard. Within the dashboard, you can assign different members of your team different roles. If you have one specific individual that you want to have sole access to review responses, you can assign that to them and that only.

The ability to access all of your reviews and brand mentions from review platforms and social media are the basics to ReviewPush’s customer experience solution. Don’t wait until it’s too late: take control of your reviews and optimize your online reputation today.

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