To Respond or Not Respond. That Should Not Be A Question.
Because of the internet, the perceived anonymity by users, and some peoples fragile disposition, the age of the keyboard warrior is here to stay. Therefore, it’s of paramount importance for any business to remain aware of their online persona, by monitoring public opinion in the form of reviews. To ignore reviews is synonymous with neglecting your business.
A Response Proves Your Listening
Whether positive or negative, respond to the critics. Good reviews are easy to respond to but don’t make the mistake of using a cookie cutter response. Replying to positive reviews is your opportunity to shine more light on your business. When replying to a positive review tell more of your story. Make it clear why the review is important to you, this will give the reviewer a sense of pride, and make them happy they left the review. It’s no secret when people feel they have contributed, they’re on your team, and no business can have too many cheerleaders.
Embrace The Negativity
Sure, everyone hopes to never get that gut-wrenching, spirit bruising negative comment left on Google. However, if you’re in business long enough, that day will come. When it does, use it to your advantage, and respond. This is a great time to let your customers and prospects know you are human and listening to their concerns. If their review is legitimate, own up to the mistake, and in your reply show your humanity and willingness to make it right. Let the reviewer know how important they are to you and your business and ask for another chance to earn their business. It is crucial that the viewing public witnesses your engagement; it shows you’re managing your business, not just looking to collect pictures of dead presidents.
Take The Witness Stand
It‘s well known a percentage of reviews are by people with malicious intent, and it can be a temptation to respond in a vindictive manner. Well, that would be a huge mistake and make you look like an idiot.
If the review is bogus, and you can prove it, now it’s time to muster all the professionalism and diplomacy you can, while telling the true story. The cliche’ “the customer is always right” is an outdated, worn slick way of thinking. That’s not to say it’s time to put the gloves on, it’s not, however, you have the responsibility to defend your business, your reputation, and your livelihood. You will accomplish it with well thought out, intelligent dialogue, that points to the truth, without coming off like a retaliating keyboard gladiator. Your best course of action is to provide only truthful evidence in a brief, concise, and to the point way, that tells other readers your trustworthy. Trusting those we do business with is a long step to gaining their loyalty.
No Response Equals Guilt
So, you don’t want to take the stand in your own defense? Then who will testify on your behalf? The answer is easy, the testimony that has already been entered into evidence. If the only witness is the writer of the review, the jury (your prospects/customers) will not need much time to reach a verdict. Your business will be found guilty and sentenced to not growing your customer base because of the lack of your involvement in managing your online reputation.
Your Attention Is Required
I’m not too fond of telling someone what they need to do, but, YOU NEED TO pay attention to your online reputation, the same way you do your bank account. They may be closer linked than you realize.
Kerry T Crane
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