Regulatory compliance – two words that can send you into a tailspin if you’re not doing your online business reputation management right.
Businesses and organizations are no strangers to regulations. From privacy laws to platform restrictions, brands are used to navigating and adapting. However, it gets more complicated if you operate within a highly regulated industry.
For most businesses looking to build their brand online, the world is their oyster. Sure, there are some limits to creativity and budget constraints, but most brands can position themselves as they wish. As long as they adhere to general marketing guidelines and employ customer feedback management best practices, they’re on the right track.
Note the caveat – most businesses. Verticals within certain sectors like finance, healthcare, banking, law, insurance and pharmaceuticals belong to highly regulated industries where they are obliged to follow strict rules and regulations. One ethical misstep can ruin your online business reputation and cost you hefty fines. But knowing the rules and staying complaint with regulations keep you ahead of the game.
Understanding Customer Feedback Management in Specific Industries
All businesses are regulated to protect the people and ensure specific customer feedback management standards are met. In the United States, the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 1996 (CRFA) was enacted to protect the consumers’ right to share their honest opinions about a brand. This applies to all businesses and organizations operating in the country.
Some industries, however, are considered more regulated than others because they have the biggest impact on people’s lives and cause the most potential harm. The McLaughlin-Sherouse List ranked the following sectors as the most regulated industries in the U.S. by federal regulations:
- Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing
- Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution
- Motor Vehicle Manufacturing
- Nondepository Credit Intermediation
- Depository Credit Intermediation
- Scheduled Air Transportation
- Oil and Gas Extraction
- Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing
- Deep-Sea, Coastal and Great Lakes Water Transportation
Highly regulated verticals face unique challenges in customer feedback management and compliance. These challenges include handling high volumes of data and navigating rapidly shifting regulatory requirements.
Let’s look at some of the highly regulated industries and the challenges they face in terms of responding to customer feedback:
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) protects the privacy of patients and their health records. Under HIPAA, protected health information (PHI), including name and contact number, must remain confidential when shared, transferred, received or handled.
What does this mean for healthcare reputation management? Healthcare providers must remain HIPAA compliant when responding to patient feedback and sharing testimonials. Revealing a patient’s personal information without authorization or responding to negative reviews inappropriately are considered HIPAA violations that could warrant a financial penalty of up to $50,000 per violation.
In the law firm industry, client confidentiality trumps all. This means responding to negative law firm reviews rashly is a regulatory violation that could get law firms and attorneys in hot water. An inappropriate response to law firm reviews can also easily come across as sarcastic or condescending, provoking a disgruntled reviewer even further.
Pharmaceutical companies are strictly monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to several factors, including the sensitive nature of their products. The FDA has strict regulations that outline how brands must handle product reviews. Cases where a negative review points to a larger issue, such as problems in product testing, may require further investigation by the FDA.
Compliance requirements vary by industry, country, state and city. Being aware of these regulations is vital to protect your brand image as an industry leader.
However, we understand that the dynamic regulatory environment can be increasingly difficult for companies to navigate, particularly those operating across borders. Our online reputation management agency determined the customer feedback management best practices to guide you.
Overcoming Review Management Roadblocks
Having the right review response strategy is vital to brand success. However, while some online review platforms like Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor provide businesses and online reputation consultants with detailed guidelines on responding to customer feedback, providing an appropriate review response has – until now – been far from easy.
Our review monitoring service company has outlined some tips on responding to customer feedback and provided review response examples to help you better understand the customer feedback management process:
RESPONDING TO POSITIVE REVIEWS
- Respond promptly.
Positive reviews are proof of your service quality and serve as free brand promotions. They’re why you must show appreciation by responding to positive reviews promptly. Online reputation services providers advise that you maintain an active online review monitoring system to keep track of all reviews across platforms and ensure you reply within 24 hours.
- Be authentic and concise.
Personalize your response by referencing specific things the reviewer mentioned. For example, you can thank them if they point out one of your stellar services in their law firm reviews or tell them you look forward to doing business again with them in the future.
- Invite them to take action.
