To respond or not…What should businesses do about online reviews?

Last week I spoke with Sparksheet, a content/media/marketing blog, about my research on online reviews.  Among other things, I discussed some factors businesses should keep in mind as they develop a strategy for how to respond to reviews.  Coincidentally, the NY Times just ran a story about this very topic as well.  The main take-aways?

  • Businesses really can turn popular sentiment around by engaging with online reviews/ers in a variety of constructive ways.
  • Completely ignoring online reviews can eventually hurt a business.
  • Canned responses are usually not very effective.  To the extent that it’s possible, responses should be personalized.
  • Getting into a public argument online with a reviewer is usually not the best approach. (But see my earlier posts on “Facebook Reviews” and “People Hate them on Yelp” for some interesting counterexamples.)
  • Reviews and ratings can be powerful marketing tools. Buzzword of the day: it’s all about “relational capital.”

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