Almost all buying decisions customers make online are directly influenced by reviews and recommendations. Whether they’re shopping for a T-shirt or an afternoon snack, people like to look at reviews before they make a decision. Yelp, for example, has become the go-to resource for people who are looking to decide which restaurant they want to visit.
Reviews don’t only benefit customers, however. Companies that build a good reputation online can grow their business tremendously based on the strength of the positive feedback they’ve received online.
If you’re skeptical, you might be wondering how many of the reviews you read online are genuine. After all, how can you tell if a company has paid for favorable reviews? As a business, you should inspire trust in your customers. The manner in which you handle reviews plays a large part in proving your integrity to customers. Let us take a look at how you should treat reviews about your business.
Be quick to respond.
Whether the review is positive or negative, acknowledge it. Posting a simple message that reads, “Thank you for your feedback” goes a long way towards letting your customers know that you are listening to their feedback. Don’t leave it at “thank you”. People might think you have an automated system that replies to each review. Along with your acknowledgement, you should include a reply that addresses the contents of that particular review.
Don’t get defensive when the reviews are negative.
If you receive a negative review or a bug report, don’t try to beat around the bush. If you’ve made a mistake, accept it and apologize. People like to see modesty and humility. If they see that you are willing to accept your mistakes on a public forum, they will be more trusting of you.
In addition, a mistake gives you a great opportunity to improve. For example, if you’ve developed an application, a user might bring to your notice a bug that you didn’t know existed. You can start working on improving your product based on the feedback you get.
Reward your customers for leaving a review.
Every person who took time out of their day to leave a review about your business should be appreciated and thanked. You can send them some promo codes, coupons or other bonuses for reviewing your product or service.
Don’t squash negative reviews.
Online reputation management is important, but it doesn’t mean you should kill negative reviews. Information has a way of getting through on the internet. Even if you squash a couple of negative reviews on your website, people can still air their frustration over Twitter, Facebook or other platforms. If people find out that you have been ignoring or deleting negative reviews, the backlash you will face will be much worse than you expected.
Every business should encourage honesty. Letting your customers know that their concerns will be heard and remedied is a major part of building your brand. Negative reviews are just opportunities for you to improve.