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There is nothing more beneficial for the development of your online business reputation than to seek ways to maximize your reviews and social media engagement. Businesses that smartly and strategically move forward with a review management strategy tend to see superior results, in terms of lead origination, from review sites such as Google, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Foursquare.

One of the most important elements of online reputation management is to engage your business with your customers, using careful, intentional, and customer-focused review responses. A response is a powerful tool that can significantly boost the way customers perceive your business, but if not handled properly, it can result in severe negative impact to your online and offline business reputation. Before you start cranking out responses consider these three common mistakes.

Lack of Research and Remedy

Embracing a rapid response strategy is not a free ticket to disregard specific customer concerns that have been escalated via a customer review. If someone has taken the time to escalate and voice dissatisfaction about your company, make it a point to dig deeper, fix the root problem, and if applicable, provide an appropriate remedy to the customer.

Rushing into conclusions or disregarding a valid escalation are terrible business practices which speak poorly to past, present, and future customers that depend on review sites to determine if they should pick your business over the local competition.

Defensiveness and Shifting Blame

Humility can go a long way when it comes to building your online reputation. The old adage, “The customer is always right”, is not a bad one to embrace when it comes to responding to online reviews.

Giving your reviewer the benefit of the doubt and refraining from impolite, aggressive, or inappropriate responses speaks volumes regarding the professionalism of your company. As much as possible, do not engage in “he said, she said” in defense of your staff. Finally, even when you have a reason to believe the customer is partially responsible for having had a less than perfect experience, do not point fingers. A well-crafted review response seeks to make amends, build bridges, and hints at a deep commitment to superior customer care to potential customers checking online reviews and their respective responses. 

Template-Based Responses

A template-based response is by no means sustainable and it can, in the long run, be more damaging than not responding at all.

By using a template you are telling the reviewer, as well as those using reviews to assess your business, that you do not see each customer as an individual worthy of your attention and personalized care.

Don’t do it. In addition to making your online profile in review sites look sloppy, it is also a bad SEO habit. A review response, when maximized, provides you with the perfect stage to incorporate traffic-generating keywords that highlight the best of your business offerings. (Learn more about writing SEO-friendly review responses that work.)

Finally, a template-based response does not allow you to connect with your customers at a personal level, and it has the potential to become a serious deterrent to customer loyalty. For the sake of your brand and your online brand reputation, do what is right and craft a response that best highlights your full potential.

Crystal Shuller

Crystal is the Director of Customer Happiness for ReviewTrackers. She's known around the office for E-mails that make everyone smile, and she has a bag of tricks and tips to help businesses solve their problems and delight their customers.

Discussion

  1. Ethan

    So, when responding to review I should read and write every response uniquely and even if the review is describing an event that did not took place at all? How can anyone respond calmly and not blame anyone for an untrue, bad review? I had a terrible review, and it turned out that the whole action described in the review did not happened at all. How should I response to that? Invite them to a free dinner, or maybe I praise them for honesty? I don’t think so. I responded like any other would, by providing evidence that the customer is a liar. Soon after that the negative review was taken off. That is the way to handle them. 🙂

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