What customers say about your business matters more than ever. But how do you turn positive feedback into five-star online reviews?
Determining what customer interactions should be public and when a private conversation is best is a key factor in successfully navigating online reviews, marketing experts say.
While internet reviews can be unpredictable, they are a necessary part of doing business. The most successful companies use reviews to publicly showcase heartfelt customer accolades in a way that wasn’t possible before the internet.
When customers send complimentary emails, business owners should follow up by asking them to take their praise public and encourage them to write an online review, said Connie Parrett, a real estate agent with the Parrett Group in Grove City, Ohio. The real estate agency has found that good reviews lead to new clients, she said.
More than half of online shoppers will visit a website after reading positive reviews and more than two-thirds of consumers say positive reviews make them trust local businesses more, according to a BrightLocal survey.
If customers follow through by posting a glowing review, business owners should take the time to post an personal response for the writer and other online shoppers to see, said Nathan Arnold, marketing manager at Velvet Ice Cream.
Avoid offering a cookie-cutter response to good reviews, added Shelli Welch, president of the American Marketing Association Columbus. Responding the same way waters down the effectiveness of your replies, she explained. Instead, try to respond to the customer’s specific compliment or find a way to personalize your remarks.
But when someone posts a complaint or negative review about the business, the best response is usually to go online and ask them to send you a private message or email. Welch recommends using wording or phrases that would have a calming effect. Consider apologizing to the customer because they were unhappy with the service or thanking them for bringing something to your attention, she said.
It’s important to respond publicly to online reviews because would-be customers are watching to see how your business reacts—but it’s not necessary to resolve the issue online, said Welch, who is the director of operations at Portfolio Creative, a recruiting and staffing agency.
“It shows you care. That you are willing to do what you need to do to make your customers happy,” she said. “It shows you care about having a good reputation.”