“We got another review on Google.”
“Someone reviewed us on Yelp!”
For many business owners, getting more reviews on Google can make their hearts jump into their throats in terror. They assume it’s a negative review and that they might lose business because of it. However, most customers are looking for some positive feedback when making a buying decision. It’s time to get more positive reviews on Google.
The phrase “online reputation management” can be found everywhere talking about how digital platforms can change how people operate their businesses and might even push them out of business.
Let’s start with a simple idea: The internet is going to change your business. Period.
The question is: Will you learn to make it a superpower or let it destroy your business?
There are a lot of things you can do to turn online reviews into a strength for you.
An article from Inc magazine starts like this, “Research shows that 91 percent of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
And they make that decision quickly:
"68 percent form an opinion after reading between one and six online reviews.”
If 9 out of 10 people look at online reviews and most of them trust them as much as personal recommendations, you need to embrace online reviews.
Sorry. They’re here to stay and they’ve become a massive part of the consumer’s life. Your online review strategy needs to be focused on getting more reviews for your business than your competitors.
Your corporate reputation depends on it!
Ask every customer for a review. There are services that will email and text customers and ask them for a review. There are a couple of reasons to ask for reviews:
If 9 in 10 people are using online reviews for purchasing advice, you need to get a lot of great reviews on the internet. Those reviews will make you money as people show up at your doorstep simply because you have the best reviews in town.
Plus, three awesome reviews aren’t enough. Smart shoppers know that a 4.5 star average of 2,000 reviews is better than 5-stars and only 20 reviews.
If you get a one-star review, it will take five 5-star reviews to get you to 4.5 stars. That might seem unfair, but it’s just math. The one-star review might be unfair and biased, but you have to deal with it. So, getting lots of great reviews will help you keep your average up.
Keep your message concise and easy to understand You can ask them to rate your business on a particular website. Be clear and give instructions. Ask for a rating right away if you are going to ask.
For example, if you ask someone if they have any frustrations, it is easy for them to say "no." But a question like "What could be improved in the company?" assumes that there are some things that could be improved. This allows people to be more open and honest with you. Ask how often customers experience the problem. It is not very often. It happens very rarely. Continue to ask questions until you find a way to have a conversation. To encourage a response, one of the best methods to reach out via email is to end the email with a simple question.
Reply to all reviews! Even the good ones. Say thank you. Invite them back again. Express your gratitude for the review.
A study by the University of Denver's Daniels College of Business showed significant impacts on the financial performance of hotels that responded to TripAdvisor reviews. Research revealed that hotels with very few negative reviews had lower financial performance than those that received positive reviews.
Responding to comments online can also affect financial performance, especially if there are many positive reviews. According to the study, responding to negative reviews can lead to information overload.
Here are some clever ways to respond to positive reviews:
This should be its own book. How you handle negative reviews can make or break your company. Here are the steps for dealing with negative reviews:
If you run a restaurant and you get three reviews in a week telling you that your French fries are terrible, you need to go see what’s happening at the fryer. If you get comments that your receptionist is rude, it’s time for a conversation.
Most people don't take time out of their day to write bad reviews just for fun. If they have even a remotely legitimate complaint, it needs to be put into the mix to see what you can learn from it.
Major chains, like McDonalds and Walmart, will look at thousands of reviews for trends. They use those trends to inform their business. If you have a lot of people all saying the same thing, it’s probably true. It's worth the time to learn from successful businesses how to manage online reviews.
If any of your reviews say that you have the best customer service, that’s your marketing hook. Your ads can be written to highlight that customer service. If back to the restaurant example, everyone says that your pies are amazing, your online ads should talk about pie.
“Play to your strengths.” That’s an old axiom that applies to online reviews. You can discover both your strengths and your weaknesses through online reviews.
Once upon a time, about 20 years ago, when there was no internet, people found out where to eat lunch, what bank was great, and how to find an amazing mechanic by asking other people. Today, those word-of-mouth recommendations are mixed in with word online reviews that everyone sees online.
It doesn’t require that you’re perfect. It does require that you do your best, recover from negative reviews and that you take what reviewers say seriously. Reputation management for small businesses involves monitoring and responding to your customer's needs.
If you follow the advice above, you’ll get more positive reviews on Google and find yourself turning customer reviews into a superpower. Your business will be ready for the rest of the 21st century.