You can’t please everyone, and if your business has an online presence (which it should), then your company is open to negative reviews. But that’s really not a bad thing. You can make negative reviews work for you if you have good review management practices in place.
What Is Review Management?
Review management is simple, really—it’s just the practice of regularly reading and responding to reviews about your business wherever they may be posted, such as:
- Comments to your blog
- BBB reviews
- Ecommerce reviews
- Google reviews
- Yelp reviews
- Your social media channels
The first step to effective review management is to know where people can publicly talk about your business. Check in daily (or more frequently if necessary) to keep current on what people are saying about your products, services and user experiences.
Why Review Management Is Important
Review management is an essential part of brand management. More than 80% of consumers report trusting online reviews when making purchasing decisions. And, reviews are becoming increasingly important to search engine ranking.
Bottom line: if you want to control the reputation your company has online with past, current and potential customers, your voice needs to be heard in conversations about your offerings and customer experiences.
Tips for Effective Review Management
Effective review management requires genuine engagement with your prospective and existing customers, no matter if their feedback is positive or negative.
When you get positive reviews, thank the reviewer for taking the time to give you a shout-out. Some platforms have buttons that make your notice and appreciation of a positive review simple, such as:
When you get negative reviews:
- Ignoring a negative review does not make it go away. Instead, it just makes your company look like you don’t care about your customers’ experiences.
- Respond positively and calmly. Nothing will invite negative feedback and social media backlashes like a defensive, snarky or rude response.
The key to creating a response with a positive attitude is to remember first and foremost that the person posting the review is a person. When you can get in touch with the feelings the reviewer is expressing—disappointment, disrespect or concerned for one’s or a loved one’s safety, for example—it will be easier to respond compassionately.
- Carefully craft apologies (if applicable). Taking full responsibility for whatever may have happened with a product or service without knowing more could lead to liability issues down the road. However, sometimes an apology is appropriate. Best practice is to apologize for not meeting the customer’s expectations rather than for the specific incident, product failure, etc. Be careful, though. Savvy customers can sniff out a fake “We’re sorry to hear that, ma’am,” so be ready to follow up an apology with something more, such as a troubleshooting suggestion or other solution (see #4).
- Respond with a potential solution. You are not obligated to discount, refund or gift products or services, of course, although that may be the fastest way to change the reviewer’s tune. Other solutions may be an extended exchange window, credit or a private conversation with a representative.
- Provide a direct line to a real person for further resolution. Sometimes, it’s not appropriate to handle an entire customer complaint online. The issue may involve private information or just be too complicated for a review platform. In such cases, provide the reviewer with contact information to a real, live person who will handle the situation. Provide adequate information, such as direct extensions and best times to reach out, to let the reviewer bypass an automated phone maze or avoid the need to leave voicemail.
If you’ve taken the time to understand a reviewer’s feelings and needs and offered a solution in a respectful exchange, you may have won them over. If so, you can request the reviewer to update their review or post a new one so that others can see how you demonstrated your commitment to customer satisfaction.
What If I Have No Time for Review Management?
Depending on the volume of online business you conduct and/or feedback you receive, review management may be quite a heavy load. If no one on your staff has the time or expertise to devote to review management, contact SonicSEO.com. Review management is part of our comprehensive online brand management services.