Even though the internet hasn’t been around for that long, it has fast become our most powerful marketing tool in business. Potential customers searching for your product or service will simply google it, and if you’re smart your business will show up on the first page.
But here’s the thing. Most companies are not too smart when it comes to managing online feedback. You may have a marketing person/department that proudly creates regular posts on your company’s Facebook page, or keeps your visibility high on Google, but the minute feedback is received; positive or negative, do they know how to manage it? Or is it ignored?
If you received a complaint from an aggrieved customer by telephone or in person, would you do everything you could to manage and resolve the issue to your customer’s satisfaction?
Or would you ignore your valuable customer, causing them to feel unappreciated and unacknowledged, and reinforcing their resentment? Of course you wouldn’t!
That is what’s happening every day online!
Google any business and have a look at their reviews. How many responses from the business can you see? Have they responded to each one, or only the positive?
Have a look at the business’s Facebook page. Can you see many of the comments or posts by others responded to? Is it even possible for a customer to post on their page? Sadly, this option is often disabled as businesses are afraid of negative publicity, preferring to control what their visitors see.
Here’s the thing with online reviews. Unlike direct feedback to your business, they’re transparent. Everybody can see them.
Your reviews will show up online to the whole world for eternity, acting either as a mark of your excellent service…or your wall of shame. Your online reviews are the equivalent of every single one of the feedback emails you have ever received, wallpapered all over the front window of your business.
It’s vital to your reputation that you know how to effectively manage your online reviews. Reputation can take years to build and be lost in a matter of minutes.
Here are 7 of my top tips in effectively managing your online reviews:
1. Thank them: Genuinely thank your customer for their feedback. Positive or negative. Negative comments often provide valuable feedback and can serve to point out flaws in your company – that you can easily fix. And you’re showing that you encourage feedback to ensure your product or service, and customer service, is of top quality.
2. Understand their motives: If you have received a negative review, know that that customer may actually care. Of course there is always the small element of internet trolls, but most genuine customers wouldn’t waste their time complaining if they didn’t care about continuing to do business with you, they would just move on.
3. Validate their viewpoint: Show genuine concern by validating their viewpoint. Believe it or not, that was their The reality is you could be right and they could be wrong, but always make them feel right for feeling the way they do.
4. Don’t be defensive: You could be fueling the fire big time with any response that appears to be making excuses, defending your employee’s actions or justifying. Aggrieved customers don’t want to hear excuses, they just want to know that you care about them.
5. Personalise your response to each review: Too often we see standard responses give to every review, as if they were computer generated. The perception here is that the company doesn’t really care at all.
6. Offer your name: Add your name and company role to the response, rather than just ‘General Manager’. This adds to the personalization and helps you to connect more effectively with your customer.
7. Win their loyalty: Show you care by doing everything you can to solve a customer’s issue, and you will win not only their loyalty, but that of everyone else who views your response. People understand that things do sometimes go wrong, but the most important thing is how you manage it. Many a time I have chosen a to do business with a company based on their response to reviews, showing that they do really care about their customers.
In summary, do it right and you will reap the rewards. If you can manage your online reviews to your advantage you will increase customer loyalty and boost your reputation.