A recent study shows Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business.
I don’t need the internet. I get my business through word of mouth. I hear that phrase more than you can imagine. It actually still is one of the best ways to get new business. However, the way it was is not the way it is today.
Ten years ago, when someone gave a friend a recommendation, the recipient of the said recommendation would go solely on the friends' experience with the business they are recommending.
However, we all know that even a bad business has a good day every once in a while. Just because your friend had a good experience does not mean that the company has a track record of consistently delivering.
We now have a way to verify if the business is as good as your friend claims, and more and more people are doing it.
Online reviews are becoming part of word of mouth referrals. When someone refers to a business, the recipient is likely to check what the internet has to say about the business also.
The same study we referred to earlier reveals that 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars.
Where are some of the popular places people go to check you out? Google, Facebook, Yelp, and many more.
Here is the alarming part about online reviews, generally speaking, people online leave unprompted reviews when they are not happy. The happy customer does not leave and think my experience was so great I am going to jump online and give them a 5-star review. Sure, some people will, but that is not the norm.
However, when a person has a bad experience, the person is generally looking for a way to let everyone know about the experience they had. They go online and tell anyone who will listen how bad it was.
Now, most of the time, if you, as the owner, knew about the issue, you would have addressed it and turned a negative experience into a good one. However, as business owners, we all know we can not be there for every single customer interaction.
That is why we need to be diligent about monitoring how our employees are interacting with our customers. One of the best ways to do that is proactively asking for feedback.
While doing this, we can address the negative experiences and also ask the majority that has excellent experiences to leave a review on the popular review sites.
People want to help, so if you ask them to help, they will generally want to help. However, most customers do not realize how much a positive review online can help you.
On top of that, customers often do not know how to leave a review, so even if they wanted, they do not know where to go or how to leave the review.
That is why you need a reliable system in place that helps your business get as many positive reviews as possible and at the same time, allow you to address the occasional negative experience a customer may have.
We have a system that allows you to automate the process of following up with your customers and not only asking them to leave a review but directing them to the right place to leave the review.
Then, we allow you to track your reputation online and address any issue that may come up.
First and foremost you want to address it. When a bad review comes some businesses like to put their heads in the sand and ignore it or pretend that it does not exist. That is the one thing you do not want to do.
The study we have referenced a few times in this article shows that 89% of consumers read businesses' responses to reviews. So this gives you a chance to one, show everyone who is reading the review that you are dedicated to making the customer happy and also in some cases tell your side of the story.
Most of the time I only suggest acknowledging the review and letting the reviewer know that you would like to reach out to discuss what happened and to make it right.
When do you give your side? When it is an obviously fake review. Unfortunately, fake reviews happen, and when they do I suggest addressing it. Not by calling the reviewer out, but stating that you do not have a record of then being a customer.
This is how I handle it. “Hey reviewer, we are dedicated to providing the best possible service. After reading your review, I wanted to reach out and talk to you about your experience with us. I checked our database and have no record of this name as a customer. Please reach out to us so we can help resolve your issue.”
Your goal is not to prove that you are right and the customer is wrong. That does not help you in the eye of the potential customer. Your goal when responding is to acknowledge that they feel they had a bad experience and let them and everyone else that reads the review know that you are active and willing to go the extra mile to resolve what could have been a negative experience.
With that being said, I understand that we all sometimes run into crazy customers that can not be pleased and you went above and beyond to make them happy, but yet here they are still unhappy and complaining. The last thing you want to do is challenge them in the review section.
All they are looking for is an acknowledgment that their voice is heard. Don’t push them to make it their mission to tell every single review site how they feel you are the worst business they have ever experienced.
Instead, focus on being the great business that you are and get a bunch of positive reviews that drown out that negative one.
We will all get a bad review
It is not a question of if it is a question of when. You can not please everyone so there will come a time that you get that dreaded 1-star review. I look at it this way...
It is great that you got that bad review. It shows everyone that this is a real business with real review and that you did not just go out and buy a bunch of reviews.
Sign up for a call today and we can discuss how we can help you get more reviews online