What do your customers think about your business and the services you offer? More importantly, what do people say about them?
There is an easy way to find out. Online Reviews.
Go ahead and Google your business. I’ll wait…
Are the reviews good? Bad? Are there any reviews at all?
Here’s the thing… whether or not you like or use online reviews personally, they must be an integral part of your marketing strategy.
Consumers love online reviews. They use them daily to gain insight on everything from Amazon products to accountants, doctors, restaurants, car dealerships and just about everything else.
In fact, 93 per cent of consumers read local reviews to determine whether or not they will use a service or buy a product.
This can be scary for any industry. After all, as my mother always says, “you can’t control other people, you can only control yourself.”
Everyone has bad days including customers and employees. The thing is, a negative review can have long-term negative effects on any business, whether it is deserved or not. This applies to five-star ratings as well.
There’s lots of competition out there. If a potential client has a choice between a product or service with a three-star review and one with a five-star review, which one do you think they will choose?
If you are one of the five-star review types, keep reading, there is something for you here too.
Thankfully, businesses are not helpless when it comes to online reviews. When handled correctly, even negative reviews can become a valuable part of your sales and lead generation process. Putting an online Reputation Management program in place can also help you find holes in your business where you are losing clients or customers.
Here are three ways you can redeem/manage your online reputation.
1. See your business from your customer’s perspective.
The first thing to look at is your mindset. When you look at your business, what is your frame of reference for how well things are going?
Even with the best intentions, it is very easy (and common) for a company to become inward focused. So much goes into setting up, managing and maintaining a business or service that the customer on the the other end doesn’t see. That’s often the natural frame of reference a manager or business owner has. It’s understandable, but it can be deadly to your business.
On the other hand, your customer’s only frame of reference is their experience with your business or product. Their most recent experience is the one that carries the most relevance to them.
Having an Online Reputation Management program set up will help you discover what your customers are really seeing and experiencing. This will provide insights into how you can not only serve and retain your current customers but also attract new ones.
2. Learn from negative reviews
A vast percentage of consumers (74 percent) say they will not use a business with poor reviews.
That said, negative reviews do not have to be all bad. Anyone can have a bad day. For a customer, a less than desirable experience can often send them running to vent their frustration on a review platform such as Google or Facebook.
When this happens, it is important to respond to these quickly and carefully.
To be sure, some negative reviews can be fabricated in order to sabotage a business. These fake reviews can be appealed on most platforms including Google and Facebook.
If the reviews do not meet their terms of service, then they will often be removed on request. This process can take time however and the reviews still need to be addressed.
Regardless of whether the review is real or fake, there are three things you need to remember before you respond:
Remember, other consumers will read the negative reviews, and if they see that you have addressed the problem in a professional manner, they will often see those as positive outcomes in an unfortunate situation.
Often, when a customer has a poor experience, they simply want to first to be heard, and second, to feel that they are valued. This could take the form of anything from a sincere apology, to a discounted or complimentary service or product.
One of the most valuable aspects of a negative review though is the opportunity to identify areas in your business that need improvement, especially if you begin to notice a pattern. This will help you to strengthen your business and more than likely retain a valuable customer at the same time.
3. Generate positive reviews
Interestingly enough, when consumers are looking for reviews, even if the reviews are glowing, they will give more credibility to recent reviews. By recent I mean within three months, preferably less. This means you need to have a steady stream of positive reviews.
Generally, consumers are more likely to complain than to praise, especially when it means going out of their way to write a review. It takes an exceptionally excellent experience for a consumer to take the time to write a positive review. These reviews are awesome when they come in but they can be few and far between.
And what about all the people who have a great experience, but just never say anything about it? Sure, they might tell you they had an amazing experience. They might even be perfectly willing to write you a good review but it rarely turns into anything more than that.
So how do you generate those positive reviews on a regular basis? There are two keys to this…
Often, someone who has had a good experience will be more than happy to tell others about it given an easy opportunity to do so. Otherwise, it’s just not something people think of doing.
Depending on the type of service or products you provide, there are a variety of ways you can ask for reviews. It might be a sign at your cash register, a text message or an email with a link to your Facebook or Google review page. You could even send them a postcard.
The key is to be consistent.
Online Reputation Management Automation
Wouldn’t it be nice though if you could get people to send negative reviews directly to you instead of just broadcasting their frustration to the entire world? That would at least give you an opportunity to respond to them right away and maybe turn their frown upside down with your amazing customer service.
Or, what if you could automatically send people you are fairly certain will give you a four or five-star review directly to the most relevant review platform for your industry?
Online reviews, especially positive ones, are one of the most valuable assets in your digital marketing strategy. When you are consistently getting relevant, real and recent online reviews, it not only protects and maintains your online reputation and brand, it is also a powerful way to generate new leads for your business.
If you already have a four or five-star rating, congratulations! Well done! We would love to help you protect your fabulous reputation.
If you have a poor online rating of 3-stars or less, we can help you repair your online reputation and get you back into the good graces of the Internet public.
If you have no reviews, we can help you get some. No reviews are almost worse than negative reviews. People will wonder if your business still exists.
So give us a call or send us a message and then leave us a good review!