To say that product reviews have changed the way people shop is the understatement of the decade. Although word of mouth has always been the most trusted source of product information, consumers now hold the opinions of thousands of their peers in the palm of their hands.
Channel Signal data indicates that for any given category, roughly 50% of the web based reviews are hosted on Amazon. It's no coincidence, then, that 50% of product searches begin on Amazon.
If your business isn't aware of what's being read by half of shoppers, you may have Blind Spots. When those reviews are negative and left without your public reply, your Blind Spots can turn into a real business problem.
Best Practices for Responding to Reviews on Amazon & Beyond
One of the simplest ways a brand can take corrective action and show future shoppers you care is by responding. Several of the review platforms, including Amazon, allow responses to reviews. Given the importance, you'll want to have a strategic plan of action for responding to negative reviews. This plan should be communicated clearly to all stakeholders.
- Respond in a timely manner — there are a couple of reasons why you’d want to respond quickly to a negative product review. First, you don’t want the review “hanging out there” without your reply. Some e-commerce sites default their review sorting to recency, and consumers are known for filtering through the negative reviews first. Without your rebuttal, your side of the story is left untold. Second, you want to appease that customer as soon as you can.
- Be informative — negative reviews often mention some aspect of a product that didn’t perform to the user’s satisfaction. Acknowledging the issue he or she had and then providing information can help other shoppers decide if this was a one-off incident, or a deal breaker.
- Don’t copy and paste — boilerplate responses don’t help your cause. Specifically address the reviewer’s issues to clarify and answer questions.
- Be solution-oriented — what can the user do to resolve the issue? Listing your phone number is fine, but be careful with putting too much responsibility on their shoulders. Give them some suggestions for resolving the issue on their own. Then provide some options for contacting you (some don’t like the phone). Finally, add in a specific offer for a refund, return or other compensation for their trouble, if appropriate.
- Keep it respectful — Never insult a customer, no matter how wrong you think they are. Reviewers are entitled to their opinion. And believe it or not, the consumers reading the reviews are quite discerning themselves. They can tell when a reviewer is being unreasonable. Formulate your comment to help this reviewer along with other shoppers reading it.
Overcome the Challenges of Responding to Negative Reviews
Although it may seem like an obvious win to you, implementing a review response program often needs to be sold in at the top. Money is lost when you have blind spots - such as customer reviews being published without your knowledge or response. Luckily, you can do something about it. Get buy in from the top and success will follow.
Think about your company and ways you might not be taking advantage of your reviews. Grab a team member and brainstorm ideas to make this a larger part of your marketing and product development process. Having team support can give this important topic legs in your company and make you look like a corporate superstar!
Still not sure how to respond? These 3 companies recognized they had blind spots and are doing something about it. Start with these examples of great review responses.