Customers read reviews of products, vendors, or service providers before making a purchase. In fact, 86% of customers hesitate to purchase products or services from businesses with negative online reviews. Reviews are a large part of your business’s online reputation and have a huge impact on your success.
Online reputation management is imperative and refers to monitoring, influencing, and building your brand’s virtual reputation. It shapes the public perception of your brand and helps establish trust for your products and services. If you want to grow your small business, creating customer confidence and maintaining a positive online reputation is key toward your success.
Request reviews from customers
First off, before you can efficiently handle your online review management you need to make sure your business has enough reviews. There are many ways to get customer feedback. You can request feedback in person, over the phone, via email, on your website, or from suppliers and vendors. Whatever route you choose, make sure to accept all feedback, regardless of whether it’s a bad comment or a good comment. Remember that customers are smart and will be able to recognize a genuine review from a fake testimonial. Customers can also find that reviews that are all good might be suspicious.
To get more reviews:
- Ask permission from your customers to turn their feedback into online statements.
- Make phone calls to past clients and ask them if they could share their experience on your website.
- Send an email review request to previous clients with whom you’ve had transactions.
- Collect customer reviews via “thank you” pages after they complete a transaction or purchase.
Respond to reviews
Whether it’s a bad or good review, acknowledging comments goes a long way to establish trust. Moreover, responding to feedback is an essential step towards effective online review management. Think of customer reviews as a way for consumers to say, “you did a great job.” When someone praises you, show your appreciation with a simple and sincere thank you.
There will always be positive, neutral, and negative customer reviews, but a negative one doesn’t necessarily mean bad for your business. If you know how to address this type of feedback, it actually gives your business a sense of honesty and a human touch. Regardless of whether the review or comment is negative or positive, answering customer reviews is a great way to show that you care. Here are some tips when responding to comments:
- Don’t ignore any review and try to reply as soon as you can.
- Go to review websites like Google or Yelp and check local business listings where customers can leave feedback. Many times business owners aren’t aware that their business is listed on these sites and people are leaving reviews.
- Don’t hide negative feedback. Instead, give a sympathetic response recognizing the customer’s feelings.
- Don’t argue with negative comments. Be a problem solver to address customer concerns and empathize with them.
Consider your tone in responses
You can’t please everyone. If you’re in business long enough there will be negative reviews no matter how hard you try to provide the best service. But smart business owners don’t let their emotions dictate their feelings. Behaving in a professional manner is very important when answering reviews on sites or business directories. Keep your cool and have a sympathetic tone to neutralize the effects of negative reviews, both for the customers any potential customers who read the review and your response.
As a small business, always be prepared for one-sided comments or unfair reviews, especially on social media. Responding in an argumentative and defensive manner will do no good for your business. It will just heighten the emotions and create a battleground of comments.
- Stay positive and be professional at all times.
- Consumers are not looking for perfection but rather genuine and caring answers.
- Acknowledge their feelings and always put yourself in their situation when responding.
- Be authentic, and transparent. Most people respect that you take the time to reply in a sincere and professional manner.
Use an online review management tool
If you’ve been in the business for a long time, your reviews are most likely scattered all throughout the web. If this is the case, managing your online reputation can quite be a challenge because tracking all these comments requires a lot of time and patience. To save time, use an online review management tool that will help you do the job quickly and easily.
Review monitoring tools are very useful for addressing complaints or negative reviews before they can damage your reputation. In the beginning, one efficient tool you can use is the “If this, then that” application or IFTTT. It’s an online app that automates everything you can imagine. It works by choosing a channel that triggers an action to another channel. Check out these useful examples:
- Set Facebook as your channel, if your brand was mentioned (trigger), the comment will be emailed on your business account (action).
- If someone likes your post on Instagram, the liked picture will be sent to your Dropbox.
- Use this tool to manage reviews directly in just one single application.
- You can combine 300+ channels to help you keep track of your business reputation.
Learn from your online reviews
Through your online review management activities, you’ll embrace the importance of reviews and the opportunity to learn from your customers. Online feedback is a mirror of your small business, providing you with an opportunity to see how others perceive your business.
If you want to achieve a 5-star rating on review sites and search engines, use this as an opportunity to improve your business. Your customers are telling you the things you can be doing better. Acting on customer feedback can help your business continue to grow.
- Find out what’s wrong and recognize the measures needed to make corrections.
- Analyze reviews and identify if there’s a deficiency or recurring pattern that indicates a problem.
- Improve customer service by training your staff in how to handle and address client feedback effectively and without confrontation.
- Publicize improvements that have come from customer feedback and show your customers that their input is valued.
For more detailed information use the following links:
- Infographic Zendesk: www.zendesk.com