Negative reviews and comments are the nemeses of every business owner. However, the most important reason to reply to online comments – whether they are good, bad, or ugly – is not to satisfy the author but to influence the other people who are reading the comments. The majority of readers refrain from commenting but they are paying attention to what has been said and how a company responds to customer complaints.
Here are a few rules of thumb when responding to online reviews:
- Be short, sweet, and professional: Remember that the best defense is a good offense! Rather than defend your character by blaming the reviewer or making excuses, take a professional approach. Apologize for their unfortunate experience and offer an opportunity to make it up to them. Social media is no place to air dirty laundry keep the conversation to a minimum.
- Make the most of the input: Companies pay big money for consumer research. Pay attention to the information that you collect from customers. It may be difficult to hear the negative comments but it is important to learn from them.
- Be aware of your audience: Remember that there are many people who are reading your responses. This is an opportunity for you to showcase diplomacy, customer service, and subsequently build trust with your customer base.
- Pay a Professional: Consider hiring a social media manager or assign a capable person to monitor social media sites and make timely replies that reflect a consistent voice and message.