As with feedback you receive, all reviews need to be read and may need a meaningful response. Whether this is a team which views them frequently, or as cross-functional ownership between marketing, support, customer success, etc. someone in your organization needs to own the review of your reviews. Doing this not only help you improve, but 78% of consumers say a management response to online reviews makes them believe that the business cares more about them.
When addressing a negative review, it is always important to thank the customer for taking the time to send their feedback to you. Use the customer’s name to give the response a human touch and don’t use a response as an opportunity to upsell or market. Respond to the concern directly and point to any corrective actions that can be taken. If the customer has misrepresented some fact or outcome, politely make the correction so that other readers won’t have the same misconception. If the case is very specific, do some research on any details the customer may not have listed or of which you may not be aware before you respond. This preparation will help make the response more meaningful. Finally, for all issues listed, apologize only for things for which you are accountable.
At the Walt Disney Company, they take these steps through what they call the HEARD method
Each of these steps is important and part of a conversation with the reviewer.
If the response needs to be handled in private, you should still make a quick and public comment.
“ Publicly ask your customers to contact you directly so that you can discuss the problem. Show them that you are willing to do all you can to rectify the problem. This will build your customers trust and often sets you apart from your competitors. Even if someone else comes across the review, it will be noted that you had tried to resolve the problem the
Not only should you show the customer your product or service is top quality, but give them the trust that if something goes go wrong, you are there to resolve the problem.
While every review should be read, not all require a response. If the commenter is being irrational or hyperbolic or writing in all caps, a well-reasoned response may not improve the situation, or could at worst exacerbate the negativity. These are frequently referred to as trolls: don’t feed them. They’re just trying to get a reaction, and aren’t a serious prospect or customer.
Poor reviews can break your business. Fortunately, if they are fake poor reviews, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage. Rose Leadem, writing for Entrepreneur, has identified how you should deal with fake reviews for the best possible outcome.
Fake reviews are more common than you think! 79% of consumers have seen a fake review in the last year, according to BrightLocal. The easiest long term strategy to deal with trolls and prevent them from tarnishing your brand is to ensure you have a constant stream of positive reviews coming in. The overall look of your review pages will be positive, and customers will be less likely to fall for the troll’s abuse.
Positive reviews make potential customers 68% more likely to trust a local business. To encourage positive reviews, it’s important to show gratitude to those who share. Use positive reviews as a chance to engage with your promoters and bring equal or more attention to the positivity over the negativity. Responding to positive reviews builds trust and loyalty. Loyal customers not only bring return business, but they also share their experiences with others, which can help your business thrive.
Start by thanking the customer. They could have easily not said anything, so making sure you show appreciation for their time is important. The thank you should be personalized to the message they wrote. By making it generic or templated, it loses the personal touch and makes the response sound robotic or automatic, rather than sincere. For example, instead of saying “Thanks for reviewing your meal” elaborate with “We’re glad you enjoyed the vegetarian lasagna, it is our owner’s favorite, so we can promise it’ll stay on the menu for next time!” The added specifics and inside details are more engaging to the customer and provides any reader with more context about what they might expect if they visit.
Sneakily, you can also help boost your own SEO through your responses. By mirroring their comments and including location and business name information, you can increase the number of keywords within that review and therefore make it more prevalent to a search engine. Reviews actually offer several benefits for SEO:
To take advantage of the SEO boost, make sure that your reviews are “crawlable” by search engines — meaning they can read them. This usually means they need to be in text form in the HTML of your site and not stored as images, or in some sort of weird flash embed. Most product review tools will handle this for you!
Sometimes customers will be more honest in their public reviews that they are when talking to you. As frustrating as that can be (“why didn’t you just tell us?!”), it still offers another opportunity to listen to customers and hear what they genuinely think about your company. Because the feedback from customers on review sites is so unfiltered, it can offer more insight than curated feedback from product conversations.
Getting the insights out of reviews and in the hands of the people that need it can be difficult though. If you offer many different products, or serve a lot of customers, you may have thousands of reviews to sort through. So how do you do it?
One of the easiest ways is to sift through reviews to find the most representative comments and present them to product and service teams. This should include both positive and negative comments. For example, if a customer takes the time to mention a specific agent in their review, make sure that gets passed along. If a specific feature gets mentioned, make sure the team responsible is told. There is no better feeling that hearing the work you did had a positive impact on the world. A few other ways to share feedback in reviews:
The one issue with cherry-picking reviews out of thousands is that people’s personal bias might shape which reviews are shared. Everyone has their pet projects, and even though they are trying to be objective, they are more naturally tuned to find statements from customers that agree with them. The only way to be truly objective is to let the machines do the work of analyzing what reviews are saying.
While the most authentic reviews are given when customers aren’t expecting anything in return, it’s still nice to take the time to appreciate customers for their time. By rewarding customers for coming back and sharing their experience, you encourage them to come back again in the future. Plus, half of Americans agree that customer appreciation is an important part of providing excellent customer service.
Thanking customers can be as easy as a quick note over email, or as delightful as personalized gifts and discount codes. Shopify offers six different ways to thank your customer, which can be adapted for your business model, budget and customer type:
Treating reviews like the valuable gift they are will make sure you respond appropriately to your customers. Not only have they identified themselves as your biggest fans, they’ve also helped you attract more customers. Thanking them is the right thing to do, and will keep them on your good side.