by Aaryck Enriquez
Online reviews have great advantages but also have become tricky to manage because you cannot control what people say. However, review sites play a huge part on how people find your business online and decide if they want to buy from you. This is because 90% of consumers read online reviews before they visit a business and 88% of them consider these reviews as personal recommendation.
Here are 4 ways to use good or bad online reviews to your company’s advantage:
1. Know the Big 4.
Simply put, “The Big 4” are Google, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Bing. These sites give consumers access to reviews, information, etc. when it comes to services, restaurants, etc. and they represent almost 80% of the local search traffic.
To maximize efficiency of the Big 4, claim your business on each site, if you haven’t done so already. It can be a lengthy process but trust me, it’s worth it, because once the Big 4 has your business claimed, they will start supplying other online directories with correct and valid information about your business. Also, when you claim your business, you will have the ability to properly respond to the reviews that come in these sites.
Having a more cohesive online presence does lead to more clicks, and more clicks can ultimately lead to more sales! So get familiar with “The Big 4!”
2. Use Your Responses as a Marketing Tool.
When responding to reviews, you can add in a little marketing.
First, if you get a very positive review, formulate a response that is genuine and addresses the reviewer sincerely. Then, try using your business name and location in your response so this review is more likely to appear in search results.
Remember, your reply is now public, so it’s okay to market yourself! Try adding in something that pertains to the review but also your business like, “Sounds like you order from us a lot, did you know we have a loyalty program for great customers just like you?” After that, invite the customer to do something like to return to your store or to invite their friends.
Adding a little marketing to your responses can and will create more incentive for that reviewer to return. It will also inform other consumers who look at reviews before making a purchase decision what you have to offer!
3. Stay on Top of Negative Reviews.
It’s easy to take a compliment, but it’s hard to take a criticism. It’s especially difficult to take a criticism that can be disrespectful and full of “absolutes”, like “this is the worst place EVER” or “NEVER go here or you will regret it.”
Regardless, the more gracefully you can handle the issue, the better it reflects on you.
For negative reviews, don’t be like this person:
Yikes. This business owner did NOT respond appropriately.
To not be like this business owner. First decide which negative reviews require a response. If the review has a rating but no review, there’s not much to be done. If the negative review does contain content, try to respond in a timely manner. We recommend setting up Google Alerts for your business so you can be alerted when someone posts something about you or reviews you online. This will help you stay on top of all reviews!
Once you know there is a negative review, first try to figure out what happened that would cause the consumer to take time out of their day to write a review. Perhaps the kitchen staff was understaffed, or one of your employees was having a bad day; whatever the reason, find out what happened and respond sincerely without using the name of your business or relevant search words. Don’t forget, search engines are looking for these things!
Acknowledge the customer’s concerns. Even if they’re unfounded, show sympathy that they had a bad experience, because again, sometimes people just want to feel heard. However, that does not mean accept blame. Provide contact information so that you can gather more information from them - some sites allow for private messages. Don’t go into too much detail or ask any questions. And certainly do not launch into excuses. This will prevent saying something that could cause the upset customer to add more. Shoot for 3 sentences.
Then, try to move the conversation offline if you can. Have them call you or the manager directly to solve the issue. 1 out of 3 consumers who receive a retailer response to their online complaint end up posting a good review and in addition, 34% end up deleting their negative review altogether.
4. Ask for Reviews
Again, online reviews can help your off-site SEO and they are also here to stay, so you might as well take advantage of that by asking your patrons to review you online. Do this by making it easy for them to review you online! Have a sign by the register or include it in your email marketing to tell them where to go online to review you or have an incentive for them to post a review.
Not making reviews a part of your work processes can ultimately hurt your business because they play a large role in your online marketing. You can have the best looking site in town but if you have a 2.9 star-rating on Google, those consumers will go elsewhere so it’s best to get to work if you haven’t already. If you don’t know where to begin, or just don’t have the time (because it is time-consuming), reach out to us and we can help!