Although it can be challenging to deal with online reviews, the worst thing you can do is ignore them. Studies have shown that as much as 88% of consumers trust online reviews, so there’s little question as to whether they are important. Online reviews matter, so it’s critical to:
- Learn what people are saying about your business online.
- Have a plan for how you should respond.
Let’s go over the basics so you can start having more control over your online reputation today!
Do | Claim Your Pages
Even if you haven’t been managing your online reviews whatsoever, it’s possible your company is already listed and receiving reviews on channels like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Foursquare. That’s because most review sites use public information for publishing business. When someone checks into a place that doesn't have a profile, an unmanaged profile is created to represent the location.
Claiming your business (or creating profiles across the main review channels) opens many opportunities for your company. If you have negative reviews waiting there, now you have a chance to respond (more on how to do that below). Claiming your business also builds trust and prevents misinformation, because you’ll have more control over what shows up for people searching for your business. You can add photos, detailed descriptions, or even promotions – it’s basically free marketing, so why not use it?! Even if you have some negative reviews to start with, you can overcome that by actively working to increase your rating. Which brings us to...
Do | Encourage Online Reviews
If you’ve encountered a handful of negative reviews about your business on social media or Google, and you don’t have several positive reviews on the same channel, it’s probably not an accurate representation of your business’ overall customer satisfaction rating. But people who see your low score or star rating won’t necessarily think about that – all they see is your low rating.
Online reviews have become a cornerstone for potential customers’ decisions when choosing which business to hire or purchase products from. That's why it's critical for your business to cultivate as many high-quality, current customer reviews as possible. Generating more reviews from happy customers can increase your Google My Business rating and build trust with your existing and potential customers.
Beyond making a favorable impression on prospective customers, a strong online reputation can also have a positive impact on your SEO. Ultimately, search engines are designed to provide users with helpful results, and reviews are very helpful for users. Lots of positive reviews also signal to search engines that your business is legitimate and provides a quality customer experience. With a robust collection of positive reviews, your business is much more likely to appear when a potential customer performs a relevant search, such as “best roofing company near me.”
Automated emails are probably one of the easiest ways to ask for online reviews; after a transaction has been completed, customers can automatically receive an email prompting them to leave a review. While this method of collecting reviews is fairly simple, it will only work if you can take the time to manage it. There are tools you can use to automate the process, which can save you a great deal of time. (For example, our review management software can quickly and easily capture customer reviews at the right time. Positive reviews can be automatically pushed out to a variety of different review sites, while negative reviews are routed directly to you so you have the opportunity to address the issue before it is published online.)
Do | Have A Plan For Responding
When a customer leaves a negative review of your business, it can be incredibly frustrating. It takes years to build a solid reputation for your business, and negative reviews can make the wrong first impression with potential customers. Thankfully, a negative review isn’t the end of your business. In fact, negative reviews give you the opportunity to take control of the conversation and turn things around.
When you ask for feedback online, you can expect to receive both the good and the bad. ALL businesses have their ups and downs, and how you deal with them is what really matters to your customers. Here are our suggestions for your response plan:
- Check your reviews often | In order to avoid any unpleasant surprises, you should check all of the major review platforms on a routine basis.
- Respond to every review | Make sure you are replying to all of your customer reviews, whether they are positive, negative, or somewhere in between. Thank customers for their feedback even when it’s negative or you don’t agree with them, and be proactive about resolving complaints.
- Listen with an open mind | When responding to negative reviews, remember that your replies are public. Ask for more information about the issue if needed, and be willing to acknowledge their feelings. You may discover that their feedback can help you run your business even better.
- Move the conversation offline | Once you are able to start a conversation with a dissatisfied customer, it’s best to move the conversation to a more private venue, such as a phone call or email.
- Ask for an update | After working with your customer and finding a solution, circle back and ask them if they would consider updating their review.
- Don’t annoy your customers by pressuring them to write reviews or fill out surveys | The optimal time to ask for feedback is directly following a sales transaction. The more personalized your message is, the higher the likelihood of a response.
- Don’t overreact to customers who leave negative reviews | It’s SO IMPORTANT to remember that people aren’t just reading reviews from other customers – they’re also keeping a close eye on how your business responds to them. Taking the time to craft a polite and helpful response to a negative review sends the right message to the individual who left the review, as well as to your online audience.
- Don’t post fake reviews | Many customers will see right through this strategy, and your reputation will be tainted.
Online reviews can affect the way potential new customers view your business, boost your visibility where it matters most, and help drive a higher volume of traffic to your website. If you don’t have time to focus on your online reviews, we’re here to help! Contact Triton Commerce today to learn more about our review management services