We know a lot of companies have a love/hate relationship with online reviews. But love them or hate them, they’re here to stay – mostly because customers trust them.

Seriously, 85% of customers said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. On top of that, the average customer reads 10 reviews before making a decision. So if you’re not already monitoring what customers are saying about you online, you need to start. Reviews can literally make or break your business.

We’re not kidding. Reputation management is important. When it comes to platforms like Google My Business, 57% of customers said that they would only use a business that had 4+ stars. But don’t let that scare you. Even if you get a few negative reviews, you can raise your ratings by responding to comments.

RESPONDING TO NEGATIVE REVIEWS

The truth is, you can’t please everybody, but if you follow these tips you may be able to turn negative experiences into positive ones.

1. DON’T RESPOND EMOTIONALLY

When someone bad-mouths your business, it’s only natural to get angry or upset. Sometimes their concerns are legitimate, and sometimes they just want to get a reaction out of you. It’s ok to have an initial emotional reaction, but don’t let that be your public response.

Getting into an emotional, public argument with a customer is a bad look for your business, so never respond out of anger or defensiveness. If you’re feeling emotional about the comment, take a step back. Respond later, or let a more objective social media manager respond for you.

2. HAVE A PUBLIC RESPONSE, NOT A PUBLIC ARGUMENT 

Don’t confuse a public response with getting into a public argument because the two are very, very different. Make your initial response public because it shows future readers that you’re attentive and that you care.

Offer an explanation if needed, but don’t get caught up in excuses. Taking responsibility for your mistakes will get you more respect in the eyes of your customers. A promise to do better goes far as long as the promise isn’t empty.

Sometimes you’ll have to respond to a very upset customer, or someone who continues to respond emotionally. In this case, invite them to talk in a more private setting like a direct message or phone call.

3. OFFER A SOLUTION

We’ve all had bad experiences at businesses before, and sometimes we just want to talk about it. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and offer a solution. Respond with empathy, and you have the opportunity to flip the situation around.

You might even be able to turn a once-unhappy customer into a repeat customer. HubSpot found that 98% of the time, solving a customer’s complaint or resolving a mistake leads to a customer continuing to do business with you.

 

RESPONDING TO POSITIVE REVIEWS

Not all comments and reviews are bad. After you read an amazing review and before you go have a celebratory drink, make sure you respond!

1. SHOW SOME LOVE

Giving positive comments attention will encourage more positive comments. These people love your business, and they want to hear from you. You reinforce the positive experience when you respond. Use this as an opportunity to solidify your company’s relationship with this customer and they’ll keep coming back for more.  

2. DON’T BE GENERIC

This person just took time out of their day to tell everyone what a great experience they had. That’s a big deal, so treat it like one. Call them by name, respond to what they said, don’t just always say “cheers” or “thanks.”

3. GIVE A LITTLE EXTRA

Guess what. You’ve just identified a person who not only likes what you have to offer, but they like it so much that they want to tell people about it. Companies pay money for that kind of public endorsement (ie: brand ambassadors and influencers), so nurture it.

Give them a shoutout in your Instagram story or on your Facebook wall, or give them a discount the next time they come in. Whatever you do, make them feel special.

Now, we’re not saying you should give away free drinks for reviews – that’s actually a quick way to get review sites angry. Instead, when people show you love, show some back.

SEND A SOS

Responding to reviews can be time-consuming, and while you don’t have to respond to every. single. one. You can still find yourself caught up in managing your digital reputation while you have a continuously growing to-do list. That’s where social media managers come in. You give them the facts, and they respond for you so you don’t have to continuously worry about what people are saying.

Need some help with social? Send us an email and we can talk.