Online reviews are increasingly playing a pivotal role in making or breaking a business’s online reputation. Statistics clearly show that an overwhelming majority of people rely heavily on online reviews of a business while deciding whether to buy a product or a service.
According to credible reports, nearly 90% of the people surveyed admitted that reviews posted by previous consumers have a huge impact on their decision to choose a business or a brand. Online reviews are the modern day equivalents of word of mouth recommendations. And they are just as potent, perhaps even more so.
The significance of these reviews presents a wonderful opportunity for businesses. If handled properly and proactively, customer reviews can become an invaluable asset to your business. Let’s see how.
How to harness the power of Online Reviews
It hardly need be stated that a good review of your business will surely have a positive impact on the success of your business. A review like that is the sort of promotion that money can’t buy. What often throws business owners in a tailspin is how to handle Negative reviews.
With the right response, it is possible to turn a negative review into a positive reflection of your business. This is achieved by responding politely and sincerely to the aggrieved customer and addressing their complaints or concerns in a professional manner.
Research reveals that businesses that respond to negative reviews and offer to address the problem and make amends are regarded very highly by other customers. Such response shows your customers, both current and future, that you are genuinely concerned about customer satisfaction and are not merely paying lip service to the notion.
Through the right response, online reviews can become amazing tools of promotion for your business. Let’s go over the guidelines that will help you deliver the ‘proper response’.
The Dos and Don’ts of Responding to Negative Reviews
Respond Calmly and Professionally
When responding to a negative review it is essential that you keep your tone and language cordial and professional. If you are angry about the incident in question, then it’s best to hold off till cooler heads prevail. A sarcastic or angry response to a negative review can prove catastrophic for your online reputation.
Check if a mistake was made and accept it
Did you or your staff make a mistake? If the answer is yes, then it’s best to outright accept your mistake rather than make excuses. Acceptance of your mistake reflects your sincerity towards your customers. Offer to make things right and follow through on your promise.
Make appropriate amends
The best way to placate an aggrieved customer is to offer them some incentive along with a promise of better service in the future. For example if someone has made a genuine complaint about getting very poor service at your restaurants, offer them free dessert of choice on their next visit or better yet a dinner on the house. Such incentives will vary from business to business and case to case but across the board, discounts and freebies work like a charm.
Shift to a Private Mode of Communication
After the initial response, divert the conversation to a more private mode of communication such as email or a phone call. The object here is to take the ensuing conversation away from the public eye while ensuring that your offer to address the complaint is visible to the public.
Use reviews to improve your business
Online reviews can become a very good source of suggestions for business development. Once a mistake or error in your ways is pointed out to you, make sure to permanently remove it so it does not reoccur. This way negative reviews can actually help you make lasting improvements to your business.
So, the next time a customer posts a negative review about your business, these tips will come in very handy in tackling that problem.