Replying to comments and reviews online

Best practices for replying to online reviews/comments

There are quite a lot of moving parts when it comes to managing your business’ online presence. It’s easy to get lost between optimizing search engine results and making sure your website is in top form, but maybe you’ve recently launched a social media presence for your company. During your first steps into the social arena, you might have already noticed audience engagement with your content, which is always an exciting feeling! But there are always more ways to build on a social media strategy.

A crucial but often overlooked aspect of managing your company’s social presence is a proper response to comments and reviews. But it cannot be ignored: 63% of users expect customer service through a company’s social media channels, and 34% prefer using social media as customer service. In a time where the social media clout of your customers is a crucial aspect of awareness, it’s important to maintain positive relations with your customers through social media.

Social media has created a two-way street for business-consumer communication. Campaigns can be made or lose all momentum in mere minutes because of customer interactions. In a 2016 report, it was found that while 75% of users are more likely to use a company if they found positive comments online, 62% said they were less likely to use a company if they saw negative comments online.

Respond Quickly

One of the most vital steps is responding to your customers promptly. Whether it’s praise or criticism, your audience will expect an answer and fast. On Facebook, you’ll find that pages with the “Very Responsive” badge must achieve a 90% response rate and an average response time of 15 minutes or less. That may seem like a short window, but the same 2016 report found that 80% of customers expected a response within 24 hours on social media. The consequences of ignoring your customers can be high: 55% said they would avoid using a business again if they posted a negative comment online and received no response. But prompt response should not just be for negative comments. Show your audience that you care about all of their feedback.

Show Honesty

The best way to build trust with your audience is honesty and earnestness. Make sure that the customer knows their time and experience is valued through an honest response. When commenting on a negative review, show empathy and address the situation with honesty.

Offer Solutions

 In the event of a negative comment or review, make it clear that action will be taken to improve their experience. Offer the customer private and direct contact to discuss any pertinent issues further. A response to a public complaint about an issue with shipping could be for example: “We’re sorry you had that experience. Fast and safe shipment of your order is important to us. Could you DM us with more details about your issue?”

Encourage Further Business

Provide discounted or personalized service for next time. This can be recommended regardless if the interaction was positive or negative. A positive reaction to a positive review can encourage more customers to leave positive experiences.

By maintaining quick, honest responses to the questions, comments, and concerns of your audience, you will be building a trustworthy relationship with current and future customers. This may seem like an insurmountable task at times, but the benefits of trust will be worth the effort.

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