As a business owner, it’s essential that you understand the power of online customer reviews. Online reviews are one of the most influential factors in your customers’ buying decisions. In fact, according to Nielsen, 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
But managing this positive and negative feedback can be difficult if you don’t have a plan in place for responding quickly and effectively when things go wrong or right! That’s why we’ve created this guide on how businesses can manage their online customer review process from start to finish with ease.
1. Assign Someone to Be the Point Person
First things first, you need to make sure that your business has a dedicated owner of online reviews. This is the person who’ll be responsible for responding to both positive and negative feedback as it comes in via email or social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
Given the importance of this role, the chosen person should be organised and have great communication skills. They should also be able to think quickly on their feet, so it’s best if they’re not easily discouraged or rattled by negative feedback.
Finally, you’ll want someone with good technical skills since they’ll be the point of contact for dealing with reviews across various platforms.
2. Avoid Buying/Posting Fake Reviews
It’s important to avoid buying or posting fake reviews, whether positive or negative. Why? Well, chances are it won’t be long until Google notices this, and you could end up paying the price by having your business profile penalised. It might be worth it if you’re trying to boost your company’s ranking, but keep in mind that this will only work temporarily.
Secondly, and more importantly, should your reviews ever come into question, you’ll want to be prepared with authentic reviews from real customers as evidence of your stellar business practices and services. You can do this by encouraging customers to leave reviews after making a purchase or using your services.
So, instead of focusing on manipulating customer feedback through unethical means, simply focus on doing what you do best by delivering outstanding service and products to your customers.
3. Encourage Customers to Post Reviews
Next, you’ll want to make it easy for your customers to leave reviews about their experiences with your business by encouraging them to leave feedback when they’re prompted through emails or receipts. Here are a few ideas:
- Include hyperlinks and banners to encourage visitors on your website and social media profiles (be sure not to be too pushy, though).
- Remember to always ask for positive reviews so you can respond with a thank you to that customer.
- Allow customers to rate their experience through your business’ profile on popular review sites such as Yelp, Google Places, and Facebook.
- Post testimonials on your website or social media profiles to encourage others.
You can also offer incentives such as discounts, promotions, freebies, and similar in exchange for the customer’s review. While this might sound good in theory, be prepared for accusations of bias. Instead, try rewarding customers with simple thank you’s or hand-written notes.
4. Respond to Negative Reviews Promptly
If you do receive a negative online customer review, there’s no reason to panic because it’s fixable! The most important thing you can do is respond to the review in an honest and transparent way by quickly admitting any mistakes that have been made.
Take responsibility for your actions and focus on how you plan to address the issue and make things right. If you don’t feel like your company can respond effectively or honestly, it’s best to ignore the review for now and do everything you can to resolve the situation with that individual.
For instance, try reaching out to them privately by responding through their personal email address so they know their concerns are being heard. This will help avoid any confusion and unpleasantness while also maintaining their privacy. Then, once you’ve addressed the problem, you can go back and respond publicly by updating your business profile (if possible).
Tip: It’s a good idea to avoid getting into arguments with customers and try your best to resolve their issues. Most of the time, they’re not trying to be difficult; rather, they simply want their voices heard.
5. Respond to Positive Reviews, Too
Don’t forget that you shouldn’t just focus on negative reviews. If you receive any positive feedback, it’s also important to respond with a thank you or other acknowledgment. This will go a long way in showing how much your customers really mean to you, and their opinions matter.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to take the opportunity to promote your business in a positive light by sharing these reviews with your customers. If you happen to receive many positive reviews, this will also help raise your online credibility and trustworthiness, ultimately leading to an increase in sales.
6. Moderate Reviews on Third-Party Sites
Lastly, you’ll want to think about moderating your reviews on popular sites such as Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Foursquare. If you notice that various users are leaving spammy or unhelpful comments on these profiles (i.e., all five-star reviews or all one-star reviews), you might want to consider using the “filtered reviews” feature or simply reporting them to the site.
The Bottom Line
As a business, you should always strive to maintain a positive online reputation because it’s often a key factor in influencing a customer’s decision to use your services or products.
Hopefully, with these tips in mind, your business can pull through and be successful while also maintaining a great relationship with your customers. And remember, the key is to deal with online customer reviews in an honest way so that both you and your customers feel satisfied.