Responding to online customer reviews is one of the most effective ways to learn from – and build goodwill with – your customers. Keep in mind, though, that responding is a task that should be approached with utmost care. Sometimes your best intentions can come across in a not-so-good way, and your innocent attempts to resolve a situation only leads to the situation getting much worse.
Whatever your customers may have said, written, blogged, or tweeted about your business or your brand, it’s important to remember that the Internet is (as the Facebook movie counseled) written in ink, not in pencil. So it’s best not to react disproportionately to seemingly hateful comments, or respond with your temper in sizzling temperatures.
When you’re managing your reviews and creating a response to your customers, always keep in mind that:
- The people who write reviews (good or bad) of your business are paying customers – and thus potentially your most effective word-of-mouth advocates
- These people write reviews based on the individual experience they had with your brand or business, and that they all have different feelings, expectations, and sensitivities
Don’t ignore potentially damaging reviews. Fair or not, a bad review can significantly impact your business. It can damage your online reputation and prevent future customers from walking through your door. So whenever you come across one, make sure you respond promptly and politely – and figure out what you can do to change the reviewer’s mind for the better.
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Problem too big for you to handle? Sometimes the problem is simply not for you to solve. Hostile, defamatory comments may sometimes need a different level of manager, so don’t hesitate to escalate to the person who has the ability and authority to respond. If, say, you can’t respond in your position as a customer service officer or social media manager, check out if an executive officer or the actual business owner can help.
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Create a system. If your business has multiple locations, you’ll probably need to assign more than one person to the task of responding to customer reviews. In which case, you’ll have to implement some sort of system or customer service desk software that’ll allow you to enhance the efficiency of these responses. We recommend Zendesk, Desk.com, and UserVoice, which can be integrated with the Review Trackers platform.)
Respond quickly, but don’t rush. Your decision to respond to a comment or customer review obliges you to invest time and effort in articulating a well-worded response. So free up an hour or two and dedicate it exclusively to review tracking and management. Trust us: your customers will appreciate knowing you have a brand or business that truly cares about them and listens to what they have to say.
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