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Written by Finn Ruijter, 24 October 2020

Reviews, positive or negative: how do you deal with them?

Today’s consumers no longer take companies at their word. Instead, he or she seeks social proof such as reviews. After all, how other customers rate those products or services says more than a brand’s marketing pitch.

If your organization is doing well, you’ll see that reflected in the positive reviews. And when customers are dissatisfied, the critical comments help you see where things can be improved.

Analyzing reviews and learning from them is one thing. But it should not stop there. A smart organization mixes in the reviews, whether they are positive or negative. Spending time collecting, analyzing and responding to reviews is called review management or also reputation management.

Why review management is important

The customer experience is one of the areas where companies can still make significant gains. You get good insight into this customer experience by reading customer reviews. By taking the time to answer these reviews, you show that you are committed – not only to that customer themselves, but also to future customers.

People who decide on their own to write a review often do so because they have had an extremely positive or negative experience. They feel it is important to share this experience with other (potential) customers. But as a company, how do you respond appropriately to positive, neutral or affirmative reviews?

Positive review

Customers who take the time to write an enthusiastic review are worth gold to a company. That calls for a personal and heartfelt thank you. In it, tell them that the customer experience is important to you and that you would like to welcome this customer back. It is also possible to gently offer other products/services from your range here. You might consider using this positive review on other channels. But note: you need that customer’s permission first.

Neutral review

Let’s face it: a short, neutral response will do your other, potential customers little good. Try to highlight the positives from the review (if any) and tell them that you are constantly working to improve. Invite the customer to come back or buy again in the future.

Negative review

As much as they can sting, negative reviews matter. They show you where you can do better and keep you on your toes. And remember that not only is the customer reading your response, but so are other customers. Therefore, be polite, thank the customer for sharing his or her experience, and promise improvement. Should there be untruths in the customer review, do not accuse the person of lying. Invite the customer to contact you by phone or email to find an appropriate solution.

Proactively ask for reviews

Often it only takes a small push to ask customers to share their experience. According to research (BrightLocal), 68% of consumers have rated a local business online after being asked to do so. Another study (Power Reviews) found that as many as 80% of reviews were written after an email kindly requested it.

Proactively inviting reviews can reduce the “weight” of negative reviews. Customers who otherwise would not give a review because they simply got what they expected will now give one.