Last year, I read Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer, a renowned business strategist. In this book, Baer highly recommends, and has evidence to prove, that it is critical to respond to every review, both positive and negative. In today's connected economy, where everything is so public and transparent, everyone is watching how you respond to your reviews. People will decide whether or not to do business with you based not only on your reviews, but also on how you handle all reviews, both good and bad. Essentially, your customer service is on display. Baer even says that “customer service, in many ways, is the new marketing.” You want to show that you value each and every customer by listening, caring, and responding. Bottom line: when a review comes in, you absolutely must respond to that review.
Tips on Responding to Customer Reviews
- Prepare ahead of time. Think through the types of responses you will give for a review in advance. You can even break them down into categories. We have clients that we do this for. We brainstorm ahead of time and ask them what types of things they get feedback on: services, products, or things that aren't service/product related, such as the cleanliness of the bathrooms or the condition of the parking lot. Then come up with typical replies that you can use for those types of reviews. Don't just copy and paste each time, but use slightly modified versions of your prepared responses.
- Reply immediately, within 24 hours. Because someone has taken the time to reach out to you, they deserve a prompt response from you. Honestly, nobody likes when someone takes forever to respond to emails, messages, and texts...or simply doesn’t respond at all. Reviews are a very strong form of communication and should be taken seriously.
- Replying to reviews. On Facebook, you can reply to the review right there. For Google reviews, you have to first claim your business with Google My Business, which is a super important step of digital marketing for small businesses. You also need to claim your business on Yelp in order to respond to customer reviews on Yelp. Once you've claimed your business on Google and Yelp, there are even apps for your phone to help you reply quickly whenever you get a review.
Always ask for a review.
Customer reviews are so important in business, especially for businesses with any type of online presence. Yet, businesses often struggle with speaking up and asking for reviews. Fortunately, there are many automated ways out there to get more customer reviews. We actually offer a reviews management service here at Webcom Resources.
In today’s world, meaningful differences between businesses are rarely rooted in price or product, but instead in customer experience.