18 May Online Reviews – Three Important Things You Need Know
These days, there is no more powerful recommendation for a company than receiving an excellent online review from a satisfied customer. Word-of-mouth recommendations are just as valuable of course, but they reach far fewer potential customers than do online reviews, which makes the reviews a good deal more critical in terms of spreading evaluations about your business.
The scary aspect of this is that those online reviews work both ways –they can be either positive or negative, and can either hurt or help your business to a significant extent. Surveys have shown that nearly 90% of web surfers trust what is written in online reviews as an accurate representation of services provided by a given company.
With that kind of weight and credibility being carried by reviews, it is absolutely essential that you cultivate favorable ones online from visitors to your physical store or restaurant, or to your website store. Here are a few ways that you can make the most of the online reviews, and have them work for you rather than against you. Here are three important information you need to know about reviews.
1-Make a point of tracking reviews
Good or bad reviews, it’s essential that you know what people are saying about you and your business after having purchased from you, or after doing some kind of business with you. To find out what the current buzz is about your business, you should keep track of commentary on Google and Facebook for starters, since those platforms are where many people air their thoughts about customer experiences.
Depending on what kind of business you have, it would also be advisable for you to start up accounts with several websites where numerous reviews get posted. Here are a few places to get you started:
Contractors – Google, HomeAdvisor, Kudzu, and Angie’s List
Restaurants, travel, and retail – OpenTable, TripAdvisor, and Yelp
Medical – HealthGrades, Rate MD’s
Lawyers – AVVO.
One of the advantageous things about having accounts with some of these websites is that you receive notifications whenever anyone has posted a review about your company. That makes it much easier for you to find these reviews in the first place, and it also keeps you up-to-date on what people are saying right now, so you can react quickly if need be.
The information above is great if people are actually taking the trouble to go online and review your establishment – but what if there are very few reviews or none at all about your company? This isn’t something you should be bashful about. Be bold and make direct, but polite requests to customers to review your business, especially when you have a pretty good feeling that they are satisfied customers.
They will probably be more willing to honor your request if you provide them with a business card and a link to your website, or wherever it is you want them to write the review. A couple things to avoid in this area are being pushy about asking for a positive review, and about asking for reviews to be written on sites where it’s specifically discouraged. Yelp, for instance, does not like business owners asking customers to write reviews on their site, but you can sidestep issues like this by simply suggesting that customers visit your business site on Yelp. While they’re visiting, they might just write the review all on their own.
3-Your review responses
While you might prefer to ignore negative reviews and hope that no one sees them, this is probably the worst thing you can do. Many customers who post such reviews, feel like they’re being ignored or dismissed and that their complaints are not being heard or taken to heart. This can alienate a whole lot more than just one customer who is dissatisfied because readers of those reviews can see the same lack of response, and relate totally to the unhappy customer.
Instead, you should see this as an opportunity to demonstrate what great customer service you can provide, by addressing whatever the complaints were and making a genuine effort to correct the situation which caused the dissatisfaction. If you are able to make good with the customer and satisfy their complaint, you might then have an opportunity to ask them to update their negative review to reflect your efforts.
Responding to positive reviews can also be very useful because it shows that you’re an active and involved owner or manager, who listens to customer reviews and is concerned about the total customer experience. That always reflects well on your company and makes users feel like you’re an approachable person or business, rather than some distant, uncaring business entity.