Depending upon your point of view, online reviews may be the most wonderful thing that ever happened to your business or the worst thing that ever happened to your business. Chances are that your point of view could change with the content of a given review. Positive reviews tend to make businesses happy while negative ones leave them groaning. If this is your approach, now is the time to change that and take a new look at how all reviews should make you smile.
The Power of a Response
Most people have long believed that positive reviews can help a business while negative reviews can hurt it. While this is true, it is only part of the story. Negative reviews can actually help businesses if they are responded to appropriately.
Every review offers an opportunity to connect not only with that particular customer but with any customer or potential customer who sees it. It provides a means of letting people know how the business treats customers and handles difficult situations, which are a part of life.
Responding to Negative Reviews
Perhaps the number one cardinal rule of dealing with negative reviews is to not get defensive. If this happens, any response from you will come from a bad place and hurt you even more than the original review could. A good idea is to literally picture opportunity knocking on your door. That’s a negative review.
Depending upon the nature of the complaint, your response can include any of the following:
- An acknowledgement of the situation
- An apology
- An offer to rectify the situation
- Your thanks for being informed about a situation
Here’s a thought for you—you don’t have to agree with someone in order to tell them you are sorry that they were not happy!
Sometimes a reviewer can alert you to a problem that truly warrants your attention. You may have an employee who does not service your customers appropriately, for example. You cannot expect to know every issue with your business and leveraging the eyes and ears of your customers, quite frankly, makes good business sense.
Responding to Positive Reviews
If someone leaves a positive review, why do you need to reply? They’re happy, after all, so there’s nothing you need to do, right? Wrong. Consider this—a person has taken the time out of his or her day to stop what they are doing, go online and say something nice about your business. They did not have to do that. This action deserves your respect and appreciation and the way for you to show that is by replying to it.
Here’s another point to consider—an individual reviewer is not the only person that sees your response. When other people see that you took the time to thank someone for their kind words that raises your image to them. This actually applies to negative reviews as well.
Four Potential Scenarios
When you respond to a review, whether negative or positive, one of four things can happen as a result:
a) You can turn that person into a fan of yours.
b) You can turn other people into fans of yours.
c) Both of the above.
d) Neither of the above.
Clearly A, B and C are desired actions with obvious benefits for your business. As for D, if that happens, you may not have “won” anything but neither have you “lost” anything. Replying to reviews is one arena in your business world where the “what have you got to lose” approach makes sense.
Research shows that as many as 79% of consumers today view online reviews like personal recommendations. The power that these reviews bring to your business is worth its weight in gold—if you manage them appropriately.
Edward Kundahl, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Ed can be reached at (or visit his websites)
855-943-8736 ext. 101