Responding to Reviews: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

When taking charge of your digital presence you’re most likely thinking about the key social media players like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but it is important to remember that your digital presence is so much larger than these platforms alone.

Here’s an experiment for you: Type your business’ name into Google. What are some of the first search results that you see? Probably your business’ website and maybe its social media networks, right? On that first search page you’ll probably also find your business on review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. That brings us to stressing the importance of review site management.

You think to respond to customers’ comments on your business’ Facebook post or your Instagram image, and responding to a customer’s review is no different. It lets them know that they are being heard. Whether it is a glowing review of your services or a negative review of your products, each and every review deserves a well thought out response.

Before you can start crafting a response to a review, you must claim your business page. Google Business, TripAdvisor and Yelp each have their own process, but once you create an account on each site and type in your business name, the steps to claiming your business are pretty straight forward.

Now let’s talk tackling reviews.

Good Reviews

Here are a few pointers for creating a response to positive reviews:

Thank the customer using information they provided.

“Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review for us. We thrilled to hear that you enjoyed our handmade pasta.”

Be sure to respond using the business name and any keywords that might be associated.

Using the business’ name and associated keywords will up the likelihood of this positive review showing up in someone’s search results.

Add a little marketing fluff.

This is the perfect place to add a little extra something about your business. Since anyone who checks your reviews out will be able to see this response, it just helps to spread the word. “Have you seen our new extended happy hour menu?”

Insert action.

Close your response with an invitation. Cultivate business relationships with your customers and ask them back. “We would love to have you join during our brunch hours! Hope to see you soon.”

Bad Reviews

Follow this guide to formulate a response for that pesky negative review:

Be understanding and apologize.

“We are so sorry to hear that your most recent experience with us was not up to our high standards.”

Add a little marketing fluff.

“We usually hear great things about our handmade pasta and we hate that it just wasn’t up to par during your visit.”

Keep it short and sweet.

Don’t get defensive and don’t ask questions. Unless there is a special circumstance, you’ll want to end the conversation there. Keeping it going might provoke more negative feedback from an unhappy customer.

Provide contact information.

Depending on the review, it can sometimes be good to leave your name, position and contact information for them to get in touch with you if they want to discuss the problem offline.

You’ll start seeing a pattern when checking into your review sites regularly. It is very rare for people to leave an “average” review. Most reviewers either believe that your service was outstanding or subpar. In most reviewers’ minds, their “average” experience doesn’t really need a review.

No one looks forward to a bad review just like no one gets excited about responding to one, but it is necessary. Always remember to keep a cool head when working up a response. Think about the review from the customer’s perspective. Maybe they were just having a no-good, very bad day and decided to take it out on you. Sometimes we’ll never know, but approaching it carefully is important.

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