Sometimes it feels a lot like reviews are either fantastic or dreadful. There is very little middle ground since most reviewers are only writing a review because they have a strong opinion.

Though it would be easy to ignore these reviews, small businesses should make sure that they engage with these customers and make the most of the review process. Even a customer who has had a dreadful experience of your business can be helpful to you if you respond properly.

Respond to Positive Reviews

You might think that a positive review is amazing but have you thanked your reviewers recently? It is human instinct to focus on the negatives and try to fix them but you should also remember to respond to the positive reviews too. These people have taken the time to compliment you so a simple thanks is definitely in order.

Having said that, make sure that you aren’t just repeating the same line over and again; make your response personal. Imagine you are chatting to your positive reviewer and give them a lovely comment back that reflects your brand values and could even advertise another product or service with a ‘have you tried our…’ style sentence.

This is your chance to talk to a responsive customer about your business so take the opportunity!

Listen and Learn with Middling Reviews

Some reviewers like some aspects but not others and say so in their reviews. The good news is that they are interested enough to let you know what you can do to make their experience better so you should definitely respond. Because these reviews tend to be more detailed, you also have a chance to change the way you do things to improve your business.

The first rule about this sort of review is to be polite and courteous. Thank them for the praise and accept that some things could be improved for next time. In fact, thanking them for raising a specific issue (and repeating that issue back) is the best way to show that you are learning and willing to change.

Respond to Negative Reviews

Negative feedback is never easy to take and people quite often forget that they are speaking to a real person when they post online. This means that you can get some very strongly worded and quite rude reviews. But don’t rise to it.

As before, you must remain polite and courteous to your reviewer. They have taken the time to complain so you should give them an apology – whether you think it is required or not – because, in the end, saying sorry is free. If they have made specific complaints about particular aspects of your business, address them and mention steps you are taking to improve. This might be a general review of how you process x, y and z or could be a specific action taken to improve customer experience.

The key takeaway lessons are these: listen, understand and respond politely. Do this and you will be able to combat negative reviews, encourage more positive reviews and improve your business according to your customer’s suggestions.

For more information about Sprout Media Lab and how we can help you with your Reputation Management, contact us here or call us at (800) 617-6975 for a Free Consultation with one of our Web Gurus!