The Business Benefits of Responding to Online Reviews

Jul 2 · 6 min read

Any business can, at some point, deal with the issue of having a dissatisfied customer or going through a rough patch and being able to offer an excellent standard of service. And in the era of the Internet, this usually shows up on the world wide web in the form of a negative review. With platforms such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and Booking, anyone can post their personal experiences and impressions, which can help or be detrimental to your business.

People from across the globe will be able to see or access it, which can drive away potential customers. And don’t forget, anything that appears on the Internet at some point will stay there forever, so make sure you invest time and effort into steering the opinions expressed there in your favor.

Watch over it

By monitoring and responding to online reviews, you can stay on top of things and react constructively, minimizing damages or even raising the company’s rating.

Studies show that hotels and restaurants which respond both to positive and negative comments are more appreciated and see an increase in their profit margins. People are naturally averse to conflicts, therefore when a bad opinion is stated somewhere, they hate seeing the subject of the criticism reacting aggressively or belittling the reviewer. Also, when someone takes the time to praise or recommend a company or service, it’s considerate and polite for the team to thank them and invite them for future collaborations.

In the context of firms using their social media accounts to go from passively listening to actively intervening, managers can efficiently use their efforts and resources to manage online reviews and truly benefit from the wisdom of online crowds.

Handle the evaluations

With regard to positive evaluations, things are fairly simple: seek out the most engaged and supportive customers, be polite and appreciative, offer future discounts or promotions, thank them for taking the time both to write a review and to draw up a positive one, with formulas such as “we’re glad you enjoyed your experience with our company and appreciate you taking the time to leave a review”, and send them off with a friendly farewell, such as “thanks again and hopefully we’ll see you around soon”.

When it comes to negative online reviews, the interaction should be kept simple and to the point, handling the criticism with calm and kindness. So you could try to keep in mind the following suggestions:

1. Respond as soon as possible

If you constantly track what is being said about your company on the web, even with digital apps and alarms that let you know when someone has posted something related to your business, try to respond within a maximum of three days. If too much time goes by without any response, it will seem like you don’t care too much about people’s opinions and only offer your perspective when you don’t have anything better to do and can spare a few moments to let them know what you think.

2. Address the customer by name

Don’t use formulas such as “dearest…” and don’t try to sound overly friendly. If the person used their precious time to complain and critique, they’re not probably neither willing nor interested in changing their attitude toward your business.

However, addressing them by name, “dear John/Bill/Amy” will let them know that they are not just an anonymous reviewer on the Internet for you, but a real person with a name and a valid opinion.

3. Thank the customer for voicing their concerns and name the problem directly

Don’t try to beat around the bush (“we’re sorry you weren’t satisfied with our interaction”), but rather specify the issue and let the reviewer know that you actually heard them and understood what the problem was (“we’re sorry our colleague treated you rude/you didn’t find the product you were looking for/ the quality of the services were not up to legal standards”).

Don’t forget to thank them for taking the time to write the review, since their opinion will help you learn from your mistakes and grow in the future.

4. Apologize for not meeting the customer’s standards

Apologize and, if there is a valid explanation for his unpleasant experience, provide it.

Whether the problem was real or only in the mind of the client, for him/her, it was legitimate and unpleasant, so you should apologize for it, be it with a formula such as “we’re sorry you felt disrespected/cheated/unsatisfied” — you’re acknowledging their feelings, not necessarily the situation as being genuine.

Take into consideration that everyone can have a bad day, even your or your employees, and maybe things really did happen as the customer recounts them. Inquire into the circumstances, find out what happened and communicate your findings to the person in question. However, don’t make up excuses if they don’t exist.

5. Offer something nice

Give the customer a refund, discount or another benefit — anyone likes receiving compensation for their troubles, so it’s a sure way to win them over.

6. Discuss it further

Invite the reviewer to contact you outside the Internet to discuss the situation further — give them a telephone number or an e-mail address from someone with a leadership position, so that they feel they are heard and their opinions matter.

7. End your response respectfully and briefly

Thank them again and promise that you will do everything in your power so that these problems never arise again.

8. Never remove a negative review

It will always get out and people will only lose respect for your company.

Responding to online reviews is a critical element not only for building a positive online presence, but also for encouraging other consumers to leave their feedback and engage with your business.

At TRISOFT we believe online reputation is a valuable aspect of marketing, so it’s time to take charge of this domain by skillfully responding to both good and bad reviews. While it may be time consuming, it’s worth it.

Besides, with the right tactics and steps, it can be done easily and thoughtfully.

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