How to Manage Online Customer Reviews

We live in the age of information, where we value our peers’ opinions more than ever before. One of the most difficult things to do online is to convince someone it’s ok to buy from you.

This lack of trust is not present in person because consumers are able to physically see the product their about to purchase and they know that the person on the other side of the counter is not going to rip them off.

This just doesn’t exist online, consumers have to go with blind faith, and hope that who they are buying from will not rip them off. 

For businesses that are established and have a physical presence, this fear is alleviated because they know that they are dealing with the same company online as they are offline.

For online only businesses, this is a different story. This is why customer reviews are the most important thing you can invest in as a business owner

They are a seal of approval that a potential customer can see that can push them over the edge in their hesitancy from buying from you.

Should You Only Display Positive Reviews?

Positive reviews speak for themselves: a glowing testimonial or rating from a customer will shine your brand in its best light—and will help build trust, boost brand awareness, and drive more consumers to your business.

But, in our hyper-connected digital landscape, you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth. No matter who you are or how good a service you offer, negative and even fake reviews will come your way.

There’s no use in covering them up, especially given the fact that 60% of consumers will avoid a brand that censors their online reviews.

Because of this, you need to display all reviews, both positive and negative. When you get a negative review, if you’re able to respond to the persons concerns and try to fix their issues, this will go a long way in showing the potential customer that you’re proactive in addressing concerns.

For your marketing and communications to hold any weight, transparency is key. And, that means dealing with public customer reviews that are negative or even fake.

How to respond to negative customer reviews

Apologise, emphasis, and own the issue, (in that order) at the beginning of your response. This will humanise your brand and reassure the unhappy customer knowing that their concern is being addressed, leaving them open to a reasonable resolution. 

Be professional yet conversational to ensure your response is approachable and most importantly, personal. Try to respond to every customer by their name.

Always offer a practical resolution to your customer’s issue and thank the negative reviewer for their feedback.

Track your online presence with platforms that will offer updates each time you receive a review or person that mentions your brand name online. This will help respond—and tackle—any negative online reviews quickly.

How to collect good customer reviews

You always have to put yourself in the shoes of the customer and ask yourself ‘what’s in it for me?’ Most people are only compelled to do something when they get something back in return. 

Even if it means giving away something for free in exchange for a review, that small investment will pay dividends in the long run with more and more customers buying from you instead of your competitors. 

It is important to sign up to popular review platforms such as Google Customer Reviews or TrustPilot, where you can incentivise your customers to leave reviews in exchange for a free shipping or discount code – get creative with the kinds of benefits you give to your customers.

Another way to maximize from good customer reviews is to earn more of them. Not only will your customer feedback serve as vital data for improving your communications and service, but the better the reviews you get, the more you will benefit.

From signing up to popular review platforms to incentivizing your customers to leave reviews across platforms in exchange for free shipping or a discount code, there are many ways you can earn additional positive feedback.

Dealing with online reviews can be a tricky business, but handled with care and a certain sense of urgency, you’ll not only preserve your brand reputation—you also stand a solid chance of strengthening your consumer bonds and outcompete your competition.

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