Products and services review sites are proliferating at an incredible pace. And everyone and anyone is a potential critic. Today’s consumers are savvy and resourceful. When going through the buying process, they reference all of the information they have at their disposal. And online reviews are among the most trusted source of information for today’s web savvy consumer.
Here’s the bottom line: If you’re not listening to customer conversations, your brand is vulnerable. Social media proof of performance, based on peer-to-peer recommendations of products and services, is a powerful way to persuade potential customers.
Here are 4 ways to manage the various types of reviews you will likely encounter, so you can better manage your online reputation:
1. Four star reviews. There are very few 5 star reviews because most people who post reviews always have one little niggle they have to comment on. One little, itsy-bitsy thing that if the manufacturer/business got right, well, we’d have died and gone to heaven.
This is actually a great opportunity for you. You should craft a respectful, thoughtful reply, acknowledging the reviewer’s concern and how you are going to correct it, update with a fix, or otherwise address what they perceive as a flaw. Don’t worry, no one will fault you for not having a perfect product, but you will demonstrate to potential new customers that you’re listening and responsive to their feedback. Everyone likes to be listened to. That means they’re being taken seriously.
2. Third party reviews. By third party reviews, I mean reviews from websites that might specialize in the category your product or service falls under. Whether it is a hobbyist website or a recognized publication, you want to immediately be prepared to blast positive reviews from recognized/legitimate reviewers across your social media universe.
Additionally, always contact the reviewer to thank them for their insights and perhaps discuss in more detail any concerns they might have had. This is your opportunity to build a relationship with an influencer.
3. Comparison Reviews. A lot of reviews will stack competitive products up against each other and break down features and benefits in a ranking-style process. These reviews will highlight the positives and negatives of the various products.
Again, this is an opportunity to comment on or contact the reviewer to clarify any misinformation or to thank them for their positive comments, as well as to build relationships. You should take the positive highlights and blast them out into your social media universe. Use pull quotes from the positive comments on your website and in your other marketing materials.
4. Bad reviews. Inaccurate reviews. Yes, you are going to get bludgeoned every once in a while. Sometimes you will deserve it. If your team drops the ball and screws up, you need to address it – and promptly. Don’t try to fight an online bad review; deal with it like a professional and move on.
That being said, an inaccurate review is a different matter. You’ll want to professionally point out any misinformation the reviewer wrote about and ask them to clarify their review. Perhaps the customer misused your product or didn’t understand how to make things work or failed to read the instruction manual. If you approach an inaccurate article as a professional, you stand a good chance of having the reviewer revisit the review and make any and all needed corrections.