Like any business model, franchises aren’t without their challenges — especially now with COVID-19 disrupting the global economy. For instance, one of the greatest challenges facing franchisors is the need to ensure that your franchisees communicate clearly with your customers, while still maintaining the franchise’s voice and values. The more the franchise expands, the more critical — and more difficult — this task becomes for the franchisor.
With their numerous locations and easily-recognizable branding, franchises are also vulnerable to reputation damage, which is another potential pain point that franchisors need to proactively address. An incident or controversy involving one location can lead to serious repercussions for the franchise as a whole, making it essential to take aggressive measures to mitigate reputational damage before it spreads.
Responding to online reviews is a low-cost, high-efficiency tactic that franchisors can use to simultaneously target both of these issues. Developing and executing a clear review response strategy can also have additional benefits — not only for franchisors and franchisees, but all types of business entities, from chain stores and restaurants to independent companies. Read on to learn why franchises should be responding to all of their online reviews — and how a review reply service can help your franchise thrive in 2022 and beyond.
5 Reasons Why Every Franchise Needs to Respond to Customer Reviews
No matter what your target markets are, how many franchisees you currently have, or how well-known your brand already is, all franchises should be monitoring and responding to their online reviews, paying particular attention to the major three platforms: Google Business Profiles (GBP), formerly known as Google My Business (GMB); Yelp, whose mission to combat fake reviews we recently wrote about; and Facebook. Here are five ways that implementing a review reply strategy can help your franchise grow.
- Control reputational damage fast. A scathing review can eat into your profit margins, scare away potential customers, and lead to massive backlash on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Promptly responding to negative reviews is a simple way to show that your franchise cares about its customers and sets high standards for its executives and staff members. It also shows that your franchise values transparency and outstanding service — two critical factors in a period where consumer trust is at an all-time low. Courteous, helpful responses to customers function like good PR for your franchise.
- Keep customers coming back for more. Customers are more likely to evangelize and return to your franchise when they feel a personal connection with your brand. Responding to customer reviews in a friendly, conversational way helps reinforce feelings of loyalty while delivering the personalized experience consumers crave.
- Make announcements and educate consumers. Responding to reviews gives you an opportunity to promote important news, events, and programs — not only to the original reviewer, but anyone who might be browsing your company’s reviews. For example, you can mention upcoming pop-ups, promotions, customer referral programs, new services or products, limited-time offers, or other deals and opportunities in your response.
- Ensure consistency… Your team has worked hard to craft your franchise’s voice — a voice that needs to remain consistent and reflect positively on your brand. However, this can become a challenge if there is poor communication or minimal collaboration between franchisors and franchisees. If your franchisees are responding to reviews in a way that is inconsistent with your desired tone or messaging, you can solve the problem by utilizing a review response service, which ensures that your brand guidelines and quality standards are maintained.
- …without sacrificing customization. Consistency is important to marketing your franchise effectively — but customization is vital to making your customers feel valued, a topic we covered in depth here. Our response scribe service delivers the best of both worlds, carefully adhering to your style requirements while making sure every response is tailored to the reviewer.
Tips for Responding to Positive or Negative Reviews of Your Franchise
We’ve covered some benefits of responding to reviews for franchises — but what should you say in your responses? And, just as importantly, what should you omit? Here are some tips from our review responders to help point your team in the right direction and avoid some common mistakes.
- How many stars you should be rated
- How to handle sensitive reviews
- Tips for responding to 1-star ratings and reviews
- Tips for responding to 5-star ratings and reviews
- Why you should never post fake reviews
Discover more on our blog, or subscribe to our newsletter to get all the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox.
Looking for a 24-Hour Review Response Service Designed for Franchises and Agencies?
If you’re a franchisor, franchisee, or agency in the franchise space, our white label reputation management platform is designed to meet your needs. Backed by 24-hour, US-based support, our secure platform effortlessly streamlines all of your reviews into a centralized location. View comprehensive data reports to help improve your performance, reach more customers by letting us manage your business listings, and count on our expert response scribes to deliver personalized, on-brand replies to all of your franchise’s customers within 24 hours — no matter how many locations you operate.
Strike the perfect balance of consistency and customization to deliver a better customer experience. Book a demo to learn more.
Emily Homrok is a freelance copywriter with more than seven years of writing experience. She joined the Shout About Us team as a content strategist in 2020.