To Respond or Not to Respond

Businessman Kevin O’Leary (you probably know him from ABC’s Shark Tank) hits the nail on the head when addressing the topic of online reviews. In times past, if someone had an issue with your product or service, their best source of expression was to call customer service. Today, he points out, that’s all changed. If someone isn’t happy with your business, they go online and, as O’Leary says, they “go nuts.”

Reputations can be ruined or severely damaged by negative customer feedback that’s there for all the world to see. How you respond, or even IF you respond, matters.

Businesses typically take one of two approaches:

  1. They don’t respond, hoping the negative feedback will eventually be buried by other reviews or forgotten altogether.
  2. They respond in a generic way, asking the reviewer to contact them in an offline forum.

BOTH approaches are, on some level, incorrect.

In almost every case, it’s important to respond. Consumer surveys show that businesses who ignore online reviews (especially negative ones) are less trusted than businesses that respond. HOW they respond, however, matters just as much.

It’s a good idea to take a conversation with a customer offline. No one wants to read a back and forth between an angry consumer and a business. With that said, they also don’t want to read a generic response that sounds cold and distant. When responding to online reviews, WARMTH is important.

Here at Bell, we call it the “I hear you and I see you” approach.

Remember, online review responses aren’t just seen by the reviewer. They’re seen by everyone who looks at your business profile. When a response is thoughtful, warm and shows that you care about resolving whatever situation has been addressed, customers NOTICE.

Agencies like ours offer review response management to our clients because we know you’re often too busy to give each review the attention it needs. We offer well-written, effective responses that reflect the voice and personality of your business.

In a world where, as O’Leary points out, anyone can “go nuts” at anytime, we’d love to be your partner on this important business front.

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