As crucial as SEO is to your website and business, it doesn’t always lead to sales. Now, don’t get that statement wrong; being number one on SERPs for your desired keyword will fetch you incredible traffic. However, traffic is only the tip of your sales funnel.

According to BrightLocal statistics, at least 87% of customers won’t visit your website, let alone buy your products, until they’ve read your online reviews. In essence, the ultimate stage of your sales funnel, which converts traffic to sales, is online reputation.

In summary, don’t relent on your SEO efforts. Those efforts will stir interest and “clicks.” But, focus more on improving your reputation this year. How?

The first step to improving your reputation is to deliver on your promise of quality services. After, ensure that your NAP details (name, address and phone number) are consistent in all your online listings. Most importantly, learn how to manage your positive and negative reviews.

That last part is where the bulk of the work lies. But don’t fret; this article will help you get started!

Note: we’ll start with the dread of all businesses: negative reviews.

How To Manage Negative Reviews – With Example

Frankly, the chances are that you’ll get a few negative reviews in your business regardless of your top-notch products and deliveries. While that reality can be sad, especially when you’ve given your all, know that negative feedback isn’t entirely “doom.”

Against public consensus, negative feedback can even spur your business to greater heights. However, you must learn to manage the negativity the right way. Here is how:

Don’t Reply Immediately

A negative review will stir your emotions and make you want to lash out. And when the review isn’t even the truth to start, the chances are that you would use foul language. But don’t give in to the temptation. Why?

Prospects are not only reading your negative reviews; they are also checking to see how you’d react. Would you be defensive or tackle the matter at hand? Could the reviewer be right? How will you make amends?

Your reaction will answer those questions!

So, don’t give the reviewer the upper hand. Instead, let the steam off for a while away from your computer. Then, come back after a few minutes and use the following tips:

Thank The Customer

Whether a buyer leaves a negative or positive review, he at least bought from you. That much deserves a thank you. So, start your message on an appreciative note.

However, don’t say anything about the feedback in your “thank you.” Instead, thank the reviewer for trying your services. And while you’re at it, include the customer’s name. Aside from being professional, including the name makes your reply personalized.

Afterwards, do this:

Show Empathy

We have seen how businesses apologize incessantly about their customer experience. Well, apologies are great but don’t overdo it. And if you must say sorry, do so from a position of strength.

Furthermore, if you must apologize about your services every time, you might as well assess your quality control team. Else, empathize with a customer who leaves negative feedback. State how the below-par experience affects you as much as the customer.

Take Control And Fix The Issue

Thanking your customer and showing empathy doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t address the issue at hand. Worse case: shifting blame to your employee!

Regardless of who does the work, the face of the business should take responsibility and promise to make amends. On the spot, seek another chance to rectify the aggrieved customer’s experience. And when your request is granted, ensure you do a quality and fast job.

Pro tip: try to move conversations around negative reviews off public feeds to your direct contact as soon as possible.

Example: Replying to A Negative Review

Hi Beverley,

Thanks for being a longtime customer of our banking services at NAB. We apologize for the inconveniences the “blocked access” might have caused you and your business. We would appreciate it if you could re-forward your details to [contact email address] to handle the issues right away.

As always, we value your safety. That is why our security systems are sensitive to threats of scams.

How To Manage Positive Reviews – With Example

Beyond the excitement that comes with a 5-star review, the feedback itself is proof of your professionalism. Plus, you could use it for social media ads.

Most importantly, positive reviews could boost your SEO. Here is how:

But first, read this: How to do SEO in Australia With FREE Tools [Updated 2022]!

You Don’t Have To Reply To All Your 5-star Reviews

For a start, know that all positive reviews are equal. However, a simple “thank you” wouldn’t carry the weight of a two or three paragraph review. The latter will communicate your customer’s feelings and readily convert a prospect.

So, if you have the time, reply to all your 5-star reviews. Doing so will help search engines to notice your business. However, seek the long-form types. You need them for the third step!

Thank The Customer

You thanked the customer who left a negative review. How much more one who gave your business a 5-star rating? So, do the needful! Even better, thank the customer twice: at the beginning and end of your reply. 

Send A Keyword-optimized But Personalized Response

This step is where the long-form, 5-star review will come in handy. How?

A detailed positive review gives you room to provide an equally lengthy reply. With such an opportunity, you could insert a few keywords without sounding all robotic.

Most importantly, lengthy replies give you more room to personalize your message and address all the key points your customer raised. Fortunately, that back and forth is an unsuspecting hook for the on-looking prospect.

Caution: know when to insert keywords in your reply. And most importantly, avoid keyword stuffing. 

Add Special Offers At The Tail End Of Your Replies

This part is unconventional – but it works. Nothing draws more attention than special offers; that is why there are tons of sales on Black Friday.

So, you can adopt that approach too in your response to reviews (but do it only for positive ones).

Note: we will recommend adding offers that are don’t use time-bound discount codes. For example, you could offer a free 15 mins consultation, SEO audit, or quote.

Example: Replying to A Positive Review

Hi Dean,

We appreciate your feedback! And, we are thrilled that you love the quality of our website design services at Digital Treasury.

We look forward to working together on those future projects. We will even sweeten the deal with a free SEO Audit for any (1) website of your choice. If you’re interested, inform our customer care, and we’ll set up a meeting.

Once again, thanks for the feedback. You’re an incredible customer!

Last note: in addition to your reputation management and SEO efforts, ensure that your website is top-notch. Nothing hinders the effectiveness of a well-designed sales funnel than a poorly-designed landing page. However, if you have such a website, don’t fret. We can help you fix it – today!