The Dos and Don’ts of Responding to Reviews as a Business

Normally, we wouldn’t consider review sites to be social media platforms, but if you really think about it, it’s a perfect way for a business to get feedback from its customers, build their reputation, and show their consideration for their customer and their involvement in the company.

However, review sites are tricky. It’s easy for customers to go on their and write a wonderful review about their amazing experience at your restaurant, but it’s also extremely easy for them to write a terrible review bashing every little aspect about your company because they didn’t get pepperoni on their pizza. And when someone bashes something you’re invested in, it’s easy to respond emotionally or rashly and, in turn, hurt your company.

So what’s right and what’s wrong? Below is a list of dos and don’ts to help your business use review sites to their benefit.

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t tell the reviewer they are wrong. When people review a business, they are sharing their opinion of their experience with that organization. The situation will never go in your favor if you tell someone that their opinion is wrong.
  2. Don’t over-react, get angry or argue. We are only human, so when someone pushes our buttons, it’s natural for us to respond defensively. It is unprofessional for a business to react in anger and furthermore, it can kill your reputation.
  3. Respond to every single review. Unless you are a small business, there is no reason to respond to every single review. This could potentially ruin your credibility, as customers may think, you’re just responding to respond instead of actually caring about the review at hand.
  4. Don’t apologize if you don’t mean it. Seriously! If you don’t mean it, don’t say it. There are other ways to show your concern for a situation than saying sorry. Explore those options.
  5. Don’t use it as an opportunity to self promote. If someone raves about your restaurant on Yelp, this is not a time to promote your product. The review will do that itself. That person is already going to tell their friends and family – no need to remind them to do so!

Dos:

  1. Stop, drop and roll. As mentioned before, it’s easy to respond rashly to negative comments. Follow these steps when handling an upsetting review:
    • Stop: Take at least 24 hours to respond. Responding in the heat of the moment could cause you to react with inappropriate emotion.
    • Drop: Let go of the harshness of the review. Getting caught up in the negative will only lead you to respond negatively.
    • Roll: Just go with it! Okay, so this person wrote a terrible review about your business… It’s time to accept that and respond in the most appropriate and beneficial way for your business.
  2. Stick to the facts. As said before, people write reviews to share their opinion. No need to counter act their points based on your opinion. Just stick to what you know about your organization and its values and provide the customer with the information they need.
  3. Always thank them for their valuable feedback. There is a lot of misinterpreted value given in negative reviews. Negative doesn’t always have to be bad. Use there criticism as a way to build a stronger brand and make your experience better for them in the future. Thank them for helping you make these changes that you might not have changed otherwise.
  4. Respond to both good and bad. It’s just as important to respond to the good as it is the bad. Recognize those loyal and happy customers and thank them for positively reviewing you. However, keep in mind from before, you don’t want to respond to every single review. Select the few best reviews of the positive and reply to those.
  5. Offer a token gesture or a peace offering. Depending on the situation, a small gift can act as a peace offering to help mend the ties between the customer and your business. It’s recommended that these gestures take place in a private message. Otherwise, people get greedy and soon enough, you’ll be sending coupons to every angry customer.
  6. If necessary settle the dispute through a private message. Don’t hash it out with an unruly reviewer publicly over yelp. Contact them privately and deal with matters in private. Lord knows that we humans misinterpret messages over cyber space. God forbid someone sees your conversation with this unruly reviewer and misinterprets one of your replies. Next thing you know, your conversation is a headline and more and more bad reviews are flying your way.

Overall, go into every situation positively, let people have their opinions, and move onward and upward. Reviews should be a way for you and your organization to get a better understanding about what’s working and what’s not in term of your product and/or service. Take advantage of it – it could bring your business great success.

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