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Responding to Online Reviews: Be Nice and Don't Get Personal.

Google Employee
# 1
Google Employee

Online reviews help your small business reach back-to-school shoppers. For the next two weeks, we're sharing tips for how you can best respond to customer reviews. Find out more here.

 

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How does your small business deal with online reviews? 

 

4 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Responding to Online Reviews: Be Nice and Don't Get Personal.

[ Edited ]
Google Small Business Advisor
# 2
Google Small Business Advisor

Great suggestion, @DalilahA! It's so important to remember that our negative emotional responses to reviews are not customer-focused. Great customer experiences bring past, current, and future customers back to our offices and stores.

 

When a customer has a negative experience, you have the best opportunity on your shop's doorstep! You can make a bad-mouthing customer into a brand advocate, if you play your cards right. This is the time to address the user publicly ("How can we help fix this? Touch base with me directly and we'll get this solved."), solve the problem (by almost any means) offline, and then ask the customer to re-review you online. You don't need to say, "Please change your review to five stars now." But, you would say something similar to, "Now that we've made this right, we'd really appreciate you to re-review us online so other folks can know that we are committed to you, our customers, and making things right. [link to G+ page]." If the customer doesn't re-review or change their review, after a reasonable period of time, then you can always comment on the review stating similarly, "@Customer - We hope the [way we solved the problem] was satisfactory. We aim to make customers happy, even when we things don't go exactly right. We look forward to helping you again with our [product or service.]"

 

This implicature sends the proper message that online reviewing should be about fairness to both sides of the transaction: business and customer.

 

N.B.: When customers are wrong (and they are on occasion), be polite and state the facts publicly (without impeaching the customer). Then, leave it alone. Let the customer "flare," and everyone who's ever seen a person conduct themselves irrationally in public will understand that that's not a poor reflection on your brand. You've done what you need to do.


Ray Sidney-Smith

W3 Consulting

Re: Responding to Online Reviews: Be Nice and Don't Get Personal.

Google Employee
# 3
Google Employee

@Ray S, I love the idea of asking a disgruntled customer to consider re-writing the review once the business has solved or addressed the issue. Since you can't remove negative reviews, this is great way to shift the conversation. 

Re: Responding to Online Reviews: Be Nice and Don't Get Personal.

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Couldn't agree more we always advise to take the conversation OFF line to come up with a resolution, then posting again once you have resolved the issue.

Re: Responding to Online Reviews: Be Nice and Don't Get Personal.

Google Employee
# 5
Google Employee

Excellent advice, @Ray S! What do you think is the best method for a business owner to reach out to an upset customer? I've noticed that many business owners will comment directly on the review and share an email address for support. That's certainly most common for restaurants (for example), but do you think that businesses who have customer information such as email or phone number should try to contact them first via those means, or instead just go with reply w/ email as well?

Re: Responding to Online Reviews: Be Nice and Don't Get Personal.

Google Small Business Advisor
# 6
Google Small Business Advisor

@Brielle B,

 

Good question! Normally, I encourage clients to have a public-facing customer service email address (pleasereply@businessname.com or help@businessname.com or something friendly and branded). So, then they can comment with that email address to be contacted directly from the review.

 

However, I highly encourage clients to make sure they are capturing clients' email addresses (and/or phone numbers), so in a negative review circumstance, you can do a quick search of your contacts database and email/phone them concurrently with your comment that you want to resolve the poor experience with your business. I would always rather a company be actively engaged in righting a situation gone wrong than the customer having to go the extra step of emailing them to get the ball rolling.

 

Ray Sidney-Smith

Re: Responding to Online Reviews: Be Nice and Don't Get Personal.

Top Contributor Alumni
# 7
Top Contributor Alumni

 Definitely, you don't want to get caught up in a flame war  that will then go on your "permanent record"  in your  Business reviews where all the world Can see it