We live in an age where people review everything. The new toaster they bought on Amazon. Their customer service experience at the hardware store. That new brunch place that opened up last week. When it comes to purchasing online, 90% of consumers say that reviews impact their decision making. 9 out of 10 customers look at local Google My Business reviews before making a purchase. These reviews are quickly becoming a consumer’s first impression of your business, so knowing how to properly handle both positive and negative comments can quickly take your customer service to the next level.
Why Reply to Positive Reviews?
In today’s world, negative comments tend to steal the spotlight. Businesses will react to one negative comment without ever stopping to thank others who have left glowing five star reviews. Responding to positive reviews is a great way to foster customer loyalty and build a relationship with the customer. If this customer gave you the same review face-to-face, you would say thank you, so continue that customer service over to a digital space.
Follow these guidelines when replying to positive reviews:
- Say thank you and be specific. If the customer points out a certain staff member or menu item, then thank them specifically for that comment.
- Give an incentive. Work a new addition or offer into your response to give them an incentive to visit again soon.
- Invite them to come back. Close your review with an invitation such as “We can’t wait to see you again!”
Let’s look at an example from Awesome Restaurant.
How to Encourage Positive Reviews
The more positive reviews your business has, the less impact a negative review will have on your overall rating. There is only one, surefire way to get reviews—ask! Happy customers appreciate being asked to share their feedback. Make sure to ask customers at a time when they are happiest, such as after their service has been completed.
We have a client in the service industry who has begun having technicians ask customers to leave Google reviews upon the completion of the service. With this one simple change, they have been able to generate over 1500 Google reviews across 40 locations in about 3 months. A simple ask from the customer-facing employee can go a long way.
Responding to Negative Reviews
The more reviews a business has in total, the less impact a negative review will have on the overall score. However, letting one negative review go without attention can do serious harm to your reputation. When you reply to a negative review, you aren’t just replying to the person who complained, you are replying to the whole community. From this point forward, every potential customer who looks at your online review profile will see the situation and how you handled it. So, make sure to leave them with a good impression.
Replying to a negative review is a chance to make things right for the customer, even in situations where your company or staff may not be at fault. Additionally, replying to negative reviews shows that you are open to feedback and making your business the best it can be.
Follow these guidelines when replying to negative reviews:
- Respond quickly. Don’t let a negative review sit for more than one business day without replying. No response can be interpreted as your business not caring about the customer’s experience.
- Apologize and sympathize. When people leave negative reviews, they want validation that their feelings are legitimate. Let them know you have listened to their complaints.
- Market yourself. Take the opportunity to let the customer know that you have high standards that have not been met in this situation.
- Move the conversation offline. The public forum is not a place to hash out the details. Give them a phone number or ask them to private message your Facebook page to continue the conversation.
- Keep the message short and sweet. Don’t go into too much detail. Three sentences is a good length.
We understand that keeping track of customer reviews is just another thing to add to your never ending marketing to-do list. But, we are here to help! Review management is just one of the many services we offer to our clients. Want to learn more? Drop us a line.