Many entrepreneurs hardly react or do not react at all to online reviews. Perhaps because this task gets lost in the stressful daily business routine or because they don’t consider them important enough – a gross mistake. Because the right management of your reviews can have a big impact on your potential new customers.
This is why your reaction to reviews is so important
Surveys show that almost 90 percent of Internet users read reviews. For example, when they want to buy a product or use a service for the first time. This means that reviews – i.e. authentic experiences of real users – can be a great decision-making aid. Since so many potential new customers read reviews, you should respond to your reviews. This is because prospective customers not only read the experiences of other customers, but also pay attention to how you respond to reviews.
But unfortunately, many companies have not yet recognised the potential of reviews and hardly take care of their review profiles. Yet good review management can help you win new customers. It also increases the visibility of your website in search engines, for example, if you maintain your Google reviews in particular.
Why you should respond to all customer reviews
The more reviews you respond to, the higher you will rank on Google. Also, don’t forget that Google sends the review writer a short message when you reply to their review. So it’s a good opportunity to get in touch with your customers and deepen your relationship with them. Because your customers also expect you to respond to reviews, as surveys show – and preferably within 24 hours.
If you respond to every review as a matter of principle, you show your prospects that you are open to a constructive exchange. This will leave a positive first impression on your prospects as well as strengthen your image and brand. And your current review management is also likely to have an impact on future reviews: a study by the Harvard Business School found that by consistently responding to your reviews, you can improve your overall rating in the long run.
Here’s how to respond to different reviews
As already mentioned, you should respond to every review – but ideally without using the same phrases over and over again. After all, this is neither beneficial for your prospects nor for the search engine algorithm – and thus for your ranking on Google. Here are a few basic rules of thumb for your review management at a glance:
Many companies do not react at all to positive reviews. Perhaps because they don’t know how to respond. But the solution is obvious: thank your customer for the positive review, which may bring you new customers! After all, your customer took the time to write it and you benefit from it! So he really deserves a little thank you.
In addition, you could encourage your reviewer to come back to you if they have the same problem that you can solve with your product. But be careful not to be too effusive and verbose in your response, but keep your comment deliberately short.
No matter how good you are: Negative reviews are part of everyday business life. It is impossible to satisfy every customer. Therefore, as a first step, try not to take the review personally. Thank them and apologise for the negative customer experience, even if you resist it inside. After all, the negative criticism gives you the chance to improve your product.
Offer your customer a quick, unbureaucratic solution to solve their problem. Because if that works, you can later ask him to change the review or even delete it completely. It is also very important that you never start a discussion in public, but rather move the process of finding a solution to a private chat.
An additional tip: If you are just starting to answer all customer reviews, it is best to start with the negative ones. Because the sooner you respond to negative feedback, the quicker you may be able to solve the problem at hand. You will also shorten the amount of time that prospects can see your unanswered negative reviews.
Perhaps even more important than very positive or very negative reviews are the neutral three-star ratings. This is because your prospective customers also know that it is usually these reviews that contain objective and constructive criticism, as they highlight both the advantages and disadvantages of your product.
Therefore, you should respond to these reviews in particular detail and, on the one hand, thank them for the positive criticism and, on the other hand, offer an uncomplicated solution to the problem mentioned. Again, you should refer to a non-public channel such as a mail address or a telephone number to find a solution.
Recognise the threat of escalation – before it is too late
Do you have that one customer who keeps complaining about you on social media and various review portals and has now written another bad review? In this particular case, you should think about maybe not responding to the review publicly at all.
Because every additional word they post can then contribute to the public escalation of an already tense situation. In these cases, it is best to pick up the phone and talk to the customer in person. In particularly difficult cases, you also have the option of having the review deleted – if necessary, with the help of a lawyer.
Conclusion: Respond to your reviews!
No matter whether you are praised or criticised in the reviews: Every review can help you improve your service or bring out the positive aspects of your product even more. Therefore, with a few exceptions, you should always respond to reviews and thank the authors for their time – and in the best case, always with an individual text.
Don’t forget: everyone makes mistakes sometimes – and admitting this publicly and apologising for a negative customer experience shows strength and humanity. Your prospects will appreciate that!