90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, so you can’t afford to ignore what’s being said about your company on websites like Yelp, Facebook and Google. Responding to online reviews and comments is an important part of managing your reputation and persuading potential customers to call or visit you. But it isn’t always easy. To make sure your responses strike the right chord with online reviewers, follow this list of do’s and don’ts.
DO respond to reviews
When a review is positive, thank the writer and express your appreciation. If the review is negative, politely apologize for the poor experience and address the issue. In either case, try to establish a personal connection. Call the reviewer by name and reference details from the review to show you care.
DON’T be defensive
When faced with a negative review, your first instinct may be to defend yourself and your business. But arguing about the details of the review isn’t going to resolve anything. You may make yourself feel better by snapping back at the reviewer, but you might also lose a customer and turn off prospects as well.
DO take a breath
Take a few minutes to really think about what the person has said in a review — maybe even step away from the computer for a few minutes — and then formulate a polite response. You might even want to ask a business partner or trusted employee to read over what you’ve written before you hit the submit button.
DON’T wait too long to respond
Because sites like Yelp can immediately affect web and foot traffic, it’s important to make answering questions and addressing customer concerns a priority. Ideally, you should to set aside a few minutes per day to do this. If that’s not possible, try to read and respond to reviews at least once a week.
DO acknowledge criticism and apologize
Instead of jumping to defend yourself anytime you receive a less-than-stellar review, start by saying something like, “I’m sorry to hear that.” After acknowledging the issue and apologizing, you can offer an explanation or take responsibility for the slip-up and tell the reviewer what you’ll be doing to make it right.
DON’T lose your brand identity
The way you communicate with customers should be consistent, whether it’s on social media or Google, over the phone, or in person. So, bring the same voice, level of professionalism and other key brand attributes to your response and always stay true to your company’s values and identity.
DO offer to resolve the issue offline
There may be times when a negative review involves issues that may be more easily addressed over the phone. In those instances, ask the customer to send you a private message or email you with their contact information, so you can discuss the issue in detail and offer a more thorough explanation.
For more ways to maintain and maximize your online presence, contact your Safeguard consultant today.
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