RESPONDING TO REVIEWS 101
No matter what industry you’re in, online reviews can directly impact your business. Positive customer reviews can amplify your marketing efforts; but all of the marketing dollars in the world may not be enough to overcome a negative online presence.
The only space on the internet where you can maintain 100% control is your own website. Everywhere else is a collaborative effort between you, the online platform (Google, Facebook, Tripadvisor, etc.) and the public. Even though you can’t entirely control what happens in those public spaces, there are things you can do to influence the conversation. One of them is responding to reviews.
Why Respond to Reviews?
When a client is doing pre-buying research, he or she will typically check reviews online. They will read all about your past customers’ experiences. Do you want the only word out there to be from random customers who have written online reviews? Or do you want to have a say in what prospective customers are hearing about you? A genuine response from you, gives clients a feel for the people they will be dealing with, if they decide to do business with your company.
- Thoughtful responses help customers get to know you. Customers hear your “voice” in the genuine words you write.
- Responding in a timely and personal way is an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.
- Google likes it when business owners respond. (They like more positive reviews, too.)
Real Life Examples:
Real Life Example #1: Auto Repair Shop – Negative to Positive
Responding to reviews is beneficial in cases like this one from an Auto Repair client. He subscribes to PISTN’s Review Response service, so we watched this whole situation play out.
An angry auto repair customer, frustrated that his car repair was more expensive than he thought it should be, posted a negative review on Google. We read the review and contacted the business owner right away. He was surprised because the customer’s car hadn’t even been picked up yet. He called the customer immediately and provided a more thorough explanation about the repairs that were needed. The customer was impressed by the personal response and satisfied with the explanation, so he changed his review to a positive one.
Real Life Example #2: Local Restaurant – Mistaken Location
A customer posted a negative review of a local restaurant that is part of a small chain of restaurants with a handful of locations nearby. We immediately notified the owner. He looked up the customer’s name and other details in his point of sale system and discovered that this customer had not visited his location. Further inquiries revealed that the customer had visited a nearby location instead and arrangements were made to resolve the customer service issues with that other location.
In both of these cases, a timely response to the negative review made all the difference.
If you are not currently monitoring and responding to reviews, it may be worth considering. If you’re wondering how to do this efficiently, we have a few tips for you below.
But First, Let’s Focus on Google for a Moment
Google is not the only review platform, but since Google drives more than 80% of all search traffic, it is wise to work well with their systems.
In our observations, it seems that Google gives priority to businesses that have more reviews—specifically more positive reviews. They also give priority to businesses that respond to reviews.
So it may help your search rankings to pay attention to reviews, and it also goes a long way to build confidence with current and prospective customers. Two good reasons to make time for this important part of your marketing plan.
How Do I Get Started?
- Determine - Which are the main sites your customers go to for reviews? It may be sites like Google, Facebook, or TripAdvisor, etc.
- Download - Make sure you have the Business Manager Apps for these sites downloaded to your phone (Google My Business, Pages Manager, etc.)
- Monitor - You’ll receive instant notifications whenever a client leaves you a review.
- Respond - When you get notified of a new review, you can open the app and respond instantly right there in your phone.
PISTN Tips for Review Response
The Faster the Better
The more quickly you respond to a review, especially a negative review, the fresher the incident is and the more likely that it can be resolved and possibly turned around.
When writing responses to reviews, be yourself. Let your personality shine through. As long as your response is courteous, positive and sympathetic, your customers will appreciate your candidness.
Respond to every single review, positive or negative. The customer will get a notification of your response. You have their attention; why not use the chance to strengthen your connection to that customer?
Ask for Help
If all this is new to you and you need some coaching, please feel free to contact us. Or, if you know you need to be responding to reviews but it’s just one more thing you don’t have time for, we can do it for you. We have a “Review Response” program. Call us for details.