Review sites lose all credibility if they’re not perceived as genuine reflections of posters’ criticisms, praise, and other comments. Site visitors need to know they’re in a “truth” zone when they log on, or else they’ll find another site they can trust.
THERE’S NO PLEASING EVERYONE
Review-seekers understand that there’s no satisfying some customers. You’ve seen these online scoldings: nitpicky goofiness replete with misspellings, non sequiturs and other garbled talk that comes off as crude noise. Review sites will allow them (short of profanities and slander, of course), but their presence can actually reflect your business in a good light if you respond respectfully and specifically. Let negative reviewers of whatever quality know that you understand their concerns, ask for more information if necessary, but don’t be afraid to push back politely if you’re sure you’re in the right. Remember that you can report reviews for being irrelevant as well as violent or profane.
JOIN THE BACK-AND-FORTH
Review sites thrive on interaction; it’s an opportunity to show customers that you care about their opinions and are technologically savvy enough to be responsive. Don’t just confine your activity to refuting negative reviews, though; answer positive reviews appreciatively as well. Make new friends by keeping the old. Prospective customers will be impressed by your character.
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
As the impact of review sites reached a critical mass for business owners and advertising agencies about five years ago, they began to “hedge their bets” in a dishonest way: by paying for and posting phony reviews to artificially inflate the reputations of clients in online forums. Several businesses were named in a suit filed by the New York State courts system back in the late 2000s, and since then review sites have kept close tabs on the authenticity of submissions to their platforms. If there are no bad reviews and dozens of glowing ones, both review sites and visitors could get suspicious.
Let honesty, politeness, and responsiveness guide your online review interactions, and you shouldn’t encounter serious problems.