It’s no secret to businesses that online customer reviews are an important aspect of marketing in the era of Google. In fact, 6 in 10 consumers look to Google for customer reviews when deciding to make a purchase. Even more important, 91 percent of consumers ages 18 to 34, the age with the most buying power, trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
So it’s no surprise that marketing departments try to entice customers to leave positive reviews. And getting a positive review should be getting easier. According to ReviewTrackers survey, reviews are becoming increasingly positive and leaning away from being an easy place for unhappy customers to vent.
That’s good news, right? Yes, except businesses are not maximizing on the impact of an online review. Similar to social media, online customer reviews are a place to deepen your brand by interacting with your customers directly. So let’s talk about the reasons why a business should reply to reviews, both negative and positive.
The negative customer review
It’s inevitable, no business can escape the unhappy customer. Some reviews are legitimate airing of grievances left unaddressed or ignored, while some reviews might be a troll looking to rail against someone. However, it’s not for a business to decide the intent behind the review.
Instead, a company needs to reply and address the stated concern. Here’s why – negative reviews push away customers. More so now than ever before. In fact, 91 percent of surveyed consumers say a negative review has convinced them to not buy from a company. On top of that, 53 percent of customers expect a business to reply to negative reviews.
Yet 63 percent state a business has never replied.
While some businesses might take the high road approach, ignoring negative attention if they believe themselves in the right, consumers do not see it that way. According to Brightlocal, 89 percent of consumers read business responses to reviews.
Listen to your reviews for valid concerns and address them. This is an opportunity to build bridges to your customers. If the review is accurate, potential customers will see you are a business who values them and will take necessary steps to correct any issues. If the review is off the mark, educate the public about your processes, your business and turn the review into a free marketing opportunity.
Most importantly, use a writer to draft replies. Otherwise, a bad situation might turn out worse in the minds of current and potential customers.
The positive customer review
Okay, so you reply to negative reviews, and the work is done. Not so quickly. Not replying to positive reviews is a huge missed opportunity. It all comes back to making your customers feel valued.
Psychology plays heavily into our decisions, including brand loyalty. And one of the best ways to deepen brand loyalty is to be personable with your customers. People bond to people, not businesses. Instead of using customer reviews only as SEO tools to advertise your business, use positive reviews as a dialogue with your customers.
The increased engagement from you will increase engagement from them. Including word of mouth promotion of your business.
Plus, responding to positive reviews can help minimize any negative reviews. Instead of seeing a business who only responds to a PR problem, potential consumers will see a business who values their customers and engages with interest.
At the end of the day, replying to both positive and negative customer reviews will strengthen the free marketing your business is getting. However, just a warning: combative negative review replies will backfire, as will canned positive review replies. As in all things human, the best way to approach customers is to be genuine.