According to Forrester, socially engaged customers generally have the highest levels of conversion and sustained loyalty. When it comes to online customer reviews, this correlation becomes even stronger, since the customer has a nearly 100 percent possibility of having tried the product or service (malicious reviews aside). This simple fact should strongly incentivize you to prioritize the speed, effectiveness and quality of your responses to reviews.
Establishing a rapid response strategy is a high priority for all businesses, from small local brick-and-mortar shops to globally engaged enterprises. An online review is an open and time-sensitive invitation from a valuable customer, and it should be taken with seriousness and gratitude. In the era of immediate gratification, and in light of the “have it now” generation, proactively taking care of online reviews across all review platforms (like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Foursquare, and Citysearch) simply makes sense.
How quickly should you respond?
Generally speaking, reviews should be dealt with in a similar fashion to customer escalations received by a company via its customer care channel. For most organizations, the standard response time is no longer than twenty-four hours in queue.
(Check out: “MORE Tips for Managing and Responding to Online Reviews”)
As a rule of thumb, responses should be prioritized, tackling negative reviews first, with a laser focus on issues that can still be remedied. For example, in the case of hotels and lodging, you may want to confirm if the guest is still checked in. Prioritizing negative reviews does not mean completely abandoning positive reviews, because your positive reviewer is a loyal customer in the making. Take your time to provide a thoughtful and engaging response to positive reviews, and ensure that your response is maximized as an opportunity to highlight the features and services that make your product special. Your customer will feel valued, and as a secondary benefit, your search engine performance will get a boost.
How to know if someone has reviewed your business
Almost every single day, a new website for online reviews makes its appearance on the Web. Manually conducting searches can be labor-intensive and incredibly frustrating, since crawlers may not have picked up some reviews. The key to implementing a sound rapid response strategy for your online review rests in centralizing and automating the way your company discovers new online reviews.
By implementing the right review monitoring and reputation management tools, you can save significant amounts of time. You can also have the confidence that reviews on the most important and highest traffic-generating review sites are not being neglected or overlooked. For those who are currently conducting daily manual review website audits, sign up for a free demo of ReviewTrackers, our software platform for tracking, analyzing, and generating reviews, and discover why our clients love us.
How to respond to reviews
One of the most important aspects of establishing a functional rapid response strategy is to ensure that the quality of the responses and brand voice are carefully guarded. In addition to quality in content, there must also be quality and expertise in process and customer remedy or resolution. The person in charge of engagement and responses in review websites must possess the following characteristics:
- Brand empowerment
- Clear understanding of escalation and delegation channels
- Full grasp of products and services
- Excellent, compassionate and customer-focused communication skills.
- Superior grammar
By tasking only one or two individuals with rapid response strategy and customer resolution, a business diminishes the risk of reviews falling through the cracks and consequently triggering ever-increasing negative buzz and online brand blemishes. Additionally, these individuals are able to see and document trends of relevance to the business that, in turn, can be used toward overall process and product improvement.
Rapid response strategy works when you combine the right people with the right tools and the right level of commitment. Once implemented, it will not take long to see the results in customer loyalty, increased leads and increased revenues.