In the early days of the internet, all you needed as a small business owner was a website. This alone kept you competitive, while giving prospects a place to learn more about your products and services.
While a website is still important, there are many other things you need in order to achieve success online.
For example, it’s imperative that you do whatever it takes to generate positive online reviews, as a large number of consumers trust these just as much as personal recommendations.
As you take steps to generate more online reviews (hopefully those that are positive), you also need a plan for responding to each and every one.
Here are several reasons why responding to reviews should be a big part of your online marketing strategy:
1. To Fix a Problem
While you hope that every review is positive, you know there will come a time when a customer leaves negative feedback. It’s all part of being a small business owner.
When this happens, you should immediately jump in and offer a resolution. This can be as simple as apologizing to the customer and asking him or her to contact you directly via phone or email.
You may be tempted to ignore the review altogether – especially if you don’t agree – but this isn’t the right approach.
2. To Provide Your Side of the Story
This doesn’t mean you should shoot down the reviewer’s concerns in an arrogant manner. It does mean you should be open and honest in providing the person with your take on the matter.
For example, a bad restaurant review could be the result of poor service, such as a long wait time for the food to arrive.
You don’t want to downplay what went wrong, but you should feel compelled to provide your side of the story. Maybe your restaurant was short a cook due to an emergency. Or maybe a piece of equipment broke down.
Don’t make excuses or tell the person they are wrong. Simply state the facts and then go about fixing the problem. This will show others that you truly care about your customers.
3. To Say Thanks and Welcome the Person Back
Many small business owners get into the habit of only responding to negative reviews. This is important, but you also want to pay attention to those who enjoyed their experience.
Take the time to thank your customers and to welcome them back in the future. This is a natural extension of the great service that you’ve already provided.
There is no two ways about it. Responding to online reviews – both good and bad – is an absolute must. You need to get into the habit of doing this.
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