Maintaining Authenticity and Respect When Responding to Reviews

Business owner looking at laptop with customer reviews on it.

When a negative review pops up about your business, what’s your first reaction? If it’s to run and hide or reach for the pitchfork, you might be damaging your business’s reputation. There’s a better way. In the enVisioning Success podcast episode, Politely Confrontational: Stopping the Games and Selling with Authenticity, co-host Julia and Laura tackle much the same issue in the sales process. Today we’re going to explore how to apply those same ideas of authenticity and respect when responding to reviews and other aspects of your reputation.

The Importance of Trust in Your Brand

Your reputation as a business is one of your most valuable assets—and if your products or services sales pipeline starts or finishes online, your online reputation might be the deciding factor for someone researching whom to buy from or searching for your business. The rating, comments, and number of reviews you have are a cornerstone of how your business is seen online, and just as important is how you respond to them and the various crises that might crop up. Good reviews, solid responses to them and comments, and clear and concise messaging all work towards building a brand people trust.

The Best Ways to Respond to Reviews

When a review is brought to your attention, be it by a customer, notification, or checking your online presence, how do you respond? It’s going to be tempting if it’s a negative review to either not respond or match their tone and confrontation, but that will neither gain respect nor positively affect your brand’s image. Instead, you need to:

  • Always respond to reviews, especially negative ones. It can be tempting to ignore these reviews, but as they are visible to everyone, your response needs to be visible as well. We’ve got a whole blog on the subject; it’s that important.
  • Be polite and diplomatic when responding. It’s okay to say sorry (such as “We’re sorry you had that experience with us”) and ask for more information or state company policy. It’s important to stay positive and not get confrontational.
  • Take the conversation private if needed. If you need more information or want to offer some sort of compensation (such as to “comp” a meal), it’s best to take the conversation private. In your public response, tell them you’ll reach out privately through a direct message.
  • Know when it’s time to stop responding. There are going to be battles you can’t win and limits to what you’ll be willing to do to resolve issues. Sometimes, you need to state the facts clearly and politely and then just stop engaging.

Note that much of this same logic can be applied to your public relations communication at large, especially on social media. This can be everything from responding to comments to announcements that get ahead of reputation-impacting situations, such as business closures or incidents.

About the enVisioning Success Podcast

This article is based on topics discussed in enVisioning Success, our weekly podcast hosted by Vision CEO Laura DiBenedetto and COO Julia Becker Collins. In it, they discuss all things business and marketing, from lead generation to leadership. Find us on PodBean to download from your platform of choice, or subscribe to our mailing list to get new episodes and other news delivered directly to your inbox.

Using Proactive Reputation Management

Responding to reviews is only a small part of a larger aspect of your business: reputation management and the related reputation marketing. The best way to protect your business’s reputation is to be proactive about it, working to cultivate a strong reputation of honesty and responsibility.

  • Be Active on Social Media: Be active in your online communities, from Facebook to The-App-Formerly-Know-as-Twitter. Use these spaces for announcements and interactions with customers, even to show company culture.
  • Use Customer Feedback to Improve: Responding to messages and reviews isn’t enough. Use that feedback to make changes and implement policies to avoid issues in the future.
  • Proactively Seek Reviews & Testimonials: You should also be seeking out reviews from customers who have used your products and services. Had a big win? Ask for a testimonial to show on your website and social media.

Finding, maintaining, and expanding your brand’s online reputation is a ton of work, but you don’t have to do it alone. From managing your reputation across all of your online presence to being active on social media, Vision Advertising can help you get a running start, freeing up your resources for day-to-day and business strategy. Contact us today for a consultation on your business’s marketing and how we can help build and maintain your online presence.

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About the author : Alex Geyer

Alex wears many hats, and not just because he’s bald. A writer by background, Alex writes “content” for Vision – anything from social media statuses to blogs to website copy and beyond. In addition, as Senior Brand Strategist, he builds and maintains all search engine advertising for Vision, manages multiple client projects, and herds many meetings. In his free time, he starts and stops writing novels, reads a copious amount of fiction, plays video games, and an enthusiastic chef at home. He’s trying to become a better plant daddy.

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