The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make Responding to Customer Reviews
Like it or not, reviews matter.
Research shows 91 percent of people read online reviews regularlyor occasionally, with 84 percent trusting them as much as personal recommendations.
Furthermore, 90 percent of consumers decidewhether they can trust a business or not after reading 10 reviews. Surprisingly, 32 percent will have an opinion on a company, product or service after checking out one to three reviews.
Enough bad reviews can leave future customers reluctant to choose your brand over others and impact your reputation in the long run. Fortunately, you have the power to respond to reviews and interact with customers, addressing problems or questions for effective damage control.
But you have to be careful when doing this — making mistakes could exacerbate issues and harm your reputation.
Here are some of the most important errors to avoid when responding to reviews.
Top Mistakes to Avoid when Responding to Reviews
Becoming Angry and Blaming the Customer
Responding to online reviews is a little different to interacting with an unsatisfied customer face to face.
For example, if you run a restaurant and an unsatisfied diner approaches you to complain about their undercooked pizza, you can take them to a quiet corner to discuss the situation. Perhaps you offer to refund them. Maybe you give them a dessert on the house. Or both.
If the conversation becomes heated, you can at least invite the diner into your office for a private chat. Fellow diners may or may not hear you resolve the situation, but the important thing is ensuring the unhappy customer leaves satisfied.
When you face a scathing review online, you need to remain just as professional and eager to please. Yes, it’s easier to see the customer as a faceless person and type without thinking but doing so could put others off your business for good.
Acknowledge any mistakes yourself or employees may have made and apologize. Never try to put the blame on the reviewer.
If they really were responsible for a problem, though, explain how you tried to resolve the situation in a calm, clear way.
Ignoring Criticism Altogether
Never, evertry to sweep negative points in a review under the metaphorical carpet.
If you do, the customer and other readers will see what you’re doing immediately. When someone criticizes your products, services, staff or premises, meet them head-on. Ask for more clarification if their initial review is vague or thank them for drawing your attention to a flaw you were perhaps unaware of.
Ignoring bad comments or entirely-negative reviews will only make you appear unprofessional. Learn from valid criticisms and explore opportunities to improve your business.
Relying on Generic Responses
Generic responses to reviews can be infuriating, especially when the writer has asked a question or raised valid issues.
Responding with a simple ‘thank you for your feedback’ when a customer has published a long, well-written review featuring numerous points that deserve to be addressed is lazy. It implies you don’t value your buyers’ views and that your company is unwilling to make time for them.
Be specific with every response (or as many as you can), whether the review is good or bad. Thank the writer for taking the time to praise or criticize. Explain that you will take recommendations on board and make necessary changes. Use the reviewer’s name to make them feel acknowledged and valued too.
Not Offering Contact Information for Further Interaction
When a customer leaves negative feedback, you may feel further discussion is needed to handle the problem with the utmost professionalism.
There are multiple benefits to taking the conversation off-site:
You may be unable to deal with all negative reviews in this way (depending on the size of your customer service team) but doing whenever you can shows your brand in a better light. Always appear to be helpful and committed to keeping your audience happy.
Giving Rewards in Exchange for Positive Feedback
While it may be tempting to offer customers a little gift in exchange for a positive review, it’s always best to avoid this.
For one thing, this violates some review sites’ rules and could damage your reputation if consumers are made aware of your underhanded tactics. They may wonder how bad your products or services are if you have to actually bribe people into leaving good reviews.
Furthermore, offering rewards for positive feedback means you won’t get an honest insight into your customers’ experience. You couldn’t ‘pay off’ everyone if you consistently deliver bad service, and negative feedback will inevitably surface.
The reverse of this is punishing customers who leave unfavorable reviews. One hotel in New York was found to be essentially fining guests who chose to write negative feedback$500, and promising to give the money back if said feedback was removed.
The fee was part of a deposit paid by couples booking the venue for their wedding and applied to reviews left by any member of the party.
Don’t make this mistake. Take time to read and digest as many reviews as possible, whether they’re positive, negative or neutral. Be willing to recognize bad habits and mistakes. Take action to fix problems and show customers how much you value their input.
Honest feedback that gives a true representation of your products or services will only help your brand improve.
Avoid making any of these mistakes when responding to customer reviews. Otherwise, you risk making existing issues worse and chasing more prospects away from your business in the future.
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