5 Strategies for Managing Online Reviews

Whether you like it or not, your business will receive reviews online. It is typically better to welcome them as feedback and develop a strategy for engaging that feedback.

The way you respond to online reviews influences the perception prospects and customers have as they read them. The following are five tips for managing your online reviews to positively impact your brand.

Acknowledge Positive Reviews

When practical, acknowledge the positive reviews you receive. Many popular online review sites allow the business to respond. A quick “thank you” comment and message show that you appreciate your customers and validate your interest in them having a positive experience.

Avoid Defensiveness With Negative Reviews

Human nature often causes us to take a defensive posture when we feel attacked emotionally or physically. Thus, a business owner, operator, manager, or representative may feel the same inclination when a company or employer is criticized publicly.

Getting defensive in response to a review is certain to produce a negative outcome for your brand, however. There are two separate audiences to consider in your response: the reviewer and the people reading the reviews. If you get defensive, the people reading the reviews (who don’t usually have full context) will likely perceive that your company makes excuses and doesn’t handle customer problems well.

Invite the Reviewer for Further Conversations

The first thing to do in your reply to the review is acknowledge the reviewer’s concern and invite him or her to contact you (including the method) for further discussion. Doing so shows your genuine interest in finding a resolution, while also shifting the conversation away from a public platform.

Potential customers reading reviews recognize that companies are run by humans. They are often forgiving and accepting that occasional mistakes happen. Your acknowledgment of the concern and effort to work with the customer toward resolution demonstrates a more genuine brand character than defensiveness or blame.

Take a Genuine Interest

Even beyond the communication strategies you employ with online reviews, take a genuine interest in what your customers have to say. Over time, the reality is that all organizations will have some disgruntled patrons. It is difficult to please everyone. However, consider the overall sentiment in the reviews you receive as well as any detailed comments that warrant reflection.

If you experience consistently modest or negative reviews, it is wise to evaluate changes to improve your customer experience. If a negative review is an outlier, the objective is to defuse the situation and minimize the impact. Sometimes, mixed or negative reviews (even outliers) contain quality comments that offer insight into ways in which you can enhance your customer experience.

Encourage Positive Reviews

You don’t always have to play defense with online reviews. It is a good idea to encourage satisfied customers to post their experiences at popular online sites. Some companies include links to preferred review platforms as a follow-up to a sale. Health practitioners, for instance, often request that patients post reviews on popular healthcare directories or sites after an appointment.

Encouraging positive reviews is important because people are usually more motivated to post a review online when upset about an experience. For upset customers, a negative public review feels satisfying as a form of redemption.

Wrapping Up…

In the modern business world, businesses will experience online reviews from customers. It is better to accept and respond to these reviews than to ignore them or take a defensive posture.

Apply the strategies discussed here to leverage reviews for positive brand outcomes.