Word of mouth reviews used to be the go-to for recommendations of a company or product. Now, online reviews are becoming a user’s trusted source for information about stores, restaurants, hotels and other businesses. A study shows that 88% of consumers view online reviews as reliable as personal recommendations. Monitoring and responding to reviews is just as important as the reviews themselves. Here are some tips to make the most out of your online reviews:
Respond to Positive and Negative
The best review responses are thought out and properly handle the problem or situation. The worst thing that a business can do is not respond at all to negative reviews. In fact, a study show that completely ignoring a negative review is even worse than responding the wrong way. Negative reviews are usually given the highest priority in responses, but it is also important to respond to positive reviews. Consumers need to know that you appreciate them and the time they took to share a positive experience they have had with your business. This can help lead to a more devoted and loyal customer base. These reviews can also be used as informal references for future prospective customers.
Don’t Alter or Delete Reviews
It is important that a negative review is acknowledged and responded to, rather than edited or deleted. A deleted negative review can lead to distrust to the customer that left the review. A properly responded to review can be turned positive with a well thought out response that effectively attempts to fix the situation. Likewise, do not post fake reviews in an attempt to boost overall review ratings. Yelp has made strides to find and punish businesses that are paying third parties to leave positive reviews. Misusing review sites could lead to suspended or deleted listings.
Use Reviews as Analytics Tools
Reviews are a great way to analyze effectiveness by business location. A company can see what locations are doing a great job meeting customer need with good service. This can also be used to track locations with less favorable reviews and address the problems that could be leading to negative customer experiences. Total review ratings can be used as a benchmark for improvement on a quarterly or yearly basis. Increased positive reviews can be indicative of better overall customer service.
Add a Personal Touch
It may seem quick and easy to have the same response to every review, but the lack of a personable response can hurt a business. Experiences that warrant negative reviews usually detail specific circumstances. It is important to respond to each concern in a unique and positive way that shows you truly care about the situation. This shows that you actually read all of the review and appreciate any recommendations. Pre-formatted responses can show a lack of concern and are not effective in answering any specific questions.