Many popular local business listings provide the general public to leave reviews about their experiences with a business. Reviews can often affect not only your online reputation, but also affect a potential new customer’s willingness to do business with you.
Typically , the best way to make sure your online reputation is good is to actively solicit reviews from all clients . If your business is good , then the number of positive testimonials will greatly outnumber the negative . However, if you’re in business long enough you will get a bad review from time to time . Human nature dictates as much.
Although not all online review sites provide a business owner the chance to respond to reviews, some do. The choice of whether to respond directly to a review is strictly up to the owner. We recommend caution, however, in how a business owner does this since the response can easily make the situation worse. In addition, direct responses are public to all and can have an affect on your accumulative online reputation.
Google’s published tips for writing a response are right on the mark :
- Ignore minor complaints and resolve issues privately when possible.
- Address problems constructively. Don’t use responses to advertise.
- Do not ask reviewers for anything or offer them anything.
- Be professional and polite. The world can read your response.
Additionally , we would add the following:
- Do not attack the validity of a customer’s complaint because it will often be read as a personal attack.
Sites that Allow a Response By the Owner
To respond publicly to a review on Google Places , log into your account and browse to your Google Places listing. Below each review in the “Reviews by Google users” section is a link to “Respond publicly as the owner”.
To respond publicly to a review on Yahoo Local, log into your account and browse to your Yahoo listing. Below each review in the “Recent Reviews” section is a link to “Comment on Review”. This varies slightly from Google in that ANYONE can comment on a review – not just the business owner. However, the response will show the user behind it.
As of this writing , Bing Local no longer exhibits full reviews . They use a basic 5-star user ratings system . There is no method for commenting on reviews on Bing.
Merchantcircle provides perhaps the most control over reviews . As the business owner, you can remove reviews or respond to them publicly . To manage reviews on Merchantcircle, log in to your account and go to the “Dashboard”. From the dashboard, click on “Reviews”.
Insiderpages is comparable to Google and Yahoo in terms of giving access for a business owner to respond instantly – and publicly – to a review . Log into the Insiderpages account and browse to your listing. Below each testimonial is a link to “Respond to this review”.
Yelp is similar to Google and Yahoo in terms of providing the opportunity for a business owner to respond directly – and publicly – to a review. Log into your business owner account and browse to your listing. Below each review is a link to “Add owner comment”.
Superpages is similar to Google and Yahoo in terms of offering the ability for a business owner to respond directly – and publicly – to a testimonial . Log into your business owner account and browse to your listing. Below each testimonial is a link to “Business Owner Reply to Review”.
To respond publicly to a review on Yellowpages, log into your account and browse to your Yellowpages listing. Under each testimonial in the “Recent Reviews for…” section is a link to “Respond to this Review”. This varies a bit from Google in that ANYONE can comment on a review – not just the business owner. However, the comment will show the user behind it.
To respond publicly to a review on Kudzu, log into your business account and go to “My Business Center”. Under “Manage your business profile” is a link to “Manage Your Reviews”. Kudzu gives the option to “Add Reply” to any review, regardless of the source (I.e.- third party reviews from another website that is shown in Kudzu).
We all strive to make every client happy every time – or else we wouldn’t invest so much time, energy, money and emotion into being a business owner . However, it is virtually impossible to make every client happy every time. Individuals have bad days and sometimes customers can have unrealistic expectations.
The idea that we can fully control every aspect to totally eliminate negative reviews is simply unrealistic. By actively encouraging every customer to share their experience online, the number of postive reviews will negate the influence of a few negative reviews.
We would urge extreme caution to business owners who wnat to respond directly to bad reviews . Be positive to avoid emotional responses. They are more often than not counter-productive. And since responses are public – and mostly permanent – choose your words wisely.
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