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The Correct Approach to Review Management for SMEs


Oct 30, 2022 4:58:00 PM

As a business owner, it's important to pay attention to reviews from your customers so you can see what they have to say about your brand online. Their opinions about how you're handling your operations can help you to change and grow in a positive way, even when what they're saying is negative. That being said, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about review management for your company. With this in mind, we're sharing some tips in this post that will help you in your quest to get online reviews, manage them effectively, and grow your revenue as a result.

When and How to Use Reviews as an SME

If your small to medium enterprise (SME) has been in business long enough to have served your first customer, it's already time to start acquiring online reviews. Every review you receive serves as social proof to new prospects that you will deliver on your promises and that your offerings benefit the purchaser. 

One of the big reasons that many SMEs don't seek out reviews is that they fear getting negative reviews. But actually, believe it or not, it's best to have a mix of both positive and negative reviews. As Inc.com explains, one of the biggest benefits of negative reviews is that they help build trust. They said, "if there are no reviews that mention your product's flaws, consumers may become suspicious. They may even lose trust in the positive reviews that you do choose to display."

Another great benefit of negative reviews, according to Inc.com, is that they highlight your positive reviews. "When you display the bad reviews, there's a much better chance people will believe the positive reviews. This means that all the good parts highlighted in the positive reviews will impact their decisions."

The question is, regardless of whether your reviews are good or bad, how should you respond to them?

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How to Respond to Negative Reviews 

As you go through some of your online reviews, you will, at some point, notice that there are people who will give you negative reviews in an attempt to draw attention to your business's mistakes. Sometimes these critiques are valid, but some people may post them maliciously. Either way, you need to respond well and as quickly as possible.

The way you respond to your critics matters. This is not a time to fight with them or to shy away, completely ignoring the comments you receive. It's time to address concerns because this will show that you care about your customers and how your business is perceived in the community.

First, always remain professional. You'll want to maintain a friendly yet professional tone. If you get argumentative, you could suffer backlash that could result in significant revenue losses and damage your online reputation.

Get to the heart of the issue. What exactly is the customer complaining about? Was it a shipping delay? Was the complaint about the pricing? Once you find out what caused the negative review, then you can acknowledge it and, if necessary, correct how you handled the transaction. 

Make it right, and then ask for a follow-up review. Capitalise on the opportunity to build trust with the community by showing you've done what was necessary to make things right for the customer. Then, ask them to share their feelings about how you managed the situation. With any luck, they will leave a glowing follow-up review, further boosting your credibility.

Nobody gets everything right, you will get negative reviews at some point, and that's okay. Managing negative reviews isn't about what you get wrong. It's about turning the wrong into a right that has the potential to build customer advocates for life.

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How to Respond to Positive Reviews 

A common misconception amongst SMEs is that they don't need to respond if the reviews are positive. This couldn't be further from the truth. People love to know that their opinions have been heard, so give them the satisfaction of knowing you read what they had to say.

Thank your customer for taking the time to leave a review. The warm fuzzy feelings go both ways. It feels good to be nice and have a friendly exchange. Not only will this show the person who left the review that you received the compliment, but it will also tell people who are considering buying from you that you genuinely care about your public perception.

Avoid canned responses. You want to be authentic and personable so it doesn't seem like a robot is responding to the review. Keep it short and sweet but not so generic that it looks like you copied and pasted from a previous response. 

Invite them to come back or spread the word about your company. Including a call to action could help you earn more business. Something as simple as "we look forward to serving you in the future" or "tell your friends about us" could be all you need to grow your customer base.

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When to Ask for a Review Removal 

Responding to positive and negative comments is an important aspect of review management because it gives your prospects more source material to consider, which could help them decide whether to make a purchase with you. Every genuine review matters and is an opportunity to improve your standing in the community. Of course, that's not to say every review is genuine. The unfortunate truth is that some people just want to cause a stir in an attempt to get free stuff, gain public attention, or upset other customers.

Reviews that are fake/filled with spam, use foul language, have threatening or harassing tones, or are filled with false information has no place in your company's online reviews. If you feel that a review meets any or all of these criteria, you can flag it for removal. This can be especially effective when using a third-party review platform that can make sure these types of reviews are removed when it makes sense to remove them.

When should you let them be? When they are legit. If you have done all you can to rectify a situation, but the customer is still unhappy, it's beneficial to leave it up. It shows the community that you tried everything in your power to go above and beyond. This can help you garner public support.

How to Get Online Reviews For Your Small Business 

The best and easiest way to get online reviews for your small business? Ask! When you complete a transaction with your customers, ask them to leave a review about their experience.

Share reviews from other customers. Sometimes just knowing that there is a chance that what someone wrote will be shared can encourage them to leave one about you too.

Make it easy to review your company. People are more likely to leave a review if it's simple to do. Sending a link with the ask or putting a review section on your website makes it easy for the customer to leave a review and get on with their day.

Get Help With Your Company’s Review Management Process

It's never been easier to get online reviews and respond to them quickly and efficiently than with Hellopeter's online reputation management software. We help business owners get found online, improve brand awareness, and increase their bottom line. The best part is you can get started for free. Click here to create an account, and start tapping into the many benefits of receiving online reviews.

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