Businesses of all sizes should have a process for monitoring and responding to all reviews, especially during COVID-19 when more people are online. When the reviews are negative, responding can be tricky.
More customers are doing their research online, and it’s up to businesses to respond, alleviate, and pacify reviewers in a tactful way before it blows up to be a bigger situation. (Google “Kitchen Nightmares” and “Amy’s Baking Company” for the perfect example of how businesses should not antagonize and berate negative reviewers.)
Responding to all online reviews and addressing any customer issues shows the business owner cares about resolving the problem and is a great way to build customer trust. Engaging in arguments online makes your business look bad.
How to respond to negative reviews:
- First, take a breath. It’s always best to wait for emotions to die down before responding.
- Address the person by name in the response.
- Thank them for their feedback.
- Sympathize, take responsibility and keep the response simple.
- Take the conversation offline by providing the name, phone number and email address of a high-level contact at your business.
- Remember that everyone will see your response and view it as an indication of how you treat customers.
Dos and don’ts when responding to reviews:
- Do acknowledge criticism, be timely, and read the entire review.
- Don’t make offers of compensation online. Others may read it and think complaining is a way to get something free or at a discount.
- Don’t get into an argument online. You’ll look defensive to other consumers.
- Don’t threaten or blame the reviewer.
How to remove a negative review:
We’ve seen thousands of reviews that are just false, possibly written by a competitor or mean-spirited, and not reflective of how a business operates. Become familiar with the terms and conditions of all the review sites. The sites don’t police themselves, so it’s up to businesses to request that reviews are evaluated.
Some of the common violations include using an employee’s full name and using inappropriate language. You will have to site which of the terms and condition area violated when flagging a review for removal.
Related: How to flag a Yelp review in 4 steps
Get more positive reviews:
Most consumers understand that all businesses will get an occasional bad review. To offset the bad, make sure you have a process in place to get more positive reviews.
Survey your customers after each transaction to not only get actionable feedback but to also allow those that respond positively to share that feedback as a review online. You can even use text messaging to request reviews that instantly appear on Facebook, Google, and other top review sites.
Importance of your online reputation:
Star ratings often impact which business a customer will choose, and these ratings determine how high your business ranks in search results. Having positive reviews about your company make it more likely to show up in the coveted local pack of results on Google. From the consumer side, businesses that respond to reviews are two times more trustworthy than businesses that don’t, according to Google.
Make sure the company is connecting with customers on social media, because they’re on these sites even longer while working from home and sheltering in place during COVID-19. Use of Facebook, which also has reviews, has increased 53%, Instagram use has grown 32% and Twitter’s daily usage has jumped 23%.
Want more tips for improving your online reputation? Get a custom analysis of your business’ online reputation by requesting a free Intel Report here.
Digital Air Strike helps over 5,000 businesses with reputation management, 24/7 intelligent lead response and chat services, as well as social media marketing and consumer engagement technology. Click here to find free digital marketing resources for your business.