When your potential customers are looking for a product or service, their behavior is driven by a lot of factors. One of the most important is what other people say about it.
It’s estimated that 97% of consumers today use online reviews to make a buying decision. On top of this, 85% of people will trust an online review just as much as a family or friend.
Today, with Yelp, Google Reviews, and Facebook reviews, all businesses are at the mercy of what customers say about them. If the product or service is excellent, a few people will post about it. If the product or service is bad, then a lot of people will post about it. Customers who have had a poor experience are three times more likely to post about it online.
While you can’t control what people write, you can certainly manage the process. Here are some tips for better managing your online reviews.
1) Build your positive reviews
Don’t just rely on people to organically post. If you do, it will mostly be people who want to complain. Even if you have a small number of complaints, this starts to impact new customers.
If a customer has a great experience, ask them to provide a brief online review. Email them a link of where to post it, and how to post it. Most of them will be happy to do it, but won’t do it unless prompted. Don’t ask for a good review, ask for an honest review. If they are happy with what you do for them, they will still give you a good review.
If your business is higher volume, after a sale, you can send an automated email request for a review. However, don’t overdo this by badgering them; do it occasionally, and focus on repeat customers.
The best way to grow the number of reviews online is to ask one to one. A person is much more likely to say yes to a personal request than do it on their own.
2) Read your own reviews
Your customers are essential to the success of your business. This is obvious.
At times, especially when you get busy, it can seem like you know what they want and you don’t need their feedback. However, as customer needs change, you need to be aware of them. Many businesses start to lose traction because they forget to listen to the customer feedback.
One of the best ways to know what is working, or what needs improvement in your business is to read your own reviews. Setup a Google Alert or Mention to monitor new postings online about you, your company and your products. This will help you know what is being posted about your brand on blogs, news sites, social media, videos and discussion groups. It will also help you find ways to tweak your business products and services and make them better.
3) Respond graciously
If you do happen to get a negative review or complaint, it can be tempting to argue or disagree. Often the circumstances that lead to a negative review are convoluted. There is usually some misunderstanding or miscommunication.
No matter what the situation, don’t try to fight fire with fire. Don’t respond to a negative review with more negativity. It is a trap and will deter potential customers from buying from you.
When it comes to responding to negative online reviews, you must take the high road and respond in a courteous, apologetic manner.
You can offer to remedy the situation, refund, or redo the work to make the disgruntled customer happy. Sometimes by doing this, you can redeem an angry customer, and they will remove or change the review.
Even if they don’t respond, a gracious reply shows to other readers that are you doing the very best you can. It makes them more likely to trust you, especially if there are other positive reviews to counter any negative ones.
Interacting with your customers’ online reviews is very important because it shows you care about each customer. It shows potential customers that you are real people, and not a faceless corporation just trying to extract money. Most of all, it shows that you are up-to-date and on top of any issues and that they can trust you to take care of them.
Online reviews are a form of currency. They can grow a business, or they can cause it to stall. With a little effort and consistent follow-up, you will find that your online reputation can help attract new business for you.
Brandastic is a digital marketing agency located in Orange County California. We work with companies in Irvine, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and surrounding cities to enhance their branding and customer reach. Talk to us today about stepping up your online marketing game.