Social Media Must: Respond to Online Reviews

by Joanne Steele on January 21, 2011

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I just read a post about improving online engagement with customers at Renivate.com and learned that only about 5% of hotel reviews online are responded to by owner/managers!

I bet that number is even lower for other industries. We’re all still learning how to use social media for customer service.

Not responding to online reviews is a huge lost opportunity.

And it’s a great place to get started in social media for business owners who are a little wary.

First off, monitor your online reviews.

In a past post I showed you how to do this. Set Up Google Alerts to Track Online Comments About Your Business

Be sure to put your business name in quotation marks to control what lands in your alerts box.

Respond immediately to online reviews on sites that allow business responses

About half the review sites will let you set up a business profile and respond to reviews. Respond to EVERY negative review. Studies have shown that the business owner response has as much impact on readers as the negative review.

Go to Hoteliers Guide to Review Sites and Forums and download Renivate’s free guide to learn some great response tactics. This is written for hotel owners, but the information is useful for any industry.

Use those good reviews on your own website. Testimonials from your customers are more valuable to your business than adjective packed descriptions of your features, services and amenities.

Encourage your customers to submit a review about you. This will have two positive impacts on your business.

1. It will keep you and your staff on your toes. That little “Yelp” sticker in your window, or the request for a review passed to your customer with their bill are a constant reminder to keep your customer service and amenities in tip top shape.

2. It helps you build a positive relationship with your customers, turning satisfied customers into loyal customers.

Forget about the risk of negative online reviews.

You do not have any control over whether your customers are going to review your business. Not setting up a business profile, or ignoring review sites won’t make them go away.

You only have control on the front end by providing a great experience and on the back end with a friendly, helpful response to reviews.

Other posts on Google Alerts and using review sites:

How To Market Online by Encouraging Customer Reviews

Google Alerts Can Help Small Rural Tourism Businesses Become More Profitable

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