Customers tend to have a lot to say, especially now with the internet making it far easier for them to leave comments and feedback. These responses can range from good, to bad, to downright ugly at times. Therefore, the frontline team members of a company responsible for social media and customer support need to be prepared to respond appropriately.
A customer with social media access is the equivalent of handing them a megaphone that can be heard around the world. Once news, especially bad ones, get on the internet, it will spread like wildfire. Not only are customers posting what they think of companies, products and service more than ever. Other customers read what they have to say more than ever. According to research from Podium.com, as many as 93 percent of customers say online reviews impact purchasing decisions.
Today, online reviews make an immense difference in repeat and new sales. If possible, a company should manage all of these reviews well.
No matter how good your product might be, a company is bound to receive a bad review eventually. It could have been caused by a faulty product or even customer misconception about the product. Either way, its important to take good care of the bad and ugly reviews as well as, if not better than, the positive reviews.
“While your business cannot control what customers are saying about you on the Internet, you can control the narrative,” says Sarah-Nicole LeFlore, Customer Success Manager at CX Index, on CustomerThink. “How you choose to engage with customers online can turn a negative review into a positive exchange in the eyes of a potential new customer looking up your business and deciding to spend with you or a competitor.”
Here are several strategies that LeFlore has shared regarding how to respond appropriately to reviews.
Responding to negative reviews
While every company would like to get more positive reviews, the negative ones are more likely to stand out more to both the company and other customers. When responding to such a review, a courteous and timely response that is a better experience than the one that got a negative review often makes up for initial mishaps.
- Hold your own: Don’t take things personally when responding to criticism, even if it was worded rudely or unfairly. Always stay calm and professional during a response.
- Say thank you: It is easy to thank someone when they complement you; not so much when they slam you. But it is definitely necessary. You can thank anyone for the insight you’ll gain. It’s this easy, and it will create the right tone for your exchange.
- Apologise: Even if you do not agree with the criticism laid out by a review, apologising will help to save face with the customer and anyone who reads the review exchange later.
- Get busy: Back up your apology with action. It is always good to let the customer know how you will address the problem to ensure it won’t happen again. Additionally, the company should compensate the customer if there was a loss.
- Skip the connection: When responding to negative review, try not to mention product names or details directly to minimise chances that the review turns up in online searches. Reconcile with the customer swiftly and efficiently so that everyone can move on happily and put the incident behind.
Responding to positive reviews
It may seem a little frivolous to respond to positive reviews since good comments speak volumes. Still, it is important to let customers know that your both hear and appreciate them.
- Say thank you: A simple word of thanks along with a: “we are glad that you are pleased”, or something along those lines should suffice.
- Make it personal: Add the commenter’s name to the response to make it clear that you are a real person and not a robot replying. Personal connections go a long way in enhancing the customer experience.
- Maximise your SEO: Do the exact opposite than when you are responding to a negative review. Include the name of your business, a product or important keywords in your responses to move positive reviews up in online searches for your business.
- Add a call to action: This does not need to be done every time, as it can be seen as rather obnoxious. But it is occasionally fine to suggest some other service your company offers that might be in line with the customer’s tastes.