Can't find business reviews on Facebook? That's because there they're called recommendations.
Facebook users can choose to recommend a business if they had a positive experience, or not recommend a business if they had a negative one. The percentage of recommended vs not recommended reviews determines the “star rating” that Facebook displays to the public.
For example, two “does not recommend” and three “recommends” would be represented to the public as a 3-star rating.
You should have a strategy for encouraging positive recommendations from your patrons, but should also have a strategy for responding to these recommendations (positive or negative) as part of your brand reputation initiative.
Users will read through recommendations to help establish whether or not they “feel good” about your brand and determine whether they trust you enough to give you their business. Prospects not only care about what the review has to say but are also often times interested in how the company responds to the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Responding to Positive Recommendations
When someone leaves a positive review of your business, make an effort to extend your gratitude to them by replying. This feel-good recognition will not only potentially encourage that customer to continue sharing their positive experience in other ways, but will encourage others to share their positive experience as well. Positive reviews have a beneficial impact on your business and leaving a response to say thank you shows that you appreciate your customers.
Depending on the volume of recommendations you receive, having template responses may be necessary. Templates ensure that you are able to reply on a timely basis and that there is brand consistency no matter which team member is replying. Having templates are particularly beneficial if:
- The employee responding to the messages needs guidance to effectively represent the brand tone or product/service knowledge
- The role responsible for responding to these is experiencing frequent turnover
- There is a high frequency of recommendations that is difficult to efficiently manage
There is an art to a template response, however, as they should still be thoughtful and customizable.
Thanks [name]! / Thank you, [name]!
Thank you, [name]! We’re glad that you enjoy your [product], and that you think it [something they mentioned].
Referencing specific details from a recommendation shows that you are actively reading each review, and prevents the response from feeling templated. It is important to have multiple templated responses to cycle through because no matter how the templated response is constructed, if every single response is the same or contains the same elements, the human, compassionate, element will be lost. If you have the time to write a custom response to each that can be the most beneficial and well-received approach.
Some examples of responses to positive recommendations:
- We love this kind of feedback! It feels great to know our product is making such a positive impact in your [home/life/etc]. If you need anything else, just let us know.
- Thank you so much for your review, [name]! We are so glad that our service team provided a great experience for you.
- [Name], your review helps us so much and we can’t thank you enough for taking the time to write it. [detail mentioned in review] is very important to us, so to know we’re coming through is a big win!
Responding to Negative Recommendations
One of the first things to consider when responding to negative recommendations is that regardless of whether or not you successfully turn a customer’s view of your product/service or business from positive to negative, the effort will be publicly documented, giving your future prospects the ability to see your commitment to customer success.
It is critical not to become defensive or aggressive in your response. Hearing people share negative or seemingly inaccurate experiences can be irritating, but it is very important to keep customer service and best practices at the forefront at all times. It is your job to be understanding, soothing, and sympathetic. This is where templates can come in handy as well, as it assures our natural emotional response don’t get the best of us.
Users want to feel heard, and if they’re leaving a negative review you still have an opportunity to remedy the situation. If you comment in a way that seeks to find a resolution, with potential follow up measures, the client will feel validated. This is very different from seeking to defend your product or service, which can be extremely hard to avoid as someone who takes pride in the performance and perception of your business.
Example of positive replies to negative responses:
- Thank you for your honest feedback, we are very sorry you are disappointed with the [product] you received. We stand behind our products with our return policy and are proud of the quality we’ve been providing for [time period]. The last thing we want is an unhappy customer. If you would like to contact me directly to further discuss your concerns, please do so. You can reach me at [email] or [number].
- Thank you for your feedback. I understand you’re frustrated. It is never our intention to cause any frustration or confusion around our product or company. If you have some time, direct message me, I’d like to speak with you directly to address your concerns. In the meantime, please check out this helpful resource (Multiple templates with applicable resource links such as how it works, set up, FAQs, maintenance, troubleshooting, video, etc.)
How you approach recommendations will play a large role in your reputation management strategy. No matter whether the recommendation you're responding to is positive or negative, how you represent your business is always important, especially on a public-facing platform. Taking this advice into consideration, you are equipped to put your first brand-foot forward.