How to respond to customer feedback: positive and negative

 

Customer feedback is an important part of your business. Positive feedback helps retain old customers and attract new ones, as well as increase brand awareness. Negative feedback (or feedback with suggestions) helps improve service and lets customers know that you care about their opinions. More than half of customers make a final purchase decision after reading reviews about a product, service or company.

In this article we’ll tell you how to answer the reviews, and separately describe with examples how to answer positive and negative reviews. We’ll also tell you how to find out about new reviews and react to them in time.

How to properly respond to feedback

FEEDBACK Concept with icons and signs

The main points which concern the correct response to positive and negative reviews:

Don’t create fake reviews that you will then respond to yourself. And even more so, don’t entrust this work to freelancers who know nothing about your company or product.

First of all, such reviews are immediately visible (no matter how hard the copywriter tries). Secondly, if the client will take a fake story, and then will not receive the expected, he will write a real negative feedback. Even more, he will accuse you of ordering paid reviews. Thirdly, this is simply unfair to other customers.

Rather than fake reviews, it’s better to motivate your customers to leave real ones. This can be done in three ways:

  • Improving the quality of products, services, and customer care;
  • Offering a discount on their next purchase or a bonus;
  • sending e-mails with an offer to leave a review.

 

If you’re in the mood to write reviews for customers, read our guide on how to write reviews on behalf of customers. This can help you in the initial stage of promoting your business, when no one knows you yet. Sometimes people are wary of shopping at stores without reviews and ratings.

– Try not to use templates in your responses. Of course, it all depends on whether you have the time and ability to respond to reviews (there can be a lot of them). But agree, if one thread of reviews has one answer for each one: “Thank you for your feedback, have a nice day!”, you may get the impression that the answer is a robot.

– Make it a rule to respond to feedback as quickly as possible. Again, it depends on your workload. If time is short, then you should respond to the most important calls first. For example, when the client needs help with solving a problem and thereby close the negative. Agree, if the review is written in summer, and you respond in winter, then most likely, the author of the review has long forgotten about you, and the appeal is no longer relevant.

– Assign someone to be responsible for the feedback. If there are too many reviews, and you have the opportunity to hire an employee. At the same time, it is important that he is aware of the company and knows everything about the products. A remote freelancer who has never seen your product is unlikely to be up to the task.

– Delegate to a PR agency. If you have a large business and new reviews appear almost every 5 minutes, then the work with the image and reviews is better to outsource to professionals.

– Sometimes you can use creativity and humor. Where it is appropriate. Creative feedback and responses with humor are memorable and have a viral effect, which helps attract new customers. The key is not to go overboard.

– Write personalized reviews. Address them by name and mention details. People will know you’re not just writing off a template, but that you’re getting to the heart of what you’re writing and appreciating each customer.

– Add a marketing component to your response. Where the situation allows. For example, you can offer a discount or tell about a promotion in response to an appeal.

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– Don’t ignore negative feedback. Even if you know the review is fake. They can ruin your reputation and lower your company’s profits.

Responding to positive customer reviews

Some entrepreneurs believe that it is not necessary to respond to positive reviews, because the customer has already made a purchase, and the review will not bring new money. This is a mistake. Competent responses to positive reviews can make one-time customers permanent, as well as attract new ones.

Recommendations on how you should and shouldn’t respond to positive reviews:

How to respond

Thank the customer for the positive review with their name.

Offer to visit your establishment again or make a purchase.

Show that you are pleased with the feedback from the customer.

Add the details mentioned in the review in your response. This way you make it clear that the response is written by a real employee of the company. Example – the client writes a review about a particular employee. The company representative, in turn, mentions that employee in the response message.

Give a compliment. This will amuse the client’s ego and endear him to your company. For example, if he had his hair done at your place and posted a review with a photo, you can add in response that his hair suits him very well. Or another example, a customer posted pictures of a product in a review. The brand rep thanked him for them and noted that the photos were awesome.

If you can, please let me know how things are going. For example, in this response to the review, the brand representative promises to resolve it within 48 hours.

You can include the name of the specific employee with whom you spoke in the signature of the response. This is how you show your customers that you are not avoiding their feedback, and that you are prepared to take responsibility for your words.

How not to respond

Leave the same response under feedback that you receive in a row.

Say that you responded in person. This makes you force potential customers to take unnecessary actions. Reply directly below the testimonial.

Send the person for an answer to the site, mail, hotline. In addition to the previous point. If the person wrote a review or question on the site – he expects to get an answer there, not to repeat his question by phone or write a new letter.

Respond with a few words. If the client took the time to write a detailed review, it would be correct to respond in the same manner.

Address the customer as you. Even if the customer has broken the chain of command, or if he or she is your friend, it’s still wise for the brand ambassador to remain in business correspondence.

Ignore questions. In this example, the question may have been addressed to the author of the post, not the company. But if the representative of the brand carefully read the thread and answered the question, it would only be a plus for him. Now the thread looks as if the employee was inattentive or deliberately ignored a potential customer’s question.

Responses to negative customer reviews

Three types of negative feedback can be distinguished:

  • The customer is dissatisfied, and he or she is right;
  • The customer is dissatisfied, and he’s wrong;
  • Feedback is fake. It is written by trolls, or competitors have ordered black PR on you. That is, the story is fictional, and the one who wrote it is not your client.

 

Let’s look at how to respond to each of these three types of negative feedback. The first thing you should learn is to try to respond politely and with restraint to any trash talk. Don’t take the negativity personally, especially if it’s directed at the company, not you as an employee. Try to look at the negative situation through the eyes of the customer.

