Responding to Online Reviews

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Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question,what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

As a consumer, you likely spend time reviewing and researching businesses from restaurants to travel. Online reviews are an integral part being a consumer and can make or break a business. Reviews also allow business owners to gain feedback which if implemented correctly can improve a business.

Reviews encourage customers to share their experiences and opinions. A good review can encourage repeat business and opportunities for growth. But a bad review can be damaging and put off customers from visiting your establishment, purchasing your service or products.

Recent studies have found that a large percentage of online shoppers trust reviews implicitly. So if your business has negative reviews and little response, it could really hurt your business. There are a few steps you can take to add your side of the story to reviews, negative and positive. 

Remain professional
It’s human nature to get upset and angry about negative feedback and reviews. But don’t let this come across in your response. If your response seems aggressive or threatening in any way, it will only make the situation worse. So even if you think the review is unfair, try to remain calm and professional. It can be easy to interpret online reviews in the wrong way. So remember this when you are creating your response. Be apologetic and see if there is anything you can do to rectify their issue. Never use slang words or abbreviations as this can also be seen in a negative light by your customers.

Never use templates
Being a business owner is time-consuming, and there can often feel like there are not enough hours in the day. But don’t try to save time by using templates for your review responses. This can make you seem lazy and that you don’t care about your customer’s thoughts and opinions. Even though it might take time, always create original and personal responses to each review. They don’t have to be long essays, a short messages that encourages the person to contact you off the review site is also ok. You can easily say something like, “(Customer Name), I am so sorry to hear you had this experience at (Location). I would really like to talk to you more about what happened and how we can make it right. Please contact me at (how you want to be contacted). This can help deescalate  a situation.  If the reviewer asks a question, try to answer clearly and consider their feedback. You should also encourage them to communicate again in future and tell them that their reviews are important to you. This will help you build brand loyalty.

Respond quickly
Above all else, make sure you respond promptly. It’s no good waiting for a few days or a week before replying to a review, particularly a negative one. By then the damage to your business will already have been done. Schedule some time each day to check the reviews you’ve received on review sites and social media. Even if you have outstanding reviews, take the time to post a reply. To make this easier, visit http://www.chatmeter.com/ for details about review management services. Your clients will appreciate your prompt response. It will also give you the opportunity to deal with issues they have before their review influences others.

With these tips to help you, your online reviews don’t have to be so terrifying or difficult to control. If approached in a positive manner, they can help you win over your customers and gain their respect and loyalty. This can only be of benefit to you and your business.

If you’d like more assistance, or need more help than the three suggestions consider working with J & A Creative, we would love to help! 

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