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Responding to Reviews

With the popularity of social media and the internet, customers have come to expect businesses to engage and respond quickly to questions and complaints. A primary marketing objective is to always to leave customers with a positive feeling about your business and the services provided. It is necessary to know how to engage with customers to influence positive feedback and relationships. Developing effective correspondence is the first step in accomplishing brand loyalty and supports the development of positive relationships with customers. An internal and external support staff tasked with monitoring your website, social media sites, twitter, and the like is beneficial in helping you to identify customer reviews, especially negative reviews, and in helping you work through any conflicts by addressing the reviewer and resolving their concerns.

When responding to customer reviews, the objective is to make certain the message is positive, the matter is resolved, and the customer is satisfied with the outcome. Considering most customer reviews are on social media networks, the individual responsible for responding to customer reviews should have cognitive writing skills and a good compass for creating appropriate responses. Researchers found that 72% of customers wrote negative reviews with the expectation that businesses would respond and take responsibility.[1] Empathy, compassion, and having the ability to relate are the primary characteristics needed of an effective review responder. Responses should be prepared in advance to prevent your business from scrambling for a response at the last minute.

How to respond to a review is dependent on the type of review received. If the response is negative, in addition to replying, you should communicate with the reviewer via phone or e-mail to quickly resolve the issue. The best course of action is to respond tactfully, and in a timely manner, and then work with the customer to prevent future problems or concerns from occurring. When a customer writes a review, you should respond promptly with a quality resolution to the customer’s concern. Furthermore, you should respond promptly to negative reviews to prevent customers from posting the review elsewhere and sharing it with other customers. In addition to empathy, compassion, and problem solving you should have the ability to investigate and satisfy the customer’s issues.

 

[1] Gurău, C. (2012). Solving customer complaints: A study of multiple commercial settings. Annals of the University of Oradea, Economic Science Series, 21, 827-833. Retrieved from http://anale.steconomiceuoradea.ro

Responding to an Online Complaint – Example

NOTES:

The idea behind this response is for it to be universal and still someone directly addressing the complaint at hand. By apologizing, stating company facts and promoting the company site, this response can be re-edited and used for any complaint that the company receives.

This structure allows for complaint viewers to gain positive knowledge of the company and for the complainant to gain knowledge either of what went wrong or to contact the CEO rather than another complaint board. In addition, it also allows for any potential unhappy customers to have the contact information of the company’s CEO.

Example response:

________

CompanyEC values all of its customers, especially those who have voiced complaints. It is in our best interest to work with these customers to reach a reasonable and fair resolution. 

Words cannot express how truly sorry we are for some customers who, no matter what we do, are never truly satisfied. This is especially disheartening, as CEC has the solid reputation of providing excellent customer service.

We do all that we can to help meet a fair resolution to their satisfaction. We offer each of our customers 100% money back as long as the website and files are not on their own server. We have always and will continue to refund our customers their deposit if they are not satisfied. If a customer is not happy with the website or other service, we cannot and do not hold their deposit. Nonetheless, once a website is moved to a customers server after their final approval and final payment, a refund can no longer be omitted. This method is in line with our terms of agreement and is recognized industry wide.


CompanyEC, with a customer base of over 2,000, receives less than one half of one percent in complaints. That is an impressively low number compared to the standards of today. We certainly would like to have zero complaints, but that is just not realistically possible.


What you don’t see on this complaint website are all the positive emails and letters we receive daily from customers who are extremely happy with the service and work we have provided for them. We have dedicated a section of our website for customer testimonials located at http://www.CompanyEC.com/testimonials

If you feel that CompanyEC is not taking care of you, I would invite you to contact me at my personal email at [email protected], and I will personally follow up on your issue.

Warmest Regards,

CEO Name

CEO/CompanyEC.

Repairing Strategy – Responding to a Customer Complaint

When responding to a customer complaint, your company should have one main goal and that is to defend its name. Within this process, the first thing that needs to be done by your company is to check the information and try to figure out who wrote the complaint and why they wrote it. This information can likely be found by analyzing the complaint to find hints of information about the author. Normally, those who leave complaints don’t leave their true identity or contact information. Once your company finds out who wrote the complaint, you should get together a response for the complainant. This complaint response should be well written, it should answer the complainant somewhat directly and it should come directly from a respected and high authority.

The department that worked with the customer should write the response and it should be edited and signed by the company’s CEO. This will allow for a filtering of the response that will rid it of any emotional attachments.

In addition to putting together a response, your company should also check the damage of the complaint. Things to you may want to check are other complaint boards, user responses and the search engine rank of the complaint.

If the complaint has influenced a negative spread and additional complaints, your company should look to respond promptly to the complaint. To find the true spread of the complaint, you could use search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. With these search engines, you should search the name of your company and see which complaints show up and respond to them from highest to lowest ranked.

The goal of the response is for your company to confront the mistake and seek a resolution. In addition, your company should provide a positive image of the company and alternative methods for complainants to resort their anger. This alternative method should include either the websites testimonial section, using the contact form on the company website or contacting the company CEO. By providing links and email addresses to these other sources, you can prevent future complaints on third party websites from happening.

The best solution comes by contacting the complainant directly to solve the issue at hand, and once they are satisfied with the results, you should ask the customer if they would be polite enough to remove the complaint or request removal of the complaint. Someone simply listening to the customers concern and finding a mutual understanding can easily resolve most complaints. You can prevent future complaints by sending out progress reports to customers and by encouraging customer feedback and satisfaction through these reports. This will allow for small problems to not turn into big problems.

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