Now be more specific:

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The customer is unhappy, and he is right

What to do – apologize for the inconvenience and correct the mistake. Write off that the issue is resolved. It will be good if the client will also unsubscribe that the problem is solved. You can also indicate what measures have been taken in connection with his appeal.

A good option is to offer compensation if the error really occurred through the company’s fault, for example, to give a larger discount on the next purchase or send a gift to the customer.

You can also show that you are upset that the customer has encountered difficulties – psychologically this works well for the customer. An example of such a response:

To smooth out the negativity helps to answer in a friendly manner. For example, this is how the employees of Yota Internet service provider communicate. An example of a response to negative feedback about low Internet speeds in a village:

The customer is not happy, and he is not right.

What to do – calmly provide counterarguments without emotions and exclamation points. So that the external reader on the review and your response to understand that the customer is not right and the negative is not justified.

Example – the customer bought an electronic thermometer, which should be used by putting it to his forehead. But the person put it to his armpit and accused the company that the thermometer is lying. Brand representative calmly explains to the customer that the electronic and mercury thermometers work on different principles and the electronic one needs to be placed on the forehead to measure accurately.

P.S. There are often biased reviews. When a client is on the one hand, right, but on the other, it is his personal experience that does not apply to other customers.

Example – a person ordered a cake for children with cottage cheese cream, expecting to taste cheesecake. And didn’t read the description that the cake is made for children and that’s why there’s cottage cheese cream. On the one hand, it was the customer’s own fault for not reading the description carefully. On the other hand, the representative of the company competently closed the unsuccessful experience of the customer with arguments and advice. Such a review with an answer will not scare away potential customers, but on the contrary will attract them.

Another example – the customer was not satisfied with the face mask. A brand representative responded to a negative review with a recommendation of what mask this particular customer should try, taking into account his skin type. In this way, you show customers (real and potential) that you are a professional and are willing to deal with each situation individually.

Feedback is fake

This is the most disgusting kind of negative feedback, but almost no company is without it. It is best to remove these reviews, but not all of them, so that you are not accused of cleaning up reviews later. Some of them still need to be answered. In addition, on some sites you simply do not have the ability to remove the review and must respond to it. Completely ignoring the negativity and falsehoods can be very damaging to your reputation.

What to do – ask clarifying questions, such as the order number, what exactly was ordered, when.

By the way, one of the clear signs of a fake review is an abundance of exclamation points and words written in caps lock. They are also often lacking in specifics (for example, it does not say what exactly you bought or what you were dissatisfied with), but the name of the company is sure to be there.

Usually after clarifying questions “the client” disappears or answers all the same vaguely without specifics. After checking the information, if it is not confirmed, it is worth indicating this in the response to the review, so that other people can see. You can also contact the administration of the review site to have them mark the review as unconfirmed.

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Example

A brand representative asked to send a photo of the receipt or product to sort out the situation, but the customer didn’t. Because of this, the brand representative wrote that the customer could not be identified, so the review is questionable. Most likely, it’s custom-made.

In addition to clarifying questions, you can make ironclad counterarguments if the “client” is blatantly lying in his review or misunderstood the service. After reading the negative feedback and the company’s response, it becomes clear that the client had fantasized and expected a magical effect from the paid service, which cannot be promised.

Sometimes you can add some humor, but here you need to be very careful so that the other clients do not take it as mockery or aggression. Such answers become memes and attract attention to the company due to the viral effect.

You don’t need to show open aggression, even if you really want to, and the client is 100% wrong. If you see that the review is fake, you shouldn’t give in to your emotions either. This may scare away potential clients who won’t understand if the review is real or not, and who is actually right. But they will definitely notice your aggression.

Where and how to track reviews

Search manually in search and social media.

You can use this method when you don’t have many customers yet. Enter your company name into search engines and social networks and look for reviews. The advantage of this method is that it is free. Minus – it takes a lot of time and you can’t always get a response promptly.

Create your own site for reviews

For example, make a separate section on your site where you can leave reviews. Also, make sure that your official social media pages are open for comments. Encourage users to leave reviews on these specific sites. When customer feedback is concentrated in one place, it’s easier to track. But this method still does not exclude the fact that reviews for your company will appear on otzovik sites.

Register on review sites and business directories

Register as a representative of the business on Google My Business and similar sites. Usually these sites receive notifications of new reviews in your personal account and you can quickly respond to them.

Track mentions and marks on social networks

We’ve already written about allowing customers to write reviews and suggestions on your official social networking pages. But customers can also write in groups and on their own pages. If you get tagged in a post or storis on Instagram, VKontakte, or Facebook, a notification will come.

How to track reviews on social networks

Use special services to track mentions

This is the smartest option in terms of saving time and automating business processes. Here are a few such services:

YouScan – a service for tracking mentions on social networks. Notifications come in real time, which means that you can react instantly.

IQBuzz – for tracking mentions in social networks and online media. Has its own database of sources, you can add any resource, such as a regional forum.

Google Alerts – a free service from Google.

Important: if you do not have the resources to respond to all reviews, prioritize them. Respond where people see more reviews and where they write about you most often. For example, if the main flow of reviews falls on social networks and the site Zoon, then you should answer there in the first place.

Conclusion

Working with reviews is as important as working on product quality and improving service. A couple of negative mentions that you don’t respond to in time can really “damage your reputation” and go viral online. Positive reviews can be used to increase loyalty, promote promotions and advertise special offers.

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