More than half of all customers who leave negative reviews expect a response within 24 hours, according to digital branding expert Steven Wyer, who says there is a right way and a wrong way to reply. Here, Steven Wyer answers some of the most common questions from business owners new to the world of online customer reviews.
Q: How important is user generated content and word-of-mouth advertising for businesses?
Steven Wyer: It’s becoming clearer each year that user generated content (UGC), including online customer reviews, videos, and social media posts, are vital to a business’s success. There is no question that reviews significantly influence buying behavior.
Q: Do I need to respond to all customer reviews?
Steven Wyer: It’s a good idea to respond to as many reviews as possible. This lets your customers – and the search engines – know that you are active and willing to interact when they initiate a conversation.
Q: If I respond to negative feedback, how likely is it that the customer will remove the post?
Steven Wyer: While your customer is not obligated to remove negative reviews, approximately one-third of all customers who post about a poor experience will post a positive review once a resolution has been reached. A large percentage of these delete their negative review entirely.
Q: Are star ratings really relevant?
Steven Wyer: Absolutely, especially as they relate to online review platforms where anything less than four stars may put a business into disfavor in the eyes of the public.
Q: What are some tips on responding to positive reviews on sites such as Yelp and Travelocity?
Steven Wyer: Don’t react, respond. Always maintain a positive tone and thank the customer for taking their time to give you a shout out. While it’s okay to offer a generic response, adding a few specific bits of info pertinent to that particular review will be greatly appreciated.
Q: Should I discuss negative experiences online, in the open?
Steven Wyer: Where negative reviews are concerned, it’s always best to keep it short and sweet. Apologize, thank them for their feedback, and offer to resolve any issues offline.
Q: What if my customer is wrong? Should I respond as such?
Steven Wyer: Absolutely not. It is never a good idea to engage an unhappy customer with a defensive tone.
Q: What is review monitoring?
Steven Wyer: Review monitoring services are those that provide easy access across all review platforms. It can be difficult for a business owner to keep track across different sites; review monitoring and management services can ease the burden and keep a business owner more in touch with his client base.
Q: What are the benefits to comparing feedback across multiple locations?
Steven Wyer: If a company has multiple locations and one location is performing poorly compared to others, having the ability to compare online feedback can help management pinpoint where the problems lie and take immediate steps to fix them.
Q: How do customer reviews affect my online reputation?
Steven Wyer: Nearly 100% of online shoppers look at online customer reviews before selecting a company to perform a service; this is also true for product reviews as consumers want real-world feedback before making a financial commitment.