Always Respond to Customer Reviews.
Social Media Examiner wrote a great article on dealing with upset Facebook fans. The seven tips they list out can be applied to any social network or blog. I could recreate their post, but it's not necessary. They hit the nail on head, and here's why.
The Smartest Thing You Can Do Is Respond.
Social Media Examiner says that the number one thing you should do when dealing with upset fans is to respond. I couldn't agree more with their advice. As a consumer myself, I think more highly of businesses who respond to comments or reviews, than those who don't.
It's incredibly awesome when big name companies like Coca- Cola responds to your Tweets. It makes them appear more personal, and goes to show that they care for their consumers and are listening.
On the flip side, when a consumer writes a bad review for all the world to see, it's important as a business to address it. Sometimes all the consumer wants is to be heard. By responding, you are opening the doors for the issue to be resolved. In some cases, you might even be able to turn a disgruntled, one-time customer into a lifelong customer - simply because you responded.
By working to correct the issue the consumer had with your business, you are demonstrating your integrity and building a strong reputation - not only with the consumer, but with your future consumers. As new consumers research your products and services, they will see that your business takes the time to respond to comments. They will see the human side of your business.
Taking the Bad with the Good.
I often hear "I only want reviews if they are good". Right. And I only want ice cream on a hot summer day, only if it doesn't melt. There is a big part of us that feels exposed when we have a "bad" review written about our business. Our first instinct is to want to take it down. Our second instinct is to get defensive. My advice, and Social Media Examiner also advises, to avoid doing either. Good or bad, customer reviews as a whole play a big part of how consumers make purchase decisions. If you want good reviews, you will have to take a few under the chin, knowing that not every customer will be 100% satisfied 100% of the time.
We often forget to put ourselves in our consumers' shoes. We forget how we, ourselves, make buying decisions. For example, I was researching a TV wall mount for my living room a couple weeks ago. I narrowed it down to two wall mounts. Both were in my price range. Each was a little bit different as far as style and design. Naturally, I read the reviews to see what other consumers thought of the product after they bought it. Even though Amazon does a great job with returns, I didn't want to go through the hassle of opening it, putting it together only to realize it wouldn't work.
The reviews played a big part in my purchasing decision. There were tips from consumers that weren't listed in the product description. Did the negative reviews play a part in my decision? Yes, of course. In the end, I felt like I had made an educated buying decision. I weighed the pros and cons, and I took into consideration all the reviews - good and bad.
It's hard to take the "bad" reviews. It is. It may simply a disgruntled customer, or someone who always seems to have a bad day, or they may have just really had a bad experience with your business. Regardless, it is what you do with that bad review, and how you respond - yes, you should respond! So next time you get a bad customer review, take a deep breath, listen and respond accordingly.