A local consumer survey found that 97% of consumers in 2017 read online reviews of local businesses. Eighty-five percent treated those reviews the same as recommendations from a friend. What people are saying about your business, both good and bad, is reaching more people than you might think. Online reviews influence the decisions of potential customers.
That poses a unique challenge for you and your business reputation management. Respond to those reviews effectively, and you’ll turn that challenge into a powerful opportunity to grow your business. But why bother to respond to a positive review, you ask; isn’t reputation management about turning unhappy patrons into satisfied customers? Not entirely.
Why you should respond to online reviews
- That same consumer survey reveals a full 30% of respondents considered a company response to reviews a key factor in their perception of local businesses.
- People like to know their voices are being heard. Your personal engagement with customers makes a difference.
- Responding to reviews improves search rankings.
- Every time you engage a customer is a marketing opportunity. As you’ll see, your response to a customer review is a chance to share positives about your business.
Now that we understand why it’s so crucial, let’s talk about how best to respond to both positive and negative online reviews.
How to respond to a positive online review
- Mention the customer by name. As basic as it seems, this small gesture transforms a generic response into a personal connection.
- Though it’s certainly essential to show your appreciation, go beyond a simple “thank you”. Address every positive mentioned by the customer, in detail. It not only shows that you’re listening, it reinforces your attributes for others reading the review.
- Mention your name too. This is a bit of ancillary SEO benefit many business owners overlook. When you include the name and location of your business in response to a review, it improves search results.
- Your response is a chance to do some free marketing. Mention promotions, new products or additional services available. Give readers more reason to visit your store.
- Make an invitation. Ask your customer to try out a special dish next time they’re in your restaurant, bring a guest, etc.
How to respond to a negative review
- Acknowledge and empathize. Let your customer know their concerns matter to you.
- Address the concern directly, and resolve it. Let your dissatisfied customer – and anyone else reading the review – be assured that the negative experience won’t happen again.
- Offer alternative contact info. This serves the dual purpose of demonstrating personal interest in your customer’s concerns, as well as an alternative to discussing it online.
- Include some positive in your response to a negative review. If a customer was unhappy with a wait for a table, acknowledge that your restaurant’s popularity may call for additional staffing at peak times. You’ve addressed the problem, offered a positive resolution, and plugged your business all at once. Fantastic job!
Reputation management is rapidly becoming a full-time task. With all the review sites online, it’s a real challenge for the average small business owner to keep up with them all. The immeasurable value of a proactive approach, and the cost of neglect, demand constant attention to what people are saying online about your business.
Cedar Park Local is dedicated to helping local business owners engage customers and grow their business. We’ll help you tackle the job of reputation management that’s so vital to your success. Contact us for expert guidance for your Cedar Park. TX business.