How to respond to customers and reviews on social media

All business owners want to see positive feedback and engagement with their company. However, today’s digital and transparent society leaves businesses inevitably exposed to bad reviews and ignoring them is impossible and might even make it worse. But just responding doesn’t quite cut it, you need to be strategic and quick to the chase.

How you handle customers and reviews on social media is crucial for businesses to stay in the game. 90% of consumers only purchase from a business if they have a high rating and this makes social media not only a forum for building a positive online presence, but also a way to encourage other consumers to engage and leave feedback. Whether you’re on social media or not, or might not think it’s for you, online presence has become a core aspect of being able to compete on the market. However, the trend of contact through social media has shown a decline in the past 3 years due the fact that companies can’t keep up and adapt. Time is of essence and customers will quickly move on to different forms of communicating, or just leave you completely if expectations aren’t met.

So how does a business in best way respond to these online reviews? Should you respond to positive reviews and how do you respond to negative ones? We have tried to cover these questions in this post with a few tips of how you can leverage your online presence and turn your negative feedback into positive engagement.

The basics

When posting a reply to a customer, you’re not only answering that person, but all other current or new potential customers. This means that you need to have two things in mind; answering the customer – and in a way that’s applicable to others. By responding you are showing that you care about your customers and care to make it right. Also, when the response creates value for other customers, (in example; providing an answer to a frequently asked questions), you can take advantage of the opportunity and show how quick you are to tend to their needs. Never be afraid to over-inform, by doing so you can also answer other’s potential questions.

In addition, take the opportunity to respond publicly. It shows transparency and can also help build trust, even if the content isn’t necessarily relevant to others. However, if any personal information is required to resolve the issue, take the conversation to private message. When doing so, make sure you are the first person to reach out privately. You don’t want your customers to reach out again to avoid further frustration. To respond privately, write something similar to the following; “Thank you for contacting us, we are sorry to hear about the experience and just sent you a private message so we can resolve the issue with you!”.

Positive reviews

Some might not deem it necessary to always respond to positive reviews, but positive conversation about your company can really help benefit both your brand and your relationship with customers. Customers base their decision on online reviews and actively engaging with positive online conversation can generate more buzz and visibility for your business. In addition, this also affects rankings, and replying properly with clear and concise answers can improve the SEO ranking of the review and help it show up in search results. A few things to keep in mind when responding to a positive review are;

  1. Always start by thanking the customer for the review and be specific. Ensure the reviewer doesn’t feel like their talking to a bot – make it personal!
  2. Use the business name and keywords in your response such as location to rank higher in search results.
  3. Thirdly, add a little marketing since it’s going to be read by others, for example; “did you know we have a discount on this product from the skincare line you just ordered from?”
  4. Invite customers to spread the word, similarly to the example listed above. You might want to mention a new product they would like to try or to invite a friend for an additional discount.

Negative reviews

A crippling experience all companies need to face at one point or another is negative reviews. They’re public and impossible to avoid. While this might seem likely to result in the most damage, how you respond is also of utmost importance. Replying is your opportunity to turn things around and shows that you’re care to cater to their needs. The best thing to do when you receive a bad review is to act quickly and strategically. A few steps may include;

  1. Acknowledge the customers concerns, even if they’re unsubstantiated. Your customer didn’t choose the mailman, they chose you. That means that you have to take responsibility even when it’s not your fault. The word sorry goes a long way and is the very least you can do if your customer has a bad experience.
  2. Keep your response simple and short, this prevents any further questions that might leave you with additional negative feedback in your public forum. Try to keep it to just a few sentences.
  3. Work out a satisfactory solution with your customer and allow them to be a part of how it should be resolved. This may for example include a reduction or compensation.

Don’t let it get you down

Negative reviews aren’t bad per say and can actually be advantageous in showing how you take responsibility and care to work out issues with customers. This can further help improve your appeal for potential new customers because of the fact that you show reliability – even when things go wrong. While we acknowledge that all businesses make mistakes, a package may be late or you forgot to send out a confirmation e-mail. Whether those reviews are well-deserved or unfounded, you can always turn it into positive engagement. And while you can’t control reviews, you can control how you choose to respond.

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