The importance of the role that online reviews play in making or breaking your business cannot be denied. Innumerable people read online reviews before reaching a buying decision. 71% of the business to business consumers go through reviews online when they are considering purchasing from a company.

What’s more, 92% of these B2B buyers tend to purchase after reading a trusted review. Not so surprisingly, Google is among the prominent sites where buyers trust the testimonials.

Now that the significance of online reviews is established let’s head to the next step – responding to these reviews. Not giving a response is out of the question. Keep in mind that 89% of the consumers read a business’s response to reviews. Therefore, you need to have a strategy in place for responding to all kinds of reviews including the fake and negative ones.

To get you started, here are some do’s and don’ts of responding to Google reviews:

Do evaluate the problem internally first

It’s better to assess the problem point stated in the online review first before responding to it. Unintentional circumstances can culminate in a problem from your end. So, it is not wise to engage in an argument only to realize later that the mistake was yours.

Don’t get defensive

While it is natural that your first response will be to defend yourself and your business, refrain from doing that. This is because being protective puts you forward as combative and shows your customers that you are not concerned about your customer’s concern. Consequently, not only do you lose a customer but you end up turning away prospects by such a response.

Do respond to the review publically

We have already discussed that responding to Google reviews is a must. Another essential pointer to bear in mind is that your response to a customer giving a negative review should be public. Avoiding digital confrontation only shows your customers that you don’t care about them and aren’t attentive, which is, again, a turn off for potential customers.

Don’t take it personally

Negative online reviews can be pretty harsh, which is why it is always best to not take them personally. Emotional responses to reviews only pose you as unprofessional. Your prospectives give a lot of significance to the way you handle a negative review. Thus, it is best to be polite in your response.

Do offer a solution and empathize

Writing a fluffy response to a review is no response at all. Instead, after you have researched a matter and learned about it, write an empathic response to your customer. Try to offer a solution to mitigate the issue. Your response should always make the effort of solving a complaint.

Don’t delay your response

Considering the number of matters that go into running a business on a daily basis, it is easy to put the responsibility of responding to online reviews on the back burner. However, quick responses are a must. This is because not only will your customer be waiting for an answer, but other prospectives will also be watching. So, there is a lot of business that is affected and possibly going sour each minute as you respond late.

Do resolve the matter

A big part of Responding to Google Reviews is resolving the matter for customers. When customers post a negative review, they expect their problem to be solved. The more adequately you can do that, the better. HubSpot reveals that you can reduce customer churn by resolving customer problems. In simple words, there is an increased likelihood of a customer to continue doing business with you if you address his complaint properly.

Don’t forget your brand identity

Every business showcases a unique brand identity. This brand voice has to stay consistent in your communication with your customers everywhere you interact with them including the phone, social media, or in person. This voice is also supposed to prevail when you respond to customer reviews. Therefore, don’t forget to keep your level of professionalism, voice, and other brand attributes the same when responding to your reviews.

Do apologize when at fault

If your homework in response to a negative review shows that you are at fault, then there isn’t a problem in apologizing to your customer. If anything, it shows you as a person running a business instead of a business that is concerned only with numbers. A case in point is a dental office, Forest Family, apologizing to a negative Google review. Such a response doesn’t guarantee a customer’s return, but it can save you from losing possible prospects.

Don’t use offensive language

Employing offensive language in response to online review exhibits you as unprofessional. You also lose credibility with your customers. No matter how bitter the review is, you are not in a position to write back an offensive remark. As highlighted above, this also goes against your brand identity. Hence, don’t use a language that you wouldn’t use for your customers on any other platform.

Do offer to solve the concern offline

Limit the back and forth responses on Google or other review sites. It is best if you can resolve the issue with a succinct message. However, there are also instances when there is a need for elaborate explanations that may be better addressed over a phone call. On occasions such as these, respond on the site and request the customer to send you their contact information so that you can solve the issue appropriately.

Bottom line

With over 94% of the folks reading online reviews, it is crucial to respond to their reviews on sites like Google. With that being clear, it is critical that you leave professional responses that aim to resolve the problem.

Don’t rush when it comes to answering reviews but be quick enough to research the concern and get back to the customer. Remember that not only the customer who posted the review will be waiting for an appropriate response from you, but lots of other potential customers will also be watching.