Best Practices for Responding to Reviews
Your response to online reviews can be as impactful as the reviews themselves. Make sure you understand how to respond to positive and negative reviews correctly.
They say in some online communities that you should never read the comments or sneak a peek at the negative reviews. Luckily for businesses, consumers do find value in leaving comments and detailing how their experience went because studies show that 85% of their friends find reviews just as powerful an influence over their purchasing behavior as a personal recommendation.
Studies show that 85% of their friends find reviews just as powerful an influence over their purchasing behavior as a personal recommendation.
How powerful is this influence over purchasing power? Positive reviews can cause 93% of consumers to make a purchase. Surprisingly, studies show that even negative reviews can help your brand, as a well-rounded mixture is considered by 72% of consumers to be a strong indicator of a more credible product.
Not only is there value in the reviews themselves, but with the right approach and tone, businesses can turn these responses into extremely powerful reputation management drivers for site traffic and inbound marketing leads. Let’s explore several of the major platforms customers use to leave reviews and talk about best practices for review management and interacting with those reviews.
The Major Platforms
We can’t possibly cover every single online B2B reviews site in a single post—every industry has a significant number of industry-specific sites that would take days to research and go over. There are, however, key sites that are crucial to making your presence known throughout your customer base and attracting potential new customers.
Google My Business
In order to get the most out of Google My Business reviews, it’s important that you first claim ownership of your organization. There are several steps for authentication, and you should take the time to complete your Business Profile. Once you’ve properly set up and claimed your account, you can interact with existing reviews with ease through the Google My Business dashboard.
As an added benefit, claiming your Google My Business profile will allow you to control your appearance in Google search results. More and more consumers are consulting local search results before making purchase decisions, so it’s important to control how your business appears in the local pack and Google Maps searches. Be sure to complete your profile with up-to-date business information, photos, and any other content you think your local customers will find useful.
Here’s another situation where you want to do the groundwork and claim your free digital space. Once you’ve claimed your pages across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social networks, you’ll find a very similar process of interacting with your audience there.
Social media will provide you much more opportunity to interact with customers directly in real-time and engage them about their experiences. As the platform creates a sense of immediate gratification for customers, you’ll want to look into deploying a chatbot in some form to engage with customers and schedule follow-up calls with your team, which will give the impression of quick and attentive staff while allowing you to save on labor.
The Yelp platform is widely used for reviews in certain industries, and regardless of the marketplace you’re in, it’s an important platform for you to claim your business on in order to protect your brand integrity. Their platform does include training for business owners on how best to respond to both negative and positive Yelp reviews, making it easier to navigate and engage effectively across the site.
The Right Approach to Responding to Online Reviews
A consistent strategy for responding to online reviews should play a critical role in your ongoing reputation management efforts. Your approach will be determined by the intent of the reviewer. In all cases, though, your dialogue should include relevant and targeted keywords to help search engines latch on to these intentional customer interactions.
A consistent strategy for responding to online reviews should play a critical role in your ongoing reputation management efforts.
Responding to Negative Reviews
In this age of social media and viral content, a single, justified negative review can cost businesses their online reputation and cause losses on an exponential scale. While such criticism can’t be deleted, its impact can be mitigated, and with skill and intent, the disappointed consumer who left it could even be turned into a future brand advocate.
In order to defuse and recover customer goodwill, it’s necessary to acknowledge the incident or issue mentioned in the review and to clearly and directly apologize for their negative experience. If necessary or appropriate, provide a brief explanation without justifying or diverting blame, but remember to keep it short and sweet. Offer compensation or explore solutions, but never allow the discussion to devolve or take a negative turn in a public platform; always invite discussion offline.
Responding to Positive Reviews
Across all of these sites, when responding to positive online reviews you’ll want to make sure you use their name and reference not only the product or service they’ve mentioned but also other similar products or services you offer. Thank them profusely and sincerely and ethically invite them to leave feedback on these sites as a part of your sales and follow-up process in the future.
Why It’s Important to Respond to Reviews
Now that we know how to properly respond to most of the types of reviews your brand will receive online, we should take a moment and talk about why we’re going through all of the trouble of doing so.
Grow Your Credibility
By actively engaging with your customers, you’re building brand loyalty and showing your brand to be both credible and trusted to care about customer feedback. This in turn shows potential customers what the experience of being your client can be, helping to build new business.
Confirmed Improvement on Your Local SEO
In 2018, the Moz platform posted the 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors, a study of variables that impact a website’s search engine ranking along with several categories, one being localized organic ranking. It was found that review signals—quantity, velocity, diversity, and other related factors—comprised about 6.5% of the overall local SEO ranking of a site.
[A 2018 Moz study] was found that review signals—quantity, velocity, diversity, and other related factors—comprised about 6.5% of the overall local SEO ranking of a site.
Control the Narrative, Control Your Future Success
By taking control of and helping to guide the narrative of reviews online, you’ll be able to head off the negative impact bad reviews can have while boosting the messaging of key positive reviews from your happy customers. Controlling the narrative helps to maintain a positive overall perception.
Creating Relationships That Lead to Positive Reviews
Whether you offer products and services to the general public or strictly operate as a B2B provider, you’ll need to learn to navigate the finer points of managing your reviews, both positive and negative. UpCity can help you create a strategy for not only managing your existing review landscape but also how to create a steady stream of positive reviews from satisfied customers. Contact UpCity today to learn more about online reputation management and other brand credibility building strategies.