Depending on your business goals, you can ask the reviewer to share their experience with their friends, follow you on social media or sign up for another appointment. However, be sure to keep it natural to avoid sounding salesy.
POSITIVE REVIEW RESPONSE EXAMPLES:
- Thanks for the awesome review! We prioritize our clients’ needs and expectations, and we’re happy to hear we hit the mark for you.
- Thank you for the review. We enjoyed working with you and hope to partner again in the future.
- Thanks for your kind feedback! We’re so glad to have you as a customer and happy to hear how helpful our services have been for you and your business.
RESPONDING TO NEGATIVE REVIEWS
- Acknowledge and stay calm.
Resist the urge to attack the reviewer. Instead, take the negative feedback as constructive criticism. Analyze the situation first to avoid responding to negative reviews rashly.
- Determine the facts.
Many reviewers have legitimate reasons for leaving negative reviews. The worst thing you can do is to sound defensive after failing to meet expectations. So dig deep into the issue to understand the situation from both sides and take appropriate action.
- Address the issue.
Take immediate steps to resolve the problem. Tim Clarke, Rize Reviews’ senior reputation manager, advises that you take the conversation offline to fix the situation, short of violating industry regulations.
- Follow written guidelines for your specific industry.
Every industry has specific regulations to protect consumers’ well-being and security. Be sure to follow these guidelines when responding to customer feedback. If you’re unsure how to navigate the online business reputation management in your niche, hiring online reputation consultants is your best option.
- Respond within 24 hours.
According to online reputation management services providers, the longer a review sits without a response, the more prospective clients take it at face value. Build a robust online review monitoring system to stay on top of your online reviews across platforms and provide immediate review responses.
- Create a review response policy.
If you’re serving multiple locations, chances are more than one person will be assigned to your online review monitoring and review response publishing. In this case, online reputation management services providers advise that you create a review response policy that outlines what language and tone to use, the timeline for getting back to reviewers and when escalations become necessary.
NEGATIVE REVIEW RESPONSE EXAMPLES:
- Dear Sir or Ma’am: We understand your frustration, and we would like to address your issues personally. Please call the office at [CONTACT INFORMATION] so that we can discuss your grievances and come to a resolution. We will do everything we can to make this right.
- Dear Sir or Ma’am: Thanks for your review. We would love to hear more about your experience so that we can improve our services and deliver an even better experience next time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to [CONTACT INFORMATION] with any further comments or suggestions you wish to share. Again, thank you for taking the time to review our business!
Should Your Respond to Every Single Review?
According to trusted providers of online reputation services, you don’t have to aim for a 100 percent response rate. Consider factors, such as the relevance of the review site to your business and your review volume, when responding to customer feedback.
Ideally, you should prioritize responding to positive reviews and negative feedback on review sites that matter to you. But if you have only five or 10 reviews on your profile, it is best to respond to all of them. The key is to ensure you provide personalized review responses to positively impact your brand reputation.
How Our Online Reputation Management Agency Helped a Hospital Group Improve Its Healthcare Reputation Management
A recognized reached out to Rize Reviews for help in crafting custom review responses to its Google and Facebook pages. The client has strict rules like not mentioning health situations or certain staff members, so our online reputation consultants needed to be careful in responding to reviews.
Our review monitoring service team responded to 1-2 Google and Facebook reviews per week to keep the clients’ profiles active. Within only five months into the review response project, the client has seen significant improvement in its healthcare reputation management process and signed up for our review generation service.
Let Rize Reviews Solidify Your Brand Reputation
Dealing with online reviews in a highly regulated industry takes great work. You need to be aware of the industry regulations, rules and ethics and remain compliant to avoid reputational risks.
Need help with your online business reputation management?
At Rize Reviews, we understand that navigating the complexities of customer feedback management while running your business can be daunting. That is why we take care of the hard work for you. Our review monitoring service team uses our advanced reputation management software to streamline your online review monitoring process across platforms.
We also work closely with your team to understand your written guidelines and ensure adherence at all times. Our team drafts review responses in advance and sends them to you for approval to make sure all our responses comply with your industry’s regulatory requirements.
Contact us now to find out more about our online reputation services.