Businesses respond to comments and customer reviews with regularity and confidence today – or at least they should. Digitalization and globalization require businesses to respond to customer feedback individually in order to personalize their digital communication and to retain customers. Whether the comments, reviews and ratings are negative should not play a role in the company's decision to respond – inaction is always the wrong choice.
Marketers tend to focus on negative feedback to appease customers, mitigate damage, and avoid harm to the company's reputation. This can be done, for example, in the form of a simple answer to a negative comment. If you have more information about the customer such as the e-mail address, it is best to use the most personal and direct method of communication. This signals that you know your customers well and that their needs and opinions are important to you.
If a negative comment can be seen by the general public, it should also be publicly answered to show the entire community that customer comments are important to the company.
Companies often feel a real need to justify themselves for specific incidents, mistakes or unfortunate circumstances. According to a survey of the Händlerbund (The largest ecommerce association in Europe), 95 percent of the 1,013 participating businesses find the ratings they receive unfair. They feel the urge to justify themselves. And they should! However, responses should always be customer-oriented and friendly. Businesses have to balance the urge to defend themselves with a good customer service.
As already mentioned, negative feedback should be responded to first by the responsible persons. Replying to positive comments and reviews is usually postponed. Often, it does not happen at all - a bad mistake!
By responding to positive feedback, you show your customers that their opinion matters to you. By showing your appreciation for their feedback, you maintain your customer base and encourage honest and detailed reviews that you can use to profitably optimize your business.
Whether you respond to positive or negative feedback, it is important that you respond in a personal way. Individual customers do not want to feel like one of many. They want to be addressed personally and at best by name. You should directly respond to issues mentioned in their feedback to show that you take concerns seriously and do not respond with standardized answers. Furthermore, it is always recommended to thank users for the comments or the reviews, even if they are negative, as you have to assume that they are honest. If negative customer feedback is sincere, a company can learn a great deal from it as it points to weaknesses that should be optimized. The same is true of positive comments: they give clues as to what should be emphasized to attract more customers or to keep existing customers.
Read more: Content Marketing.