Positive or negative, reviews are vital to any business. Whether well-founded or not, reviews give the general public an impression of your business. They are what we in the biz call “social proof”. Social proof is evidence given by others to prove your business’s worth. Some of these reviews may not be accurate (yes, that really sucks!) but keep reading – we’ll give you some tips how to show the truth about your business.
Positive reviews give social proof of the excellence of your business. Hopefully your business has had these. They are the wonderful clients who understand how much it means to your company that there are some positive voices promoting the things you and your team do right. They are feel good moments you wish happened every day!
Before we completely dismiss negative reviews, there is still a place for these. Firstly, negative reviews help you and your business grow. Secondly, there is a saying – “Strength comes through adversity” – this true for negative reviews. If you get a bad review, consider what they’ve said. Maybe there is some truth in what they’ve said – are there weaknesses or threats your business needs to address? There may be no truth in the review but see this as an opportunity to show off you and your team’s true character and culture in how you respond. (Read on further to find out more about responses to reviews)
Just for today and for brevity’s sake, we are focussing on Google Reviews and Facebook Recommendations, however all the information in this blog post will translate pretty easily across most review and recommendations platforms – adapt and apply to whatever feedback system is strong in your industry.
Benefits of Google Reviews
People’s feedback and your response strengthen your presence in potential clients’ view. The more positive reviews on Google immediately gives credit to your business and increases its worth as something for clients to invest in.
Excellent for SEO
The better the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), the more likely Google is going to rank you higher in search results. When Google sees you have more reviews and your business cares and responds to these reviews, it improves your digital standing and contributes to a better Google Adwords Score.
Benefits of Facebook Recommendations
So firstly – at time of writing, there are both reviews and recommendations on Facebook. To see the differences in these, go to this article.
Increase Connection in Facebook
Facebook being a primarily social platform, reviews and recommendations are more pertinent in the social proof arena.
Mutual connections are what Facebook are all about! So the more your business is involved in the community, the better. This most definitely includes the reviews and recommendations!
Build Your Credibility
Have you ever noticed when you look at a business page, Facebook show you the friends who have liked/followed/reviewed/recommended a business?
Potential clients see a friend who have taken some form of connection with your business and a bit like a reference on a resume, this automatically gives you better standing than a business with no mutual connections.
ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS RESPOND!
Make your mum proud – respond to every review, whether positive or negative! Here’s how….
Responding to Negative Reviews
Rule number 1 – DO NOT REACT!!
Yes. It completely sucks that nasty person left a bad review on your page – but DO NOT RESPOND OUT OF REACTION! As the saying goes – this is just trying to fight fire with fire. In the world of online platforms, this just makes all things worse! So take a breath, grab a cup of camomile tea and just have a moment. If it helps, you can draft some responses you’d like to say first, then when you’ve processed it, consider why this negative review has come through.
Also consider when responding – the first audience for your negative review is not the review writer. Your first audience is the potential clients that will read your reviews before deciding to purchase with you. So how you treat this negative reviewing Karen (along with the positive reviewers) shows how you will treat future clients.
Another consideration is if this is an opportunity to turn a whinger into an advocate. I know this doesn’t happen all the time. Sometimes a whinger is always a whinger. But if you can give rational and solid solutions, there is a chance to change this whinger Karen into an advocate Sharon! Think about it – if Karen’s friends know she is a whinger and Karen is raving about how good your business is, how much more likely are Karen’s non-whinging friends going to be impressed with how you run your business?
The first step in responding to a negative review is to ask why this person has given it. There are a few options as to why you have a negative review.
The reviewer is having a bad day and you’ve become the straw that broke the camel’s back. This really sucks and the way to respond to this is to kill it with kindness. Read the reasons they have listed for their negative experience and offer a kind solution. Even if it’s a piece of cake next time they buy a coffee from your shop. Remember – you are not necessarily writing primarily for the reviewer, but for future readers of this review.
The reviewer is friends with your competition, or is a random person you’ve never dealt with. Ideal response in this situation = “Thank you, Karen for taking the time to give us your feedback. We pride ourselves on giving 5 star service. We looked at our file to see when we had the pleasure of looking after you, but can’t seem to find you on file. Can you tell us when you visited our business?”
The reviewer genuinely had a bad experience with your business. This one sucks more than all the other options, but don’t be stuck in a pity party! Dust yourself off and get back up again. Don’t give excuses. Simply and with the least amount of words possible, respond with the following:
Thank them for taking the time to give the feedback
Apologise for the service not being up to your usual standard
Offer a kind gesture to the reviewer
Give solutions for your business to improve. Whether it’s in the form of training or a change in suppliers or even a change in staff – show you are being proactive to rectify the problem.
Responding to Positive Reviews
Ok, now we’ve dealt with the nasty, let’s look at the lovely! These are the wonderful ones to respond to – don’t let the opportunity pass you by. Plus – it’s good manners, so just do it!
Something along these lines is a great response:
“Thanks Sharon for taking the time to write this lovely review! We thoroughly enjoy seeing your smile and providing the weekly (insert tailored service details – eg flat white with caramel egg whites coffee). It’s a thrill to look after customers like you every day!”
Ahhhh! Isn’t that so warm and fuzzy? And can you feel the love? These are the clients you want to get out of bed for each day, so make sure they know it! This is a great way to build advocates for your business who are the best kind of customer.
Wrap it up!
The old golden rule of treating others how you’d like to be treated still stands. Whether your reviewers have had a good or bad experience, respond with kindness and grace, don’t engage in the drama and make the world a better place with your words.
Need help? Email us – we’d be so happy to give you the right words to say!
(To find out more on how to respond to reviews, you can read more on this blog post too!)