Almost every single person in America has used a search engine at some point in their lives. Whether you use Bing, Yahoo, Ask, or most commonly (used by right around 75% of the population), Google, chances are that if you’re reading this blog, you have almost certainly used a search engine just within the last week.
Now that we’ve established the importance of search engine optimization, let’s look at online reviews. While 100% of you probably use a search engine of some sort, there are probably still many of you (or most of you) who also read and/or leave reviews. In fact, a study from 2018 says that 92% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase and 40% of consumers say they form an opinion of a product or company based on the reviews alone.
Many of the people that find you online are looking for you (or a company like yours), as well as your product or service. And they are being influenced by your reviews. Even if they’re looking to get a job with your company, they are being influenced by your reviews.
You can see how important your online rating and reviews can be. So, when’s the last time you checked your online review ratings? Do you know where you can find reviews for your company? Yelp, Google, and Facebook are three main ones people use, and those are a great place to start.
So, now that we know where to start, let’s talk about handling reviews and reviewers.
We all want 5,000 5-star reviews and nothing else. However, that’s not reality. Some people don’t like your product or service. Things break unexpectedly, your customer representatives are human and make mistakes, and services don’t always go as planned. And that’s okay. Customers are going to leave bad reviews and let me repeat: that’s okay. Then, some people are going to leave false bad reviews, and while that’s not okay, it is reality. You need to respond to ALL your mediocre and bad reviews, valid or not. You also need to respond to a handful of your good reviews. Most importantly, you need to do it in a timely and professional manner, putting feelings aside.
Here are some ways to handle reviews based on the rating given:
5 – Star Reviews
Thank them for the review, then remind them that they can reach out to you if they ever have any questions or need anything else.
3 or 4 star reviews
Thank them for the review. If they have a problem, ask if you can help or solve it. Don’t gripe, attack them, or make them feel stupid. Help them. If there is no reason (that you can see) for a less than 5-star review, give them a, “We are sorry to see you didn’t have a 5-star experience with our company, is there anything we can do better serve you or other customers in the future?”
1 or 2 star reviews
REMEMBER – these reviews are read MOST OFTEN! Your response will determine whether or not the reader is going to use your company.
There are a few ways to respond to these. Is the review “legit”? If so, apologize for their experience and invite them to call you directly so you can solve their problem.
If it’s not legit. Apologize anyway. “We are so sorry for your experience with our company. We can’t find any record of you in our customer database, but if you can give us a call, we can do our best to figure out what went wrong and do our absolute best to fix it.” Now, they’re never going to call you (probably because it’s a competitor) but remember, this response is for the person reading the review, NOT THE REVIEWER.
One more thing
Earlier this week, my husband got a response from a business owner thanking him for the 5-star review he left about his company. The problem? Travis left the review 4 and half years ago! Some people will see this as a HUGE negative. Geez, if it takes this guy half a decade to respond to a great experience how long to respond to me if something goes wrong? When you start managing your online reputation for the first time, be smart about what you respond to and how you handle those responses.
At Transformation Marketing, we help many of our clients manage their online reputations by monitoring their reviews and assisting them in crafting responses that serve them and their customers well. Having a third party working with your online reviews helps you stay on top of things, and allows you to give non-emotional responses that will help future customers to see how well you can handle tough situations!