Online reviews have become an integral part of the consumer-driven marketplace. They are accessible and digestible with a simple tap on a smartphone or PC. And because they are visible to everyone, they can be very influential in whether or not people choose to make purchases from a business.
That’s why almost every business owner is concerned about which type of reviews their establishment gets.
Many businesses have taken steps to eliminate fake reviews, while others have chosen to embrace them and work with customers to build credibility and trust through authentic interactions. Whichever approach you take, here are some tips that may help you understand how online reviews may benefit your business and how they may also pose a risk if left unmonitored.
What are Online Reviews?
Online reviews are testimonials from past customers about their experience at a particular business. If a customer is happy with their experience at your business, they may write a review. On the other hand, if they were unhappy with their service, they may leave a negative review.
What Makes a Good Online Review?
There are a lot of factors that go into making a good online review, but the two primary factors are relevance and authenticity.
Relevance means that the review is relevant to the product or service being reviewed. For example, if someone were to post a review on how great the food at a restaurant is, that review would be relevant to the restaurant, but not so much to other customers who might not be interested in the food. However, if someone were to post a review on how poor the customer service at a bank is, that review would be relevant to the entire customer base of that bank and may have a negative impact on the bank’s business.
Authenticity is important because people are more likely to trust a review that seems like it could have actually happened than a review that seems like it was written by someone who is not a real person.
Helpful or Harmful?
Like any type of marketing, online reviews can be very helpful or completely unimpressive. The best way to determine whether you’re getting helpful or harmful reviews is to analyze the tone of the content. If you see a few negative comments posted, it doesn’t necessarily mean the company is doing something wrong. Instead, they may be annoyed by the fact that they have to deal with negative reviews.
If you find that the majority of reviews are positive, you can be confident that they’re helpful. You can also use the tone of a review to your advantage by thanking your happy customers. Some businesses even respond to customers who post negative reviews.
How to Respond to Online Reviews
Your response to a review should be polite, professional, and sincere. It should take into account the review’s content and tone, as well as its placement. Here are some tips for writing a response:
Be Mindful of The Review’s Content
Even if you disagree with the review’s tone, you still need to be respectful. If the review states that your business failed to deliver on a promise, you need to acknowledge that. If the review claims that a specific employee failed to deliver on a promise, you need to acknowledge that.
Be Mindful of The Review’s Tone
Some reviews are simply intended to be mean-spirited, so you need to respond by being respectful but also acknowledging your mistakes while also highlighting the good. If the review is simply mean-spirited, you can still respond by sharing your side of the story and apologizing for any miscommunication.
Be Mindful of The Review’s Placement
Each review, along with each comment, appears on the reader’s screen. If you want to add a comment further down the page, you need to start a new line. If you want to comment on the same review, you need to start a new comment. You also need to be mindful of the review’s position on the page, since readers often skip over comments on the side or at the bottom of a review.
Which Type of Review Is Most Effective?
When you’re thinking about how to respond to reviews, you also need to think about which type of review is most effective. Positive reviews will help potential customers understand what your business is like to work with and what the customer service experience was like.
Negative reviews, on the other hand, can be a hindrance to your business. To avoid the harm that these reviews can cause, you need to be proactive. You can turn these reviews around by showing that you are actively working to make improvements and that you take the feedback seriously.
Negative Reviews Aren’t Always Harmful
Even though you want to turn the negative reviews around, you also need to be mindful of what your customers say. Many customers will leave a negative review simply because they had a bad experience. Despite your best effort to turn this review around, the customer may not feel satisfied with the resolution. So, don’t just ignore these reviews. Instead, you can use them to learn from mistakes and grow as a business. Depending on the type of review, you can respond by addressing the issue, offering explanations for any mistakes you made and apologizing for any miscommunication.
How to Use Online Reviews to Your Business’s Advantage
One of the best ways to use online reviews to your advantage is by collecting them on a review page. You can create a page for online reviews on your website, or you can create a Facebook page dedicated to online reviews. You can also create a dedicated email list or create a Facebook group for online reviews. You can also create an online forum or use one of the many online review collection sites.
If you create a page on your site where you collect online reviews, then you can offer a discount or other incentive to readers who leave reviews. If you create an online forum, then you can use the forum to collect reviews. You can also create an online forum devoted to online reviews.
Online reviews are a valuable source of information about your business. They can be helpful or harmful, depending on the reviews you receive and how you respond to them. For the best results, you need to find a balance between deleting harmful reviews and leaving positive ones up. You also need to choose the right type of review to most effectively promote your business.