Responding to customer reviews, positive and negative, can be an excellent way to show customer appreciation and gain trust. 78% of online reviewers said they trusted businesses who responded to online reviews more than those who didn’t.
While social commentary can be an ideal marketing tool for businesses, regardless of your growth stage placement, these are not ideal times–we’re in the middle of a global pandemic.
It’s understandable if you feel overwhelmed when faced with responding to customer reviews or comments considering the current world events.
While you may not have faced this challenge before, it doesn’t mean you can’t successfully navigate the choppy waters. Keep reading for four no-fail ways to use customer reviews to your advantage as a freelancer and drive more customers your way.
Acknowledge and Apologize for the Mistake–and the Inconvenience
It’s human nature to want an apology if something doesn’t go your way. Your customers are no different.
Suppose you receive a customer review that points out a mistake or other business blunder. In that case, an honest apology for the initial mistake – and the inconvenience to the customer – is a great way to begin bringing the customer back around to you.
While apologizing may not always be easy, especially if you feel the complaint is overblown or unwarranted, it will be worth the effort you extend. The empathy you show toward your customer and clients will help alleviate bad feelings. Additionally, you’ll be distancing yourself and your services from a negative experience (the initial complaint) and begin to associate your brand with positive emotion – the apology. That positive reinforcement is one of the powerful psychological components of good brand building.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Consider something as simple as,
- “I’m sorry for the misunderstanding–and the inconvenience it caused.”
- “I’m sorry this fell through the cracks.”
An apology is the first step to accepting responsibility for the situation. Once you own the situation, you can exert a certain amount of control surrounding its resolution.
For example, can you offer the client something to soothe their anger? A free temporary upgrade to premium content or services (this can also be a great way to slip in an upsell opportunity). Can you offer a discount on the service encouraging them to give you another chance to impress?
Little things like these can move a complaint toward a positive outcome and a follow-up, positive review.
Initially Respond Publicly (but Move to a Private Channel to Tackle the Nitty-Gritty)
Suppose a customer leaves an unflattering review on a review site or your blog. In this situation, it’s best to quickly establish a public connection and then move the issue offline. You’ll be protecting your customer from unintentionally posting private or otherwise sensitive information (like account numbers or banking info) while protecting yourself from public criticism.
You have options on how to do this, but direct and straightforward is often the most effective (and the easiest).
- Thank you for reaching out. I’d love to look into this for you. Drop me an email at [provide the email address you use for business communications, whether that’s a custom domain or a Gmail address]. I’ll get back to you within [give a specific timeframe, eg., 24 hours].
This does two things: 1) puts your contact information out there for others to see and reach out to you, and 2) shows the customer who left the review that you’re going to address this within a precise time frame.
Check Your Word Use and Grammar
When responding to customer reviews, what you say is only half the battle; how you say it–your word choice and grammar–matters.
As a freelancer, you know there are never enough hours in the day to complete what needs to be done. Sometimes a quick email or comment online can be enough, but if you’re dealing with a customer who already feels overlooked, a hastily composed tweet or blog comment can make things worse.
Suppose your customer feels they weren’t given the level of attention they deserve or feel the work you did for them was rushed. In that case, a message that is too generic, is filled with typographical errors, or unintentionally uses inappropriate terms can leave them thinking their first reaction was correct.
When it comes to client engagement, your word choice is important, but it doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate.
Consider something like this:
- I really grateful you let me know about [make a specific reference to the situation]. Your feedback is important to me. It helps me identify areas that might need improvement.
- I apologize. I pride myself on being [punctual, error-free, 100% accurate-choose something that aligns with the customer’s issue]. I’m sorry I missed the mark on this.
As a freelancer, responding with an “I am” statement is a powerful choice – it puts you on a one-to-one level with your client. It’s the virtual or social distancing equivalent of looking someone in the eyes when you apologize.
Show Gratitude to Fans and Admirers
Did you get a glowing response? Did someone tag you on Twitter or Instagram, showing how much they love what you do? Are they bragging on how dependable you are, especially in a crunch?
A positive comment or review is excellent for your freelancer brand. Because it’s unsolicited and authentic, this type of user generated content is worth its weight in gold.
If the message was left on your freelancer blog, post a reply acknowledging the compliment. Like Judge Judy always says, “Keep it simple.”
- I’m thrilled my [list your service or product] fit the
bill; I enjoyed working on your project.
For social media shout outs, a retweet or repost of the original with an additional comment is a great choice.
- There’s nothing better than a happy client! Thanks [tag the original poster].
Responding to their positive comment is not only an easy way to share a great review; it makes current customers feel appreciated, and that can turn one-time customers into repeat clients. Sharing glowing reviews also shows potential clients the areas where you excel.
Like it or not, online reviews directly impact the way current and potential clients think about you.
AND.CO Is Ready For Your Growth
Everyone makes a mistake, has an off day, or gets something wrong. And that’s okay. We all fall now and then. But the way we deal with it, that’s what really matters.
Once you know how to handle customer reviews, you’ll land more gigs, and that means you’ll need an invoicing platform capable of growing with you. That’s where AND.CO can play a vital role. AND.CO will handle the invoicing so you can focus on building your brand, growing your business, and responding to clients.
Taking an active role in how potential customers engage with you can significantly improve your online reputation. And one of the easiest and most effective ways to do that is rocking your response to customer reviews.
This post originally appears on the AND.CO Blog