Word of mouth is everything when it comes to the reputation of your business, and a potential consumer is much more likely to believe what previous customers have to say about you than what you like to portray.
It’s no surprise that the biggest platform for spreading opinions these days lives on social media. Since everyone has a slew of opinions and a sense of security behind a keyboard, it’s important to not leave all of the power in your customers’ hands. Monitoring and responding to all reviews, positive and negative, about your business will show that you’re listening to what your customers have to say and that you’re adjusting where necessary. So, where to begin?
Always be actively monitoring - This means setting up alerts on all of your social media platforms and being diligent about addressing each of the messages received. Not only does this mean looking out for when people leave a review on your social media profiles like Yelp and Facebook, but also when they mention you or comment on a post about you. Tools like Hootsuite and Google Alerts can provide you with streams of content so you never miss when you’re mentioned.
Respond to ALL reviews - Positive reviews are obviously the easiest to tackle. Be sure to thank the reviewer for taking the time to leave you a review and tell them you’re excited that they enjoyed their experience with your brand. Here’s an example:
Hi John, thanks so much for your positive feedback. We’re so glad that we were able to help with your upcoming project. We hope to see you again soon!
The negative reviews are where it can be a little more complicated, so we’ll break this one down a little bit to help you formulate the perfect response:
Here it is in action:
Hi John, we’re so sorry to hear that your latest experience with us was unsatisfactory. Your description certainly does not reflect the level of service we strive to provide, and we greatly appreciate you bringing it to our attention. Without customers like you, we wouldn’t be aware of opportunities where we can improve! Would you mind private messaging us with your personal contact information so that we can have a supervisor reach out to you? We’d love to make it right.
Often, customers are emotional right after a situation, will write you a scathing review and then never respond when you reach out to make it right. Or they may even apologize and admit to overreacting. No matter what, the sheer act of showing that you care will tip the scales in your favor.
What about reviews that are sort of in the middle? You never know what a customer will say; sometimes they had an overall good experience but were unhappy with one small component and will give you a rating that is somewhere in the middle. With these, it’s really up to your discretion. If you feel that the customer has a legitimate negative comment, reach out and make it right like you would for a negative review. However, if you feel that the customer seems happy overall, simply apologize for the negative aspect of their review and promise that you’ll bring it to the attention of the appropriate party.
Here’s an example of a response where a customer was unhappy about the wait time before he was serviced:
Hi John, thanks so much for taking the time to provide us with feedback on your latest experience. We really appreciate you letting us know about your longer than normal wait time, and we will certainly notify our staff to be more aware and attentive moving forward.
The moral of the story is: people will talk about your business, and people will listen to whoever is the loudest. It’s up to you to stay actively involved, on top of every situation and be the voice that’s heard.