Want to write more helpful online reviews?
Reviews are meant to provide businesses with real feedback from real customers. They are also meant to give prospective customers the information they need to make a decision about working with the business. However, not all reviews are made equal, and not all reviews are actually helpful.
It’s tempting to use reviews as a means of venting frustration about a business or even bragging about great customer service. But, if you really want to write reviews that are helpful to businesses and consumers, you need to learn how to write them the right way.
How to Write Reviews That are Actually Helpful
#1. Try not to get too specific.
While it’s not a good idea to generalize about a business in a review, it’s also not overly helpful if you include a lot of specifics, like the name of the server or technician you had.
A business’s employees absolutely represent the business, but it’s important to realize that employees come and go. If you had a bad experience with one server, for example, it might not be representative of the kind of experience you had overall.
Many review sites also don’t allow doxing (publishing identifying or private information online) of any kind and will take down reviews that violate their policies.
#2. Give context for your review.
Saying that you weren’t satisfied with your service is perfectly acceptable, but if you really want to provide a review that’s helpful to others and gives the business in question feedback they can use, you should also make sure that you give your review more context.
For example, let’s say that a technician wasn’t able to fix the problem you called about or made a mistake in the process. That can definitely create a negative experience, and it’s perfectly valid to write a review about it. However, if they couldn’t complete the repair because the part they needed wasn’t available or the technician bent over backwards to fix their mistake, it paints a very different picture of the business.
#3. Be professional!
One of the fastest ways to ensure that your review is immediately discounted by anyone who reads it is to resort to name calling or pettiness when writing your review. Even if you have a legitimate complaint, personal attacks will outshine any feedback you may be giving. Personal attacks also make you appear unreasonable.
Always try to be as professional as possible when writing a review. If you’re upset, give yourself a few minutes to cool off and gather your thoughts. I know it can be tempting to vent your frustrations in an online review, but if your aim is truly to give feedback and to help other consumers make the right decisions, it needs to be professional.
#4. Try to be objective.
A lot of things can affect the way that we perceive the world around us. Some of those things are in the business’s control – such as the promptness and friendliness of their customer service, the quality of their work or products, etc. — but others have very little to do with the business, like if you’ve had a bad day.
Try to be objective and limit your feedback to only things the business can control. Take a few minutes to ask yourself if your complaints are the result of what really happened or just how you felt at the time. Remember, the point of your review is not to give your personal experience but to give a snapshot of the kind of experience the business provides.
#5. Be honest.
Honesty is incredibly important when writing helpful online reviews. It does neither the business or anyone reading your review any good if you exaggerate or lie about your experience. Defamation isn’t acceptable under any circumstance, including in an online review.
Remember that honesty is always the best policy. Don’t forget that policy when you’re writing online reviews.
#6. Talk about a range of elements.
As I said, an online review is supposed to give other readers a good idea of what working with a business is like. That means that you should try to be cognizant of the entire customer experience rather than choosing to review a single aspect, like punctuality, wait times, or customer service.
If you had a negative experience with a customer service representative, but the technician who helped you was friendly and accommodating, make sure to include all of those things in your review.
It’s for this reason that Top Rated Local® allows you to rate businesses based on the five pillars of the customer experience in addition to writing a review.
#7. Be open to updating your review.
Your review doesn’t have to be set in stone, and it’s completely OK to go back and update your review if you’ve received more information. Sometimes, when a business hears negative feedback, they’ll bend over backwards to make it right. This is the perfect kind of information to include in your updated review because it shows people that, while the business did make a mistake, they were also willing to make it right.
You might also learn new information that changes the way you looked at the service you received. For example, maybe you were upset about a long wait time, but after you learn that the business was operating with minimal staff because of sickness or personal issues, it’s easy to understand how that could affect your wait.
Review the local businesses near you with Top Rated Local.
Want to write a review about a recent experience you’ve had with a local business? If so, turn to Top Rated Local! As I mentioned, we take reviews one step further by allowing you to rate businesses based on the five pillars of the customer experience — quality, value, timeliness, experience, and satisfaction — and you’ll also have a quick and easy way to access a business’s reviews from across the web.
Not only is Top Rated Local a great place to write reviews; it’s also your go-to local directory when you’re looking for the right local business for your needs. Get started today!