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How to Manage Online Customer Reviews

Do you want to know how to earn positive customer feedback? Our guide to getting more great customer reviews will tell you all you need to know to get the ball rolling.

In the Age of Information, it’s no secret that consumers place an enormous amount of value in the opinions of their peers.

Customer reviews are essential to the ongoing success of any brand. In fact, a whopping nine out of 10 people read online reviews before committing to a product or service.

Positive reviews speak for themselves: a glowing testimonial or rating from a customer will shine your brand in its best light—and will help build trust, boost brand awareness, and drive more consumers to your business.

But, in our hyper-connected digital landscape, you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth. No matter who you are or how good a service you offer, negative and even fake reviews will come your way.

There’s no use in covering them up, especially given the fact that 60% of consumers will avoid a brand that censors their online reviews.

For your marketing and communications to hold any weight, transparency is key. And, that means dealing with public customer reviews that are negative or even fake.

Here we’re going to look at the good, the bad, and the fake world of online reviews, offering tips and resources on how you can tackle them or use them to your business-boosting advantage.

1. How to manage good customer reviews

When you get a good review, your brand will benefit from positive press, instantly. Online reviews actually influence 67.7% of buying decisions.

But, good reviews are, well, good for business—and you can really maximize their value even more.

Use your reviews for social proof

Typically, humans will conform to the actions or suggestions of others, often based on their reviews or referrals—that’s social proof in a nutshell.

Customer reviews or testimonials are one of the most potent forms of social proof. So, if you display your best online reviews in the right places, you’re likely to build consumer trust, attract more people to your business, and enjoy a healthy level of commercial growth.

To maximize your good online reviews with a good old dollop of social proof, here are a few tips:

  • Add testimonials, reviews, and ratings to your paid ad communications to validate your performance as a brand and encourage more engagement.

  • Place a review tab or widget to your website so people can view your positive reviews and feedback with ease. Make them almost impossible to miss!

  • Share positive consumer testimonials along with attention-grabbing imagery across your most-engaged social media platforms.

Publish positive testimonials on your website where necessary. Your homepage, about us page, product pages, and landing pages are good places to throw positive customer quotes or feedback into the mix.

Earn more positive customer reviews

Another way to maximize from good customer reviews is to earn more of them. Not only will your customer feedback serve as vital data for improving your communications and service, but the better the reviews you get, the more you will benefit.

From signing up to popular review platforms to incentivizing your customers to leave reviews across platforms in exchange for free shipping or a discount code, there are many ways you can earn additional positive feedback.

2. How to tackle negative customer reviews

We’ve covered how to make the most of positive online reviews, now let’s look at the murkier waters of tackling negative customer reviews.

You might be surprised to learn that when someone comes across a bad review, they will spend around five times longer exploring or browsing the website.

Deal with your negative reviews the right way and not only will you show everyone how dedicated you are to your customers, but you could also turn an unhappy customer into a loyal brand advocate (at the very least, you’ll resolve the issue and avoid any real brand damage).

Here’s what to do.

Be swift, be approachable. Get to the heart of the issue

No matter what the customers say or what the issue is, you should always aim to reply to bad reviews testimonials as quickly as possible and in an approachable, friendly tone.

You should never leave a bad review lingering in the digital air or try to sweep it under the virtual carpet—doing so will make your brand seem trustworthy and harm your reputation.

To deal with negative customer reviews effectively, you should respond personally, leading with an apology across any public channel. In a nutshell, you need to take ownership of the situation, or it will own you.

How to respond to negative customer reviews

  • Apologize, empathize, and own the issue (in that order) at the start of your response. This approach will humanize your brand and help to disarm the disgruntled customer, leaving them open to a reasonable resolution.

  • Be professional yet conversational to ensure your response is approachable and most importantly, personal. Try to respond to every customer by their name.

  • Always offer a practical resolution to your customer’s issue and thank the negative reviewer for their feedback.

  • Track your online presence with platforms that will offer updates each time you receive a review or person that mentions your brand name online. This will help respond—and tackle—any negative online reviews quickly.

3. How to deal with fake customer reviews

What’s more frustrating than a stream of negative reviews? Being plagued with fake reviews—ratings and testimonials that are completely fabricated.

As unjust as fake reviews may be, they do exist—and it’s likely you’ll have to deal with them from time to time.

Fraudulent reviews can be as damaging as negative feedback, but by knowing how to spot them (the key traits of fake reviews or reviewers), you’ll be able to provide a suitable public response while appealing to get them removed from the platform in question. Here are the common traits of fake online reviews:

  1. They lack any real detail and are vague or generic

  2. They are far more heavy on verbs than nouns

  3. They use lots of first-person pronouns like “I” or “me” to sound sincere

  4. They are usually given either a five or a one-star rating

  5. The reviewer has a track record of leaving lots of reviews using different tones of voice or in different languages across lots of different platforms. Or, they have no review history at all.

From Twitter and Facebook to Yelp and Amazon, each platform will have its own review flagging or appeals process—knowing these in advance will help you deal with the issue as swiftly as possible. Read on for further advice on how to report them to Google.

Dealing with online reviews can be a tricky business, but handled with care and a certain sense of urgency, you’ll not only preserve your brand reputation—you also stand a solid chance of strengthening your consumer bonds.

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