Online marketing: No matter how good your product or service is, in this day and age your online marketing can make or break your business. And the piece of the online marketing puzzle that’s more important than ever, ever before? Online customer reviews.
‘Negative reviews drive away customers. 94 percent say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business.’ – 2018 ReviewTrackers Online Reviews Survey: Statistics and Trends
No matter how spectacular your website, how high your search engine ranking, or how prolific your content creation, if your business has more negative online reviews than positive, your business is in big trouble.
With over 60% of surveyed consumers saying they would check a business’ reviews on Google before even visiting that business, if you’re going to focus on building and maintaining great reviews on any one platform, Google is it.
Even before consumers get to making purchase decisions based on online reviews of your business, Google is taking your positive ratings into account in calculating where your business will show up in their search results. This means that the more positive reviews your customers leave for your business on Google, the more potential customers will see your business’ website on Page 1, Position 1.
Positive online reviews mean more potential customers will feel safe enough to continue the process and become paying customers. Actively encouraging new reviews and responding to them well is something that needs to be part of your business’ online marketing and “SALES” strategy. While Google Reviews can provide outstanding results – Positively or Negatively – it’s your Sales processes and strategies that are driving those reviews.
Responding to reviews: An integral part of online marketing and sales strategy
Here’s the kicker that some businesses miss – You (or an authorised representative of your business) need to be responding to your online reviews. All of them. Whether the feedback is negative or positive. This needs to be a consistent part of your online sales process which directly influences your online marketing strategy – so, all reviews need to be personally responded to.
How to respond to online reviews
So you’ve offered a product or service that has inspired your customer to write a review of some kind. Hopefully it’s a positive review. But even if it’s not, every review gives you the chance to build better customer relationships and a more human web presence. Sometimes the biggest critic can become a lifelong supporter with the right response to their feedback.
Note: The following tips refer to the content of your public responses to Google reviews. If the practicalities of how to respond to Google reviews is something you need information on, please go to Google’s My Business page for this information.
Web-Sta’s Key Points For Responding To Positive Reviews
- Thank them for their review.
Genuinely and from the heart. Remember that this person specifically took time out of their busy life to publicly support your business. This is online marketing gold, and therefore really needs to be incorporated into your sales processes to ensure each one is appreciated and acknowledge it.
Here’s a Web-Sta Client who we think does this extremely well. Sue Dewar is a local realtor who encourages and attracts many great reviews. What’s most important about this is that even in her ‘busy’ life, Sue understands the importance of providing exceptional customer service, and sincerely thanking her clients for their public acknowledgement of it.
- Feel free to include a small piece of background information here that offers more to the story of your business, particularly any specific elements the reviewer has praised.
For example, if you own a coffee shop and a reviewer has specifically said they enjoyed the apple cake, you might want to let them know it’s your grandmother’s recipe made with locally grown apples. Keep it friendly and informative, and succinct.
- If your friendly reviewer’s feedback has been passed on or used in any other productive way, let them know how their review has improved your business.
If a specific team member was mentioned, let them know the praise has been passed on. If there was support for a new service, let your reviewer know that their feedback helps in the decision of whether or not to continue with this service.
Web-Sta’s Key Points For Responding To Negative Reviews
Even the best business is at risk of negative reviews being published online. Sometimes things go wrong in your product or service delivery. Sometimes your customer is having a bad day and something about one of your team just rubbed them the wrong way. Sometimes a customer can just genuinely see a gap in your business that you hadn’t noticed before and wants to tell you about it, publicly. Whatever the issue, negative reviews aren’t to be feared so much as they are to be intelligently managed.
Thank this person for their feedback, while apologising for your part in their negative experience of your business.
Even if they’re not saying the loveliest of things, this person’s time and feedback is still valuable. Very few online reviewers are going out of their way to attack your business – most of them want their grievances heard, their problem solved, and to save future customers from the same problems. This is all very valuable for your business, it deserves thanks.
Where appropriate, and to the best of your ability, offer to fix the problem.
Perhaps you can offer a complimentary repair or replacement, a telephone consultation to resolve the issue, or an additional service next time they use your business. This actually builds the relationship, shows that you are genuinely invested in your customers’ satisfaction, and shows other readers that you are willing to acknowledge and make good on any mistakes.
When things went pear shaped for online store Showpo recently, here’s how their founder Jane Lu responded. (refer LinkedIn post video mid article)
Don’t take it personally, don’t make it personal.
Publicly responding to online reviews is not the time to have a fragile ego. See every review, no matter how unflattering, as an opportunity to build customer relations. Even the most disgruntled of reviewers, by leaving a public review, is giving you an opportunity to prove you want to offer the best service for your customers.
Remember that what others say and defines them. What you say and do defines you.
Whatever you do, don’t resort to disparaging remarks about your customer’s character. And, if the review happens to include any personal insults, generally ignore them and focus on the issues that are within your power to rectify. See every review as a chance to improve your business.
For more on the intricacies of responding to online reviews, including some examples from both the gold star and the cringeworthy ends of the spectrum, we recommend this article – The Painless Guide On How To Respond To Google Reviews. Tips on this essential aspect of online marketing from Google themselves can also be found here.
Integrating online review platforms into your online marketing strategy is just one element of the comprehensive SEO packages that are one of Web-Sta’s cornerstone services. To find out more about what these include, review our online services, or contact us today.