Good or bad customer reviews, you have to do more than wait for them. You have to manage them — and here are six best practices for doing that.
The hope is that most of your reviews are sparkling. But even the honest, not-so-good reviews can help you grow business and keep customers satisfied.
Here’s why: More than 60% of customers look at online reviews before they decide to buy, researchers found. And bad reviews don’t necessarily hurt decisions to buy. Almost 70% of customers trust reviews more when they see a combination of good and bad feedback, a Reevoo study found.
You want to focus more on how well you manage all the reviews than on whether they’re good or bad. (Although, if you have all bad reviews, you likely have some work to do on your products, services and/or customer experience.)
1. Ask for them
Putting a “write a review” button on your website or product page is a start, but it’s not enough.
Build it into your customer service model. Send customers an email after they receive a product or experience a service, inviting them to write reviews. Give service pros who talk or interact online with customers the time to invite customers to write reviews.
Tell customers in email or in conversation, “We value your input and would like any feedback you can give. Please tell us about your experience.” Then give them a link.
2. Review reviews regularly
“Regularly” is practically all the time. Set up alerts so a customer service pro (or pros) know when a new review posts. Reviews need quick responses so customers know you want to stay engaged with them.
This allows you to stay on top of issues that should be resolved immediately. Plus, when you put up a response, it lets customers know that you’re listening when they speak.
3. Respond, regardless of the flavor
Whether they’re good, bad or ugly, you want to respond to reviews, if not immediately, eventually. If you don’t, customers will think you don’t care.
For negative reviews, apologize for the situation, inconvenience or frustration. Then offer to take the interaction to a more personal level — email or phone call. Handle it quickly. You might say, “Hello, Lou. I’m sorry about your poor experience. If you’re open to it, I’d like to work with you directly to get this resolved. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org to give us more feedback and allow me to make it up to you.”
For positive reviews, give a quick reply of thanks and a commitment to continue providing a positive experience. Don’t gloat after a great review. Your thank-you response is enough.
4. Monitor your mentions
Not all of your reviews will come directly to you. Some customers will just mention you in social media or other review platforms, and those comments or reviews can have an impact on your reputation.
You still want to respond to outside reviews, thanking customers for the positive mentions and offering to resolve issues in the negative mentions.
You can find many programs to track mentions of your products and company name across the major social platforms and review sites.
5. Be everywhere customers are
Dig a little deeper to find review sites other than the biggies, such as Yelp and Angie’s List.
There are industry-specific sites based on business categories. Also, ask trusted customers which review sites they commonly use to help you pinpoint others to monitor.
6. Use your reviews
The most important thing you can do with your reviews is use them to improve your business. If you ask for feedback, incorporate what customers say in your product, experience, marketing and sales plans.
Reviews often point to what’s working and what isn’t. Use that to incorporate ways to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.