In fact, it is estimated that over 70% of travelers read reviews because they are descriptive, helpful and above all, the depiction of a true experience.

When looking at such experiences with local restaurants, reviews are actually more important than price and location. But this is not exclusive to the primary customer reviews. Travelers also make their decisions according to business’ responses.

Although reviews can be extremely beneficial to tourists visiting Hawaii, it is also a sort-of “guiding hand” to local consumers and this is why it should be absolutely imperative to attempt and make every response exceptional. Customers appreciate and take notice when businesses make the effort to continue the dialogue after other customers visited them and shared their experience.

On our previous post “Asking Customers for Reviews” we had already discussed about enhancing your business presence by building a strong online reputation. On this post we will look at how business managers can take the opportunity to show that they care about their customers.

How to Create Real Responses

Businesses are not expected to keep up with every single review left by their customers but it is important to showcase responses that add value. Remember, it’s about quality not quantity, so when you are ready to interact with your patrons make sure the response is focused on adding value and showcasing hospitality.

  1 |  Begin by Showing Gratitude  

Thanking customers for showing interest in your product or service is always a great starting point. Think of how a host thanks their guests both when coming in and when leaving the business establishment. Here’s a good example:
“Thank you so much for your feedback about your experience. We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed our service and it would be a pleasure to see you more often in the future.”

  2 |  Have a Welcoming yet Professional Attitude  

No business owner receives negative feedback lightly. These can be very frustrating, after all, the business you have been devoting so much time and effort to provide amazing value has failed to impress. The best thing to do is to apologize and mention if it happened to be an unusual experience so future clients will know. Here’s another example:
“Thank you so much for taking the time to provide your feedback. We are genuinely sorry to hear we weren’t able to deliver as expected and totally understand where you are coming from. Normally we are able to accommodate all of our guest's expectations, but it looks like you visited us on an exceptionally busy day. We aim to improve going forward and would be delighted to welcome you back once again.”

  3 |  Empathize  

It is also imperative not to sound like you’re on “auto-pilot”. Sometimes being professional and polite will not be enough. When an issue is encountered, explain how you will personally do what’s within your reach to sort out the situation. It might be a good idea to let customers know exactly who you are in order to make the conversation more relatable and genuine, like in this example:
“I appreciate you taking the time to leave your review and would like to offer my sincere apologies. We have had some staff changes recently, and with some personnel still in training, performance issues can sometimes be expected. I take your feedback seriously and I’ll personally work on resolving the problems you mentioned as soon as today.”

  4 |  Show that You Care  

Human beings like to be heard and with your customers it couldn’t be different. Make sure they know you read and understood what they have shared in your review response because it shows that you are listening. This applies to both good and bad feedback.
“Happy birthday! I am happy to hear you enjoyed your experience with us. Your commendation about our friendly staff is well received. We look forward to seeing you and your friends again.”

  5 |  Welcome Guests Back  

Welcoming guests to return makes it clear that above all you value them and their experience with your business. This also goes well for those who have shared a not so happy review because the invitation may well enough motivation for them to give your company another chance. Here’s a response:
“I appreciate you taking a moment to provide your review. I am sorry that our service was substandard and the issues you listed will be addressed. As the general manager I hope that you consider giving us another chance to make things right.”

How to Effectively Manage Negative Reviews

Although most reviews will shed insights on more positive experiences, negative reviews can and do happen to all businesses.

What is most important here is to understand that while these negative reviews cannot be avoided, as you simply cannot control how people feel about the service received from your business, you can manage your response and how to respond.

Look on the Bright Side

A negative feedback is heartbreaking and some reviews can be hurtful, but they also bring a great opportunity. By responding in a respectful, honest, professional and caring manner you add value to your brand by showing how much you value your customers. Inviting these customers back suggests dedicated attention to rectifying whatever went wrong – something customers love to see and that speaks volumes about your brand.

Constructive Criticism Helps

Positive feedback will confirm what you are exceeding in just as negative reviews will show you where improvement is needed. Feedback should be used as a metric in helping make decisions about personnel, products and the overall experience so you can repeatedly improve your business and make it the best it can be for your clients.

Don’t Panic

Customers will often read both positive and negative feedback. This is because they feel they can see the “bigger picture” by getting a more complete perspective. One negative feedback among tens of positive ones isn’t going to drag the company’s reputation down because people understand that only looking at the negative side doesn’t really capture what it’s like to engaging with a business.

Above All, Consider the Following:

No one can please everyone all the time. What should you do then?

Stay Calm: Take some time to assimilate a negative feedback. Think before choosing your next steps.

Keep it in Perspective: Remember, it’s only one review, from someone who was genuinely disappointed for one reason or another.

See it as an Opportunity: Take this opportunity to consider the issue with the appropriate personnel and improve where needed.

Respond to Important Reviews: A good answer may turn things around, adding more value to your brand and convincing the customer to give your business another chance.

Change the Conversation: When answering negative feedback, remember that you control where the dialogue goes from that point on.

3 Types of Responses to Negative Feedback
  1 |  Apologize  

Beginning by stating a sincere apology has the power of immediately decreasing any tension brought by the original review and shows that you value the client’s input.
“I wish to apologize for your experience. We value our customers and aim to deliver professional and courteous services to all. It is disheartening to read that the service received was below par and, as the branch manager, I will be following up with the staff members involved to sort things out. I’ll use your candid review as an improvement tool to continue to calibrate the level of customer service we offer.”

  2 |  Take the High Road  

Answering negative feedback usually means that it is better to avoid all anger and focus on displaying respect, professionalism and hunger for refinement.
“I appreciate your comments. “It is of extreme importance to receive honest feedback about the experiences shared with our company as we can work towards making future experiences better. Please accept my sincere apologies.”

  3 |  Suggest Another Go  

Asking clients for another chance can help remedy what didn’t work and may translate into getting a new return customer for life.
“Thank you for sharing your comments. “We hope you consider visiting us again in the future to give us the opportunity to meet your expectations.”

Mahalo for reading.