How To Manage Your Business Online Reviews
Consider online reviews as word-of-mouth, but with a significant difference. A small number of individuals may learn about a customer’s negative experience with your business if they share it with a friend. However, if it is shared online, word of the negative encounter will reach hundreds or perhaps thousands of people.
Why Online Reviews Matter
The majority of your potential consumers today use the internet to research the services and goods they want to purchase. They research businesses online, including company websites, Facebook, Google, and Yelp, to find out more about what they do and how well they function. They read consumer reviews that have been posted online and are more likely to believe them because they are from individuals much like them.
Positive evaluations can be a component of your business growth plan. Negative comments may cost you clients. Nevertheless, the review shouldn’t mark the conclusion of the narrative, good or bad. Responding to reviews can increase your consumer base and even restore damage from negative ones.
Online Review Management Starts with Social Media
Customers now use social media sites like Google and Yelp to research almost any type of consumer business, from restaurants to handymen. Customers have the option of searching for establishments around them and posting free reviews of those listed. These websites utilize sophisticated methods to collect and post business information, so even if you never registered on one of them, you could discover that your company is featured there.
Customers can also evaluate your business on Facebook, but unlike Google or Yelp, you first need to create a business profile there.
Some websites serve as online marketplaces designed to connect businesses with clients and customers. These platforms typically focus on certain business niches. In contrast to TripAdvisor, which focuses on vacation and travel services like bed-and-breakfast operators and tour operators, HomeAdvisor assists clients in finding home remodeling and repair services like contractors, plumbers, and painters.
You must sign up for these platforms, frequently for a cost, in order to be listed, receive reviews, and reply to reviews.
Managing Social Media Reviews
Customers can provide reviews for you once your company is on Google or Yelp. However, in order to reply to reviews as a company owner, you must register on these sites. Yelp has a webpage called “Yelp for Business” with sign-up instructions and refers to this procedure as “claiming your business.” You must claim each location if your company has more than one.
You must first claim your business on Google and then use the “Google My Business” page to confirm it. Online instructions are also accessible. Basic company profiles are free, but after you register, Google and Yelp also provide additional services like advertising.
Setting up a business profile on Facebook is also free to users and Facebook provides instructions on its website.
Managing Online Platform Reviews
Online directories like HomeAdvisor, which frequently rate service providers, take a more proactive approach to business listings. Depending on the platform, they may ask you to provide documentation of any necessary licenses and certificates. Some even charge a fee for a simple business profile. Once you’ve registered with these platforms, you’ll be able to respond to reviews, and some of them will even take care of the process for you by getting in touch with you if any complaints are made.
How To Respond To Negative Reviews
By carefully crafting a response to a negative review you can:
- Change the reviewer’s opinion of your company.
- Deter others who have had similar problems from posting their own reviews because they see that the problem has been addressed.
- Spread good will to all who are reading the posts because you are showing a willingness to solve problems and putting a priority on customer service.
Remember that when you respond to a negative review, you are not only communicating with the reviewer but also with anyone else who is reading the posts. Reviews and reactions can influence opinions for months because they are frequently archived online.
Always take a breath before responding to avoid sounding overly passionate or defensive. You could also wish to ask your consumer to update the review once the issue has been resolved if, in the process of fixing the issue, you have taken the chat offline.
Your response should:
Be prompt. Customers want to see that you are in control of your business and that you deal with issues as soon as they arise.
Identify the reviewer by name. Individualized responses demonstrate that you value your consumers and consider each review seriously.
Gratitude to the reviewer. Thank the reviewer for taking the time to offer their opinion.
Be precise. Instead of simply expressing that you want to provide good customer service, for example, your response should directly address the issues stated. For instance, if a client of your hair salon complains online about having to wait a while for service, you could respond, “We were sorry to hear that you had to wait yesterday at the salon. Your time is valuable to us, so we are changing our schedule to prevent it from happening again.”
Admit faults. Be honest about any mistakes you or your team may have made. Customers are aware that mistakes can occur and acknowledging them demonstrates you want to get better.
Offer solutions. Include any remedial actions you can take. Ask the reviewer to get in touch with a specific employee of the business to talk about solutions if the complaint is more complicated or unclear.
Include a personal signature. Don’t just use the name of the company. Include the name of the owner or team member and contact information if applicable.
What Not to Do When Responding to Negative Reviews
Responses of the following kinds should be avoided:
Instead of an online answer, avoid contacting the reviewer. Even if you are able to get in touch with the client who left the review by phone or email and you know them, always answer online first. Others won’t be able to see that the issue has been addressed if you take the dialogue offline. In your online correspondence, you can always request to speak with the reviewer directly, but this should not take the place of an online response.
Avoid being defensive. Lengthy explanations of what occurred are likely to aggravate your consumer further or, worse, serve to support the complaint. Instead, admit the issue and express sympathy for the discomfort or disappointment it brought.
Do not downplay the issue. Despite your opinion that a review is unfair, you should not share your opinion online.
How to Respond to Good Reviews
Don’t undervalue the advantages of replying to all evaluations, including those that are favorable. You have the chance to develop relationships with your customers and demonstrate to others that you take customer service seriously by responding to positive evaluations.
You should respond to positive reviews as quickly as you do to negative ones, using the reviewer’s name. Begin by expressing gratitude to the reviewer for reaching out to you and sign your letter with your name. Your answer ought to include:
Don’t advertise your business. Your answer should be focused on the customer, and you shouldn’t take advantage of the situation to promote or advertise. If you run a restaurant, you might respond with something like, “We are always thrilled to hear from our customers and especially glad to know you had a fantastic experience at our restaurant.”
If you can, provide a benefit. On the reviewer’s subsequent visit, restaurant managers might want to think about providing a complimentary dessert. A store owner can propose adding the reviewer to a mailing list for special offers. A discount on an upgrade could be provided by a cabinet maker. Including a benefit encourages interaction and keeps clients coming back.
Obtain consent before sharing. You could wish to include a phrase asking the reviewer if they would like you to publish it, especially if the review contains a lot of useful information about the customer’s experience. Make sure to specify where and how the review would be included.
More Things to Know About Google and Yelp Reviews
Removing reviews. False reviews or reviews that go against Yelp or Google’s review guidelines will be removed according to their explicit policies. However, social media platforms won’t take sides if you and the reviewer disagree, and they won’t take down a review simply because it is unfavorable. Before considering whether to ask for a review to be deleted and for information on how to do so, consult the site’s review policy.
Encouraging reviews. To entice clients to leave a review, it’s a smart idea to link your Google or Yelp page to your email signature, website, and other electronic communications. You might say, “Please let us know how we did,” as opposed to openly requesting customers to write reviews.
It’s not advisable to try to overstuff your social media pages with reviews you’ve either written yourself or had others write for you. Your page might be flagged or deleted if these sites learn that you have used these techniques. They employ sophisticated algorithms to find these dishonest reviews.
Call MCDA CCG INC today to learn how to grow your business through social media and online marketing!