Exceptional customer service has been a pillar of business success for years, and brands such as Nordstrom, Amazon, and Marriott are among the few constantly praised for their above and beyond practices when it comes to customer satisfaction. One could argue that their success is rooted in being a big company or brand with more bodies and resources available to keep their customers happy. The reality isn’t that their products or services are better, but that their dedication to customer service is stronger than the other companies providing the same exact goods or services.

In the digital world we live in today there is more visibility into consumer experiences and emotions through review sites and social media channels. This could be seen as an additional stress or roadblock for business owners, or it could be seen as an opportunity to amplify your exceptional customer service practices and increase your consumer trust.

This concept is outlined and supported by Jay Baer in his book, Hug Your Haters. Jay teamed up with Edison Research to discuss review response expectations of consumers and what he found may be shocking. 53% of customers expect a reply on review sites. What’s more is that businesses experience a 16% boost in customer advocacy from answered complaints on reviews sites. Meanwhile, businesses that ignore complaints on review sites experience a 37% decline in customer advocacy.

This study shows the incredible upside to responding to a review, especially within 24 hours, but also emphasizes the potential negative effects of not responding at all. Similarly Yelp’s Data Science team found that Yelp users are 33% more likely to upgrade their review if a business responds with a personalized message within a day. The same study also found that businesses that respond to reviews get a 5% increase in review count. Added bonus: This increase in review volume helps attract organic traffic to business pages on Yelp.

Think of it this way. A customer of yours, happy or not, decides to announce in front of 20 other potential customers of yours how their experience with your business was. Would you respond to them or simply stare blankly until they went away? Of course you would respond! So how can do you implement those same practices on social media and review sites such as Yelp?

The Positive Review: Respond! These customers took time out of their day to give you positive feedback online. Sending a direct message is a fast and effective way to let those happy customers know you appreciate their feedback and their business. Now and then, respond to those stellar five-star reviews publicly so potential patients know that you care.

The Negative Review: Take this as an opportunity to grow. When it comes to a negative review, it’s easy to get upset, but successful business owners remain calm, cool, and collected. If you need to give yourself 24 hours to cool off, feel free! Then it’s time to respond and outline a plan to fix this situation.

Step 1: Respond privately to the reviewer. Try to dig in a bit and get more information about what happened. Thank them for reaching out to you and give them a way to communicate with you directly to get things resolved Business to Consumer.

Step 2: Post a public response while you wait to hear back from the reviewer directly. This can be a generic message for the most part. Thank the reviewer for their feedback, outline steps you have taken to resolve the issue, and urge them to contact you to talk further about what happened. This shows that you value feedback and want your customer experience to be exceptional. This public response is to showcase your business practices to all of your future patients. It’s not about trying to win that reviewer over.

You can start responding to your Yelp reviews today by logging in to your Yelp Business User Account or downloading the Yelp Biz App.

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