Consumers have long relied on advice and recommendation from others before making important purchasing decisions. Today, we have access to more information than ever when it comes to spending our money on a certain product or service. That’s why successful management of your brand’s online ratings and reviews is critical to protecting your online reputation.
According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, 40% of U.S. adults say they always read online customer ratings or reviews before purchasing items for the first time. Reading online reviews is most common among consumers under 50, with 53% of 18- to 29-year-olds and 47% of 30- to 49-year-olds saying they always or almost always read online reviews.
Managing your online ratings and reviews should be a major element of your long-term marketing and public relations strategy. It’s often important to respond to not only the positive ratings and reviews, but to the negative ones, too.
So how should you respond to online ratings and reviews? We have a few pointers:
Communication is key
It can be tempting to simply ignore all negative reviews and ratings. However, experts suggest it’s more effective to respond to criticism than trying to ignore it – or worse, firing back. Try to customize your responses and add personal touches to your messages, especially when responding to negative online ratings and reviews. If you’re dealing with a negative review on Facebook or another social media platform, you also have the option to respond to the user in a private message. Mention that you appreciate their feedback and ask follow-up questions or apologize if necessary. By incorporating a personal touch to your customer relations and responding with care, even the most negative reviewers may change their tune.
Showcase positive reviews
Don’t forget to show a little appreciation to the customers who give your business rave reviews! Be sure to thank reviewers for their feedback and share their content in your social streams, newsletter, and website. You can even go the extra mile by sending your fans a small gift like a branded t-shirt or coffee mug. It’s a quick and easy way to reinforce positive behavior and encourage devoted fans to participate.
Recognize when it’s time to get help
It’s relatively easy for negative online reviews to spiral out of control, especially if you’re trying to manage your online presence on your own. If online ratings and reviews are a problem, consider seeking help from professionals to protect your online reputation. A solid digital communications program can help you address negative reviews effectively and garner more positive feedback from customers.
Could your business use help creating a more positive online presence? Contact the marketing experts at the Ohlmann Group for assistance with brand reputation and management, public relations strategy and digital communications – we’d love to help!