There’s power in the phrase “show, don’t tell.” While what you say is important, what you do also matters – especially when it comes to customer service.
Showing a high level of customer service (not just saying that you offer good customer service) is a fundamental part of running a successful business. One way to show customer service is through online reviews.
The Case for Online Reviews
Online reviews not only gives customers an opportunity to share their experiences and voice their opinions, online reviews provide you, as the business owner, an opportunity for your voice to be heard.
And everyone is listening. In fact, studies show that online review sites are leading to purchasing decisions and that business response is vital. One “Harvard Business Review” study found that when businesses respond to reviews, they can raise their ratings.
We recommend that you respond to reviews, whether good or bad. Let people know that you are listening and that you want their opinion.
Responding to Good Reviews: Customer Service Out Loud
We are all busy. Home responsibilities, work responsibilities and family life can keep us all running at a top pace. If you have a customer who stopped and took the time to leave a complimentary review online, then say “thank you.”
Saying “thank you” is part of relationship building with your customers. Ultimately, your goal should be to foster and grow brand ambassadors for your company and the services that you provide. Afterall, we all know how powerful word of mouth can be and having customers speak highly of your company is a win-win. According to a Nielsen study, 92 percent of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over other forms of advertising.
Saying “thank you” shows your appreciation to more than just the person who left the review. Anyone who is reading that review can see that you responded, and your response can send a signal to that person that you care about what your customers think and feel.
So, say “thank you” from time to time. (In fact, one study related to TripAdvisor and hotels, shows you don’t need to respond to every review). The occasional thank you certainly speaks volumes – not just to the person who left the review but to those who are reading those reviews.
Responding to Bad Reviews: Customer Service Still Out Loud
Bad reviews make us all cringe. However, handling bad reviews is also an opportunity for you to show your high level of customer service when it is needed most.
Here are some tips to responding to a bad review:
Stop, Think and Breath
First, access the feedback internally. In other words, take a step back, take a deep breath and don’t respond when you are heated. Calm down before responding. This will help you see the response objectively and be able to respond more clearly and less emotional.
Call a Friend
Second, have a co-worker or employee evaluate your response before posting. Getting the opinion of a third party – someone who cares about your company and brand image – can help ensure that you are justified in your response. Make sure that your response doesn’t evoke strong negative emotion in your comrade first. This is a good sign that you are being fair and equitable.
When it comes to your response, apologize – even when you don’t think you did anything wrong. As Forbes Magazine writes, “The reviewer’s experience is their own.” It’s how they feel. And sympathy can go a long way in defusing a situation.
Address the Concern Directly
We recommend that, in your response, you also address the primary concern the reviewer expressed. This shows the reviewer that you read his or her comments and shows that you are paying attention.
Move the situation offline. This is key. Rarely will you be able to completely resolve a reviewer’s unfortunate experience and negative feelings. Don’t get into a public back-and-forth debate. Instead, provide contact information and ask them to call you so that you can try to make everything right again.
Keep it Short
Keep your reply short. Don’t elaborate because that can come across as being defensive. Don’t ask follow-up questions online either because that can cause further upset. Your goal should be to make the reviewer aware that you read and understood their concern, that you apologized for their experience and that you want to talk to them offline. Leave it that simple.
For examples of this, check out this Forbes story.
Online reviews offer you the opportunity to showcase a high quality of customer service to those who are reading reviews. They help create brand ambassadors among your customers and can assist with word of mouth marketing. Be sure to engage with those willing to take the time to leave a review. Your business can benefit from it.