Responding to both good and bad online reviews is something every business should be doing.
If your online presence is only found in a couple of places then it can be easy to monitor those on a daily basis. If you are on more then 2 (Google, Facebook, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Anyreviewsite.com) then you may want to use software that can pull these all in for you.
Responding to good reviews is a joy and welcome task for any business owner or marketing professional.
When customers comment on how well you and your staff are doing it is something to share with everyone.
But when it comes to bad reviews....
This is where the work starts, it could be damage control, information guidance, or a simple refund.
You need to be responding to negative reviews or the negative review will hold more weight in the eyes of the reader.
Here are some professional ways to respond to negative online reviews
Don't confuse this with admitting guilt or being at fault. Apologize to the customer that the situation lead them to leaving a bad review.
"I'm/We're sorry to hear that you were not satisfied with our service"
Showing that you yourself would not want to feel this way helps create a connection between you and the customer.
"I/We would not want to feel like this after eating out as well"
3. Take The Conversation Away From The Review Site
While you need to respond on the actual review site be sure to give options on continuing the conversation elsewhere.
Having a designated email or staff member who these customers can be directed to will help in addressing the situation.
"...we would like to get this resolved. The manager who will help you can be reached at email@example.com or you can call us direct at 000-000-0000 during business hours."
Important! Make sure the email does not include your business name to avoid the review pulling up in search results. Make a free one on Google if you have to.
4. Plug Your Reputation
If you take your online reputation seriously then you probably have a good one to begin with. Don't be afraid to plug your reputation.
"We are proud of our 4.5 star reputation and take your review very seriously, lets work together to get things back on track."
5. Stay Incognito
Reviews show up in search engine results. Don't include anything in your response that could lead to someone searching and pulling up a bad review.
Avoid using your business name, product selection, or common search terms.
Instead of saying
"Chinese Garden is proud of our 4.5 stars that customer give us for our Chinese Food in Downtown Honolulu. Lets work together to get the Best Lunch place back on track"
"We are proud of our 4.5 stars that customers give us for our service. Please contact our manager at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help you further.
6. Explain The Situation
Nobody wants to hear an excuse but we are all human and understand situations can sometime be outside of our control.
Was there a parade that took up all the street parking? Power outage for several hours? Strike at the dock that held up deliveries?
Many times customer are unaware of what you may be faced with during a certain period. Let them know, you will be surprised at how understanding some people can be.
"We are totally bummed that we did not have the item in stock as promised! That tractor trailer accident near the docks totally messed us up. Did you see it in the news? (article link). Even though it was beyond our control we still want to make this right. Give us call at 000-000-0000 and we will help you personally."
7. Ask For The Opportunity To Earn Their Business Back
They went to your business for a reason and in fact they probably went because of the reviews they saw online.
Something happened and the milk has been spilt.
You know they are a potential customer and now you have the opportunity to turn things around.
Offer to meet them personally or schedule when the owner or senior management is available.
You can turn a dissatisfied customer into a lifelong loyal one by showing you care.
8. Don't Wait To Respond
You should be monitoring your reviews daily, an unanswered review is not something you want hanging around.
Everyone wants to respond to positive reviews but its the negative reviews that should get the response first.
If you have reviews on several different platforms and time is tight consider using a tool. This monitors all your reviews, pull them into one dashboard so you can respond quickly and professionally. Create templates and much more.
9. Thank Them!
Imagine something is not right in your business and its losing you money everyday.
Every single customer knows about it, they hate it, it drives them to your competition. Even your competitor knows about it.
In fact, its an easy fix, simple, 1-2 punch and done, one phone call.
But you don't know about it...if only someone told you.
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