If you look around the internet (including this very blog), there are hundreds of articles telling business owners how to respond to negative online reviews—what to do, what not to do, and how to avoid an embarrassing public meltdown. Rare is the advice on how to handle things when a customer leaves a rave, rather than a rant. When a positive review does come in, it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world—a little recognition that your hard work is paying off. But you shouldn’t just let that five-star rating sit on your page; you should take the time to reply and maintain the conversation with your happy customer. Here’s how to do it.
Customers can tell when you reply with a copy-paste template, and it won’t win you kudos; it’s impersonal and comes off as insincere. When replying to a positive rating, speak personally and try to use specific context, responding to specific things the customer liked or mentioned and using their name if it was provided. Instead of a boilerplate “Thank you for your patronage and we hope you come again”, try something like “I’m so glad you had fun on the food tour, Mark. Those truffle chocolates really are irresistible—they’re my favorite too!”
Negative reviews seem to be the Internet’s bread and butter some days; business owners live in fear of a vendetta and the general public eats up a good rant like nobody’s business. People seem to write negative reviews more often because they find it cathartic; if they’ve had a good experience, they won’t necessarily think to talk all about it online. So when someone does leave you a positive review, that means they’ve taken a few minutes out of their day to do so; be sure to thank them for their feedback and tell them how much you appreciate it.
Share it Around
Let the customer know that you’ll be sharing their feedback with the rest of your staff—especially any who are named in the review itself. Positive reviews have been shown to significantly improve staff morale and motivate them to provide better customer service, so don’t keep them to yourself. When your employees have done a good job, be sure to let them know.
Spread the Word
Online reviews play a significant role when it comes to customer conversions; people rely on them to discern whether you’re trustworthy. While some prospective customers might search out reviews while they’re shopping, there’s no reason why you can’t bring the good news to them. Create a testimonials section on your website to feature good reviews, and link them on your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Don’t be shy!
Get Some More
You don’t have to wait around passively hoping that someone will write something nice; you can absolutely encourage more reviews, as long as you’re not aggressive about it. It’s easy enough to get into the habit; when you ask a customer if they’ve enjoyed themselves and they say yes, simply follow up by asking if they wouldn’t mind reviewing your business online. Consider also putting a ‘Review Us’ call to action button on your website or post-booking emails. Some customers won’t bother, but others will, so don’t be shy.