Out of all the marketing tools your business can lean on to succeed, word of mouth is probably one of the most vital. Just one customer’s positive testimonial can drive tons of traffic to your door, but in the exact reverse, an especially bad review can be like a warning sign for business.
You don’t have a ton of control about what your customers say about you online, besides delivering the best service and experience possible to them offline. But you can show that you care deeply about the customer experience by responding to reviews—good or bad.
Responding to a negative review—especially one making bold claims against your business—accomplishes more than just placating an angry customer. By responding in kind, you’re signaling to anyone reading your reviews that you take customer feedback seriously and that you’re open to making changes in your business to ensure a better customer experience. Authenticity goes the distance when you’re establishing trust with new and existing customers.
There are good reviews, bad reviews, and then there are outright outrageous reviews. Bold claims, heightened emotion… sometimes there’s a grain of truth, but in general, these types of reviews are written by customers in an emotional state, and as the owner, you have a real opportunity to legitimize your business. In responding to outsized claims with patience, grace, and logic, your business actually looks even more professional and trustworthy.
With this in mind, you may think that you only really need to respond to negative reviews to defend your business and to build trust. Not quite! The key to review management is to be proactive and to show that your ultimate intent is to deliver a consistently improving customer experience. Leaving a quick comment on a positive review (“Thanks for letting us know you enjoyed those new toppings we’re experimenting with! We’re thinking of making them permanent additions to the menu.”) shows that you’re dialed in to what your customers really want and that you appreciate each and every one of them.