• Reputation Management: Why and How You Should Respond to Online Reviews

    Alexander Pettus  •  June 12, 2017

Monitoring and responding to comments and reviews online can seem like a big task, but it is a vital part of a healthy online reputation and relationship with your customers. Just like any customer interaction, reviews are an opportunity to create connections, build relationships and to learn from their comments and/or concerns. Most customers read more than one review of a business, and providing a well-thought and sincere response can improve your standing with customers. Regular and prompt responses show customers that you care about their preception of your business. However, in this age of faceless contact and emojis, even the best of intentions can come across poorly without the ability to communicate in person. With 77% of consumers reading online reviews before making a purchase, review management is becoming a vital role in protecting your business's reputation.

When deciding best how to respond to a review, be it positive or negative, there are a few things you should always keep in mind:

  • Never make your response a personal matter. Don’t insult or instigate the customer by becoming defensive.
  • All responses should be written in the same manner as any other content you post to social media or your website: useful, readable, and courteous.
  • A review response isn’t the place for a sales pitch, but can be a place for sharing new information about your business or anything else a customer may have not learned from a previous business.

Responding to Negative Reviews

No one likes to receive negative feedback or critiques of their business, but negative reviews happen to everyone. When responding to criticism online, try to remember these tips before you reply:

Never respond when you're upset. These reviews are easy to take as personal attacks as a business owner, but its imperative that you stay calm or give yourself some time before you respond. Always reply with the same politeness and professionalism you would expect to receive from another business, and stay focused on the issue at hand. You may choose to reply through a direct message, but this rule still applies. Many businesses have seen embarrassing or volatile “private” conversations go viral after being shared by an upset customer, and this only serves to hurt your brand reputation. Decide if the negative review is even worth responding to. If the concerns raised are irrational or are given by someone who could be called a habitual complainer, you have the option to not respond. However, any legitimate concerns by genuine or high-profile customers or negative reviews on popular sites should be addressed.

In some scenarios, you can request to have negative reviews removed from the site, however, this may take some time and your petition may be dismissed by the website administrators. Instead, think about the complaint, and try to understand what happened from the customers point of view. Take this as an opportunity to improve your business and engage with your customer base, and make sure you cover all your bases. Once you have spoken with staff or employees who were on duty, contact the customer privately. Following a few common courtesy items (such as introducing yourself, thanking them for their business, feedback, and apologizing for their experience not being satisfactory), make sure to clearly outline your understanding of the issue and move on from there. Many businesses opt to offer a discount or some other compensation for poor experiences, but this is not a necessity.  

If the person doesn’t respond or takes some time to respond to a private outreach, still go ahead and respond publicly. Address the concern in this response and outline what you have done to resolve the issue. Other readers will see you are responsive to even negative feedback and this should boost your credibility.

Responding to Positive Reviews

On to the good stuff. Positive reviews are what every business owner is searching for from their online presence. They are validation of good work and physical proof you’re meeting your customer’s needs. Don’t take these lightly though! A good response to a positive review is just as important as responding to negative reviews. This is a chance to not only show off your businesses value, but to show your customers how dedicated you are to good customer service and engagement.

Make sure to not devalue your response by turning it into a sales pitch. Thank your reviewer sincerely, not just for leaving positive review but for their business. Reinforce the positive comment left, acknowledge any concerns or issues they may have raised, and welcome them back to your business.

You can even encourage more reviews by asking each customer if they’re pleased with your business and/or experience, and if so, would they leave a review online. Spread the word of your positive customer reviews by using them in sales proposals, highlight them on your website, display them in your business, and so on. Remember to share them with staff, even if no one is specifically mentioned as it can boost morale and remind staff of the impact they have on customers and their experiences.

Is your website built to perform?

Find out if low visibility online is impacting your business with a FREE Digital Marketing Analysis.

Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Please let us know your name.
Please let us know your email address.
Invalid Input
Subscribe to our blog for helpful golf marketing tips and industry updates.
Please let us know your email address.