Traditionally, both small and big companies depend on the word of mouth of their customers to build a good reputation. With the rise of social media and other instant communication channels, brands need to be conscientiously attentive to building and maintaining their good reputation at all times.
Today’s consumers are researchers by nature and tend to rely on their peers’ experiences, reviews, and recommendations whether they are about restaurants, movies, or mobile apps. In today’s digital world, your online reputation can either kill your business or skyrocket it to success. In fact, according to a study conducted by Power Reviews in 2017, 97% of consumers read online reviews from other users before purchasing a product or service.
Getting positive customer feedback can be difficult, especially when today’s consumers tend to review a product or service only if they have a bad customer experience with the brand. However, when they do offer feedback, whether it is negative or positive your respond will matter a lot in the eyes of the person who leaves the comment and other potential customers who see your response.
While it may be difficult to manage what your customers share about your brand with their friends, you are more empowered to control and solve what they have to say about your business in the digital world. Here are 7 effective ways to respond to customer’s feedback and manage your online reputation wisely:
1. Always be grateful for feedback
Yes, even when you have received a negative review. Feedback is always a good thing for a company regardless it is positive or negative. In fact, many marketers believe that bad reviews can be a good form of marketing as long as you are tactful with your response and know how to use them in your advantage.
Problems can occur and lead to negative customer experience. However, what matters is how you manage the situation and how responsive you are with an effective solution. Customers can understand that not every business or product is perfect all the time. What matter the most to them is how you handle their problem towards a positive result.
Marie Fincher, a head of content at Studicus, explains that each negative or positive online review is a great opportunity to show your customers that you care.
Moreover, while positive feedback lets your business know what are your strengths and what you should keep on doing from now on, negative reviews can be very helpful for improving your products and services which, eventually, leads to business growth. Thus, when answering to your customers’ feedback, always remember to say “thank you” for taking their time to share their thoughts with you.
2. Personalize your response
Personalization is the new golden rule in positive customer experience. People want to feel valued by your company and the fact that you took the time to offer a personalized response to their question or issue will make them feel important for your brand.
A canned message or template is far from satisfying your customer who had a negative experience with your brand. Such a response is very impersonal and makes your business be perceived as any other company on the market that only cares about profit.
If you make an effort to take each of your customer’s messages or reviews and give a personalized answer to each of them, the experience of your customers with your brand will automatically start to be a little bit more positive because you show that you care.
3. Empathize with the customer and apologize for the inconvenience
We all interact with businesses on a daily basis. Whether we go to a restaurant to serve our dinner or purchase a new product, we all expect to have the best customer experience possible. However, it sometimes happens to get disappointed and create a negative opinion towards that business.
When you are responding to your customers’ feedback, especially if it is negative feedback, make sure you put yourself in their shoes. Think about the times when you had high expectations from a brand’s products or services and got disappointed. Show empathy and make sure you don’t forget to apologize for their negative experience with your business.
4. Understand that customer is not always right
Every business has to deal with hard-to-please customers who can leave unjust online reviews that can affect your brand’s reputation. Sometimes, if your customer is not right and you have enough proofs to prove so, you have to defend your business in your response.
However, make sure that your response contains relevant data and proofs that demonstrate that your business is not on fault for their bad experience. Otherwise, it will just seem like you are arguing with a customer because you can’t accept negative feedback.
5. Give detailed solutions and solve the problems
Answering to your customer’s reviews is not good enough to improve your reputation unless your words are relevant to their problems. Saying “Thank you for your feedback” or “we are sorry for your inconvenience” only matter if you also provide them with a detailed solution to the issue they are addressing.
6. Offer compensations for an unpleasant experience
Offering free perks to compensate for your customer’s negative experience with your brand can make them leave the problem behind and look at the brighter side of the situation. You can offer small rewards such as:
- Loyalty points
- Apology gifts
7. Give customers a call to collect more feedback
Sometimes, you may be hoping to get feedback from your customers to know what you should improve about your business. Yet, no new review seems to appear on your social media channels or website.
Thus, sometimes you have to reach out to your audience to ask for feedback and the best way to do it is to give them a call. A phone call talk can help you collect a huge amount of data from your customers and give you a clear idea of how they feel about your brand, products or services. You will most likely hear both negative and positive feedback, so you should better be prepared to understand the possible existing problems and have a good solution for them.
Managing your reputation by effectively responding to your customers’ feedback can go a long way in benefiting your brand by attracting new customers and maintaining your loyal audience.
Answering to your customers’ feedback is key to good customer service, but the manner in which you respond to reviews and comments is even far more important.