Customer reviews, the good the bad and the ugly!

Carys

Social Media Executive

Businesses have always sought customer feedback, but with the internet and social media customer reviews are now more prolific and more visible than ever before. Their potential value and impact, both positive and negative, have been taken on a new level.  This is why customer feedback and reviews should form part of your marketing activity.

Reviews can be beneficial in so many ways, and for those who put the effort into capitalising on it, the rewards can be impressive. Customer reviews can provide feedback which can help inform decisions and improvements in a business. Sometimes businesses make the mistake of only listening to the feedback they actively ask for. The feedback that customers share on social media and review sites is just as valuable as the information gleaned from a customer satisfaction survey.

Positive reviews can promote your business, products or services for you often in a more effective way than you could yourself.  We all trust the views of our friends and family, so their endorsements are invaluable.

Tips on managing reviews

Find time to respond

It can be a time-consuming job to respond to reviews, particularly if you are in an industry where you receive a lot of reviews on different websites and social media platforms.  However, by acknowledging reviews, good or bad, and getting involved in the conversation, you can ensure your business is putting its message across.

Responding to a negative review

Do respond. Read the review and try to digest it impartially. If it feels unfair or unjust, take a deep breath before you respond! It can be difficult not to take bad reviews personally but if you can look at them objectively that will help.

There was a time when business owners would bury their heads in the sand and ignore a negative review.  This is definitely not the best approach.

Depending on the nature of the negative review an apology might be the best starting point. Thanking someone for taking the time to leave a review is also a great way to open a dialogue or demonstrate that you care and are interested in what they have to say.

An explanation will be appropriate in some circumstances or a request to discuss further if you think you can rectify the situation with a phone call. If the review has prompted changes within your organisation then say so.  The reviewer will appreciate that you’ve taken action.

In some cases, it is also reasonable to disagree.  This can be a tricky one but there are many great examples online where businesses have argued their case and loyal customers have backed them.  It shows a confidence in your product or service, so if a review feels unfair then maybe explaining why is reasonable.  One perfect example of this was seen when a restaurant which received a negative review on TripAdvisor for being unable to offer a table to someone who hadn’t booked. This felt like punishing the restaurant for being popular, successful and busy!  The restaurant manager responded saying that a one star review from someone who hadn’t even sampled the food felt unreasonable.

Responding to positive reviews

Again, it is always a good idea to thank people for taking the time to leave a review.  Paying for positive reviews is never a good idea but a thank you goes a long way! Try and make your response personal. Acknowledge what they’ve said, for example, if the review was of a birthday gift then say you are pleased they liked the gift and hope they had a great day. Be positive about them visiting/shopping with you again in the future.

The next step is to consider how you can capitalise on your reviews. Reviews will support your SEO so encouraging them is definitely worthwhile.  Think about whether you can use the reviews elsewhere.  Ask reviewers if they’d mind if you feature it on your website or in promotional material.  If you have a high Trustpilot or Feefo rating then highlight it on your website.

If you aren’t monitoring reviews at the moment then it is time start!