Brands only have so much control over what’s said about them online. From reviews to social media posts, customers have several ways to share their experiences with a brand on a multiple of public forums.
What customers say online can have a significant impact on a business. In fact, in a survey from BrightLocal, 76% trust online reviews as much as the opinions of family and friends.
However, brands do have control over how they respond to and manage their reviews.
In this article, we’re taking a look at why it’s important to respond to reviews and why brands with several locations should have a review management strategy in place.
Let’s get started.
The Benefits of Managing and Responding to Reviews
One of the worst things you can do for your online reputation is to let your reviews go unmanaged. Unanswered reviews, especially negative ones, leave customers wondering what action—if any at all—was taken to fix a problem or if the customer was ever acknowledged for leaving a review.
Failing to answer reviews may cost you the customers you worked so hard to get as well as new customers. Because acquiring new customers can cost five times more than retaining a current customer, it’s important to grow the relationships you’ve already made.
Plus, most customers won’t purchase until they read reviews. In fact, My Testimonial Engine found that 72% of customers won’t take action until they read reviews. Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure you’re controlling as much of the dialogue as possible.
Responding to reviews paves the way for a strong foundation with your customers, builds trust, and shows them that you genuinely care about their experience with your company.
In addition to managing your reputation, responding to reviews is a great way to boost your local SEO. Reviews help search engines like Google determine that you’re a legitimate, quality business. A study from Darren Shaw of Whitespark found that reviews make-up 15.44% of how Google ranks a local business.
What’s more, according to the Google My Business help page, “High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”
Because Google plays a huge role in customer decision making, it’s imperative to play their game right. Google’s mission is to show its users the best search results that align closest with what they’re searching for. If you can verify that you are a quality company, there’s no question that it’ll help boost your local SEO.
So how can brands do this?
- Complete your Google My Business profile and keep it up to date
- Regularly respond to reviews, both positive and negative
- Verify your business location(s)
Now that we understand why responding to reviews is important, let’s take a look at how you can do so in the best way for your brand.
Create a plan for all scenarios
One of the best ways to tackle review management is to come armed with a plan. That way, when you do respond to customers, you know exactly what to say.
Creating several canned, brand-approved statements for various situations prepares you for every customer encounter. Be sure that each statement is consistent across your customer service team before you start using them.
Also, it’s important to customize your response to each customer. Cookie-cutter responses aren’t always well-received and can come off as disingenuous, which will put a wrench in your attempt to form relationships with your customers.
Pre-written responses are valuable, but it’s also a good idea to determine the proper chain of communication per the situation. How will negative responses be handled? If you receive a high volume of reviews, what’s the most streamlined way to manage them? It’s essential to consider every aspect of the review management process, so your team doesn’t duplicate efforts or let anything slip through the cracks.
Beehive Kitchen, a health-conscious restaurant franchise, does a great job of keeping up with monitoring and responding to reviews they receive on Yelp, Google, and Facebook.
No matter if the review is positive or negative, the Beehive Kitchen team leaves a professional, kind response to every review and offers a solution when relevant. We’ll discuss the importance of providing a solution to unhappy customers later on.
The responses from Beehive Kitchen aren’t long-winded or complicated, but they go a long way when it comes to maintaining their reputation, staying transparent, and righting any wrongs.
Offer a solution to your customers
When a customer has a negative experience with a brand and chooses to share that experience publicly, it can be detrimental. Rightly so—a BrightLocal study found that negative reviews stop about 40% of customers from making a purchase.
All hope isn’t lost. In reality, it’s an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you’ve heard them and want to make the situation right. That’s why whenever you respond to a negative review, offer a solution.
For example, Target does a great job of responding to negative reviews or posts. With Target being such a large company, mistakes happen. But they make an effort to provide customers with a solution.
This customer received a “tester” product in their online order, and Target replied within a few hours:
Target offered two ways for the customer to contact them regarding the order issue. This allowed the customer to get in touch in whatever way worked best for them. By offering a few ways to contact them, Target made it clear that they wanted to fix the issue in whatever way is most comfortable for the customer.
Did this work? The proof of effectiveness lies in the strong customer loyalty Target has built as a result of approaching review management this way.
Consider using a service to help you monitor and manage your reviews
Review management is a big undertaking, especially if you have multiple locations or are growing at a rapid pace and receive tons of reviews.
If review management is stressing you out, or you think your brand would benefit as a whole if you took a more dedicated approach, consider hiring a review management team to help.
There are several reasons why hiring a review management team is good for business. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest ones.
Be Consistent and Build Trust With Your Customers
Never worry about responding to reviews promptly again. Having a dedicated team that monitors reviews across all your channels daily and who can be consistent in responding is crucial to successful review management.
Also, there’s no denying it: Customers buy things from brands they trust. If your brand comes across as deceitful or disingenuous, then you’ve got a problem on your hands.
A review management team helps you build trust with your customers by ensuring they are heard and that any negative situations are resolved.
Boost Your Bottom Line
Review management goes beyond responding to reviews and making things right with customers. Though those things are important, it’s about creating a brand that people trust and want to buy from.
When it’s all said and done, how people perceive your brand online has a considerable impact on your bottom line. In fact, a study from the Harvard Business School found that even a one-star increase in a company’s Yelp page can result in between a 5-9% increase in revenue. With review management software, you can be sure you’re giving customers a reason to make a purchase with confidence.
Customer Reviews Grow Businesses
Taking the time to respond to reviews can make all the difference to increase your sales, grow your customer base, reduce churn, and more.
Don’t let your reviews get out of hand. It could be impacting your business more than you think.
At Let Us Respond, we help brands monitor and manage their reviews so they can focus on growing without compromising on their reputation. Contact our team today, and we’ll work together to find a review management solution that’s right for you.