Comments left by customers can make or break a small business, so of course it’s important to encourage customers with positive experiences to vouch for your company – just keep in mind that there are rules and regulations that dictate what you can and cannot do in that respect. For example, you cannot offer any bonuses or perks for positive reviews; not outwardly anyway. If you explicitly state somewhere that customers will get x, y, and z if they leave a positive review, it takes away all credibility from the person posting it. Worse case scenario, customers with a poor experience with your business or product make their own comments in response to posts and call you out for sketchy and dishonest behavior. What you can do is engage in experiential marketing where you build lasting relationships with existing customers.
If you notice that a particular user has been leaving positive reviews for your product or company in many places, then it might be a good idea to reach out to them and send them a small gift as a thank you. It acknowledges them, and this small reward has potential to be mentioned in future reviews, blogs, and other forms of social media. Remember, any and all comments and reviews are completely voluntary. Showing that you’re grateful, even just occasionally, can be a great investment for a positive outlook for your company in the future.
What about negative reviews? If there’s a legitimate complaint, always be courteous, and never come across as defensive. Choose your words carefully, and don’t use a cookie cutter reply. You can do this by using the same words in the comment and directly acknowledging their problems in specific detail. People want to know that their issue is unique, and that a human being will be there to help. Show that you are willing and eager to rectify any issues they have; the general public will see that you’ve made an honest attempt at doing right by your customers.