No matter what you do, it's impossible to be loved by everyone. The same holds true for a business. No matter what, there will always be haters, complainers and people who want to publicly share their bad experiences. It can hurt to have something negative said about you, but the worst thing you can do is delete the review, ignore the review, or respond in a defensive or rude manner. If handled well, you can actually turn a reviewer (both bad and good) into a loyal customer.
Besides deleting the review, which you should never do, ignoring it can be one of the worst things a business can do. You would never hang up on a customer service phone call, not respond to an email or ignore a chat session, so why would you ignore a review? With so many outlets to leave comments and reviews, it can be hard to manage all. Setting up Google Alerts, utilizing Talkwaker, claiming your Yelp profile, proactively monitoring social media and promoting your own customer service channels where customers can leave feedback are just a few ways to stay on top of it. Think of a review like a conversation starter. If someone came up to you to start a conversation, regardless of what they said, you wouldn't ignore them right? Everyone likes to feel important, acknowledged and heard. If there is one thing you can do to prevent customer churn, it's respond and make every engagement pro-active, caring and customer-focused.
2. Be Timely
Not only is it important to respond, it's important to do so in a timely manner, especially in today's world. There's nothing that tells your reviewers how much you care about what they have to say than to respond quickly. The quicker you respond, the more likely you are to turn a reviewer into an advocate. Depending on the severity of the situation, the longer an unhappy customer goes unheard, the louder, more angry and more public they can get. Quickly responding to reviews can turn a rant into a rave, a neutral into an advocate and a favorable experience into a repeat customer.
3. Tailor the Response
If you want to win a forever customer, a templated response is not the way to do so. Take advantage of each review and see it as an opportunity to find common ground and build a relationship with the reviewer. Did the reviewer mention how much he or she loved a dish? You can let them know how much you love that dish too or how it's a popular one among customers. Did the reviewer call out a specific associate who provided excellent service? Let them know you'll pass on the praise for a job well done and thank them for their review. When it comes to a negative review, don't underestimate the power of an apology and do whatever you can to defuse the situation. Customers who feel heard and who have developed a sense of affinity for a businesses and its representatives are more likely to be a repeat customer and recommend the business to their friends and family.
4. Invite the Customer to Join You Again
This may seem obvious, but it's something that many businesses aren't taking advantage of. When a customer is taking the time to proactively engage with you, proactively engage back and offer easy channels for customer loyalty. If a customer took the time to review your delivery service, why not include an incentive or invitation in your response for them to use your service again soon. You can be surprised what a simple call to action invitation can do. Even if you have an unhappy customer, apologize for the bad experience and invite the customer back to give your service another try. Ensure them that what went wrong won't happen again, and make sure it doesn't! Then follow up with the customer to make sure the second time was to their liking. If you want a reviewer to turn into a loyal customer, then why not take the obvious route and ask for them to come back?
5. Never Forget True Love
While it's probably instinct to jump on negative reviews and rectify bad experiences, it is just as important and can be just as effective to take note of positive reviews. By leaving a review, consumers are actively reaching out to your business and a thank you or acknowledgement can go a long way. A happy customer doesn't have to give you a shout out or a thumbs up, so appreciate them and thank them for doing so. Not only is it great to hear some kind words amidst channels where people tend to complain, it also helps to build your brand affinity and foster positive views amongst consumers when they see positive words from others in the marketplace and see that your business cares about happy customers.
6. Take the Feedback to Improve
Customers are reaching out to you to tell you how they feel. There is nothing more valuable when it comes to improving the overall customer experience than getting feedback directly from the mouths of your customers. While you have to take some feedback with a grain of salt, you are sitting on a gold mine of customer experiences. Find ways to improve the overall customer experience based upon what your customers are telling you. Take customers' bad experiences and turn them into learning and improvement opportunities for your team. Keep note of loyal customers and use what they are telling you to guide future moves.
Building a great customer experience across all touch points is such an important part of a successful business. By leveraging reviews, you are able to learn more about your customers, rectify bad experiences, thank those who take the time to share their good experiences and overall, build relationships that can turn into customer loyalty. It's important to stay positive, stay professional and stay on top of it no matter what type of review or what is said.
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