Lead by example when leaving reviews

Become a role model for your clients and learn how to write constructive reviews that help other people find the product or service they need. I read reviews regularly, and so often I see the same mistakes over and over. These errors can leave the business owners a little flustered and confused, plus can undermine the integrity of the review for prospective clients or customers.

Unfortunately, some business owners bite back at unhelpful reviews, which only makes things worse for everyone. To understand more about handling negative reviews, click the button below and read our blog on the subject. We even give you copy and paste responses that will help you conquer negative reviews in a positive way.

CLP | lead by example when leaving reviews

In this blog, I will outline how you – as a business owner – can be a positive role model for consumers and write constructive, helpful reviews for other businesses. I cannot stress enough how important reviews are for small business (and bigger business!) and I believe that if we lead by example and start writing more helpful reviews ourselves (legit ones!), then eventually we will gain traction and start to effect positive change in the online marketplace.

There will always be the “negative Nellie’s” who need to have their say, but that’s ok. By educating more people on the benefits of well-written reviews, we will be better able to ignore the naysayers who just want a whinge.

Whether your review is positive or constructive, below are eight guidelines to ensure you are providing useful information to people reading your review.

An example of a constructive review:

“The (product) was life-changing, it (list why the product is life-changing) and the customer service was very helpful in my decision making. I found the store a little crowded and hard to navigate but overall a positive experience.”

This review lets people know that the product was excellent and so was the customer service, but maybe they could declutter the store and put more signage up to help people navigate around the aisles.

It is good practice for businesses to respond to reviews. Here are a couple of examples:

A good response; “Thank you (name) for your review we are so glad to read the product changed your life, we love it too. Thank you for the feedback on our store too. We will look at making some changes and hopefully see you again.” NOTE: Don’t write this if you have no intention of making changes!

A bad response; “We just have too much stock at the moment and have nowhere to put it, so we are sorry you felt it was crowded. Just ask our staff for help to navigate the store next time.” It might be the case that you have a lot of stock and nowhere to put it, but that is not the customer’s fault. Remember that sometimes people want to just enjoy browsing a store and they might not want to speak to staff about finding things, so signage can be really helpful.

Eight guidelines for writing business or product reviews:

1. Provide constructive feedback

Include enough detail in your review to clearly explain what happened or what the product was (without overdoing it). Explain the factors that contributed to your experience and whether you would return to the business. You may also want to include what the company is doing well or how they can improve, however always keep things friendly and courteous!

2. Include a range of elements about the experience

Give your review readers a useful insight into the business by including comments on several elements of your experience. This includes, for example, customer service, as well as delivery options, product quality or whether you would go back.

3. Be detailed, but keep it brief

Keep your review short, but include enough detail and specific information to ensure it is useful to other people and the business. Write from your own perspective and stay honest, sticking to the facts as much as possible. Overly emotional reviews can become more problematic for everyone than succinct, factual, constructive reviews.

4. Leave out personal information

There is no need to include personal information in reviews – protect your privacy and that of the people who served you at the business. Keep your comments general for public reviews. If you have a concern or praise for a specific employee, it is best to write directly to the company.

5. Keep it friendly

Always remember that online reviews are online…and forever. Each review platform has a process you can apply for to remove inappropriate content, but it is much better to encourage constructive reviews than bothering about removing them.

If do get a negative review on your business listing, instead of getting angry, take a breath and adopt a calm tone in your response. Explain to readers what happened from your perspective (using facts, not emotion) and let them draw their own conclusions.

6. Update your review if needed

If you have a negative experience with a business and write a review about it, but they are helpful and respectful and encourage you back for a more positive experience, it is a nice idea to update your review. This shows other people that the business owner took your comments on board and had the initiative to use your experience to grow and improve. Give them the opportunity to make it right for you – and when they do, reward them with a fresh review.

7. Check you’ve got the right company listing

A simple error to make, but it happens! Always check that you’re posting your review in the right place. Be aware that some business names sound (or are written) similar, and some are the same business but in different locations. Make sure you have the right one before you hit Send.

8. Always proofread your review before submitting it

After you have typed up your review, take a few moments to check it is readable and free of blatant errors. A poorly-written review may not hold as much credit as one that is easy to read and free of typos. A good tip here is to read it out loud to check sentence construction and pick up any mistakes.

My own personal view on reviews by Ellie Clare

As a rule of thumb, if a business provides me with bad service or products, I tend NOT to review them. I assume someone is having a bad day and if I feel it needs attention, I will contact them directly about the experience. Chances are, the business owner did not know something was wrong, so giving them a chance to fix the problem before giving the business a bad review is a better way of thinking.

That said, if the business refuses to help, behaves defensively or seems to learn nothing from the feedback, I would be more inclined to publicly review to help other people avoid the same problem. Regardless of whether a review is positive or constructive, I always use these eight guidelines to ensure it stays civil and helpful.

If you would like a visual to put up on your wall to remind you of these eight simple guidelines, click download button below to open the image.

If you are a business owner and struggle with getting reviews or dealing with negitive reviews, we offer tailored one-on-one training to help. We will sit with you, set you up with easy-to-use tools and templates, then teach you how to use them. If you would like to learn more about getting reviews for your business, click the button below and book in your first free digital meeting.