In a report from Cornell University, it was proven that hotels could increase their revenue if their management diligently responds to online customer reviews. However, the same report highlights that revenue hits a point of diminishing returns after a 40% response rate. As odd as it may seem, a hotel’s management can expect a negative impact if it continues to respond to more reviews after that point.
This begs the question: should you respond to every positive and negative review on review websites or social media pages? In this post, we’ll shed light on how you can tweak your review management strategy.
Determine the Type of Response Based on the Customer Review
Studies show that around 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. However, not every customer review deserves a lengthy response – or one at all. For example, while a simple ‘thank you’ on a review website will be enough to acknowledge your customer’s appreciation, a 200-word response to the same is overkill, especially if you use the opportunity to blatantly promote your business.
To keep things simple, determine whether a review actually deserves the time you are giving it. For instance, a negative review deserves a detailed response, as the query itself is usually lengthy. A typical negative customer review often comes with a description of what went wrong and how your management handled it. You will need to choose your words carefully to acknowledge the customer’s experience, provide a remedial solution, and wait patiently for your customer to calm down before you proceed further.
Time Your Responses
When it comes to responding to reviews, timing is crucial. Responding to a positive review after a few hours is the right way to go about it, but doing so after several days or weeks will make you seem lazy and irresponsible.
Whether you respond to customer reviews or not depends on what is being said, and your own business requirements. For example, if your restaurant is still new, responding to a negative review on the review website immediately makes sense, since you wouldn’t want other people to be put off by it.
Choose Review Websites that Suit your Industry
Deciding which reviews you should respond to also depends on the type of website people use for reviewing your business. Not every review website will generate the same leads for your industry. For example, your restaurant will get more reviews on Yelp where 20% of reviews are about restaurants and cafés rather than TripAdvisor, which is more focused on businesses, like hotels or bed and breakfast establishments.
Understand the Dynamics
Not every review website works the same way, and customer expectations from businesses vary, as well, based on the nature of different platforms. For example, customers might not expect you to respond to a negative review on TripAdvisor, but will probably expect the contrary on websites that are more personal in nature, like Facebook.
The main focus of websites like Yelp, and Google my Business, is to give you the chance to list your business online and make it more visible. And while the reviews may be important for some businesses, they might not be as much for you depending on the nature of your business. For instance, if your business has a physical location, but operates solely on social media, then you should consider tracking and responding to reviews that followers leave there.
With the help of these tips, you can easily fine-tune your review management strategy and effectively manage your online reputation.