When software buyers seek out the best product for the job, what is it that they look for? What weighs in their decision-making?
One of the most important inputs many buyers use in their purchase decision is reviews from other customers who have used the same product. How did the product help them achieve their business goals? What do they like best about its features? What do they wish could be changed or added? Did it boost their bottom line or give back more time in their work day to focus on the core mission of their business?
What are your customers telling you about your product? When it comes to collecting and managing online customer reviews, there are some critical do’s and don’ts to keep in mind, particularly when responding to that feedback.
Five don’ts in the care and management of customer reviews
Don’t delay your response. Show that you care deeply about your business and reputation and respond quickly, typically within 24 to 48 hours.
Don’t use a templated reply. Some prepared messaging is fine to incorporate, but be sure to personalize it with specific details from the review.
Don’t ignore any uncomfortable issues. Don’t gloss over negative feedback. Address it politely. Seize the opportunity to show off your top-notch customer service.
Don’t confine your replies to negative reviews. Find the good in each and every review of your product and thank your customers for taking the time to share it with you. That provides another opportunity to highlight your software’s strengths and benefits.
Don’t take any of it personally. Avoid being defensive in your response. No product is perfect. Constructive criticism assists your product’s evolution to better meet future customers’ needs.
Five online review do’s to always keep top of mind
Do respond promptly to all reviews. Designate an employee to manage your reviews in order to stay on top of replies and maintain customer engagement.
Do be authentic. Always be polite, professional and on-brand in your response. Don’t forget to double check your replies to ensure proper grammar and spelling before posting.
Do recognize the positive in all reviews. Most reviews include a measure of positivity, so always acknowledge that feedback in your reply. Doing so also shifts everyone’s focus to the good things about your product.
Do address every concern raised in the review. If specific issues are mentioned, don’t ignore them. Be transparent about how you plan to address those issues and provide helpful contact information so that your customer can obtain more help or advice.
Do show your appreciation to your customers. Start each reply by thanking your reviewers to show that you truly value their feedback and appreciate their business.
Don’t forget about the positive impact of negative reviews
An occasional negative review is a good thing for your business. Buyers who seek out your product and read what your reviewers have to say will find your business more trustworthy when both good and bad are discussed and acknowledged. Buyers who encounter only positive reviews about a product will view the business more cautiously.
When responding to negative reviews, ensure your response is professional and addresses their direct feedback. Then take the conversation offline. Offer to connect the user directly with your customer service team or an account representative so that one-on-one attention can be given.
Continue to boost your online reputation by collecting even more reviews. Reach out to recent customers and invite them to leave a review of your product and business.
Remember that consistency, recency and response leave a greater impression than one bad review. Collect a high quantity of reviews to boost your online reputation and impress new buyers.
Connect with us to learn more ways to creatively leverage your customers’ reviews. Reviews as a Service (RaaS) from Gartner Digital Markets makes it easier to collect and share verified customer reviews.
Taylor Short covers technology and changing trends in the manufacturing, maintenance and facilities management industries for the Gartner Digital Markets network of sites. He conducts primary research with both consumers and business owners to publish market reports and video content. Connect with Taylor on LinkedIn.
Tara Spence is the Senior Manager of Vendor Content at Gartner Digital Markets. She has more than 20 years’ experience in content, from her start as a newspaper reporter to most recently directing the editorial program of a Fortune 500 IT services and solutions provider. Tara loves cooking, traveling and being a mom. Connect with Tara on LinkedIn and Twitter.