What’s the first thing you do before you buy something or go to a store?
According to the experts at AdWeek, 81% of shoppers do online research on the company or product they are considering BEFORE they make a purchase. A major part of thisresearch process consists of reading online reviews. Whether we like it or not, reviews are one of the most important and trusted resources that people take into account when choosing where to shop, eat, or do business.
As a business owner, reviews are extremely important to your reputation, and they simply can’t be ignored. Your goal should be to generate positive reviews from your customers. But how? How do you get someone to go home and write a review after a good experience? What do you do when someone gives you a bad review?
Don’t worry, keep reading and we’ll answer all these questions for you.
But first, the key to your reputation starts with YOU.
- Take Care of Your Customers – No matter what industry you do business in, whether you sell products or provide a service, customers should always be your number one priority. The only way to keep people coming back to your business is by providing them with a quality product/service and excellent customer service. Make sure everyone on your staff is properly trained in how to handle customers so people continually leave your business with a smile on their face.
- Admit Your Mistakes – Nobody’s perfect, and that’s ok, but as a business owner it’s important to recognize when you or your staff have made a mistake. Customers will be much more likely to forgive you if you admit that there was an error, and are willing to make the situation right. Providing a reparation for a mistake such as a discount, refund, or free service, will make your customers feel better and be willing to trust you for future purchases.
- Encourage Good Reviews – Having good reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc., are not only important for your reputation, but also for your online presence. Reviews play a factor in your overall Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and can affect how you appear in online search results. So how do you get customers to leave you good reviews? Catch them in the heat of the moment when they’re feeling great about your product or service. For example, if a customer comes in to your business or comments on your Facebook about how much they love your new product, ask them politely to leave you a review. Most customers will be happy to share their good feelings with the rest of the online world.
- Incentives for Reviews – While there are plenty of dirty methods for getting reviews onto your social pages, we prefer business owners take the ethical approach. Instead of hiring someone to write you fake reviews or creating numerous fake online accounts to leave reviews for your own business, try offering your customers incentives. A customer will be more likely to leave a review if there’s something in it for them, such as a discount or free product.
- Think Before You Type – Bad reviews are inevitable, even for the most successful and respected businesses, but there’s a wrong and right way to handle them. Make sure you read the customer’s words carefully and try to see the situation from their point of view BEFORE you respond. Remember, anything you put on the Internet will be there forever, even if you think you deleted it, so choose your words carefully.
- Listen and Respond – Once you’ve thoroughly read through a review, you should first respond by acknowledging the customer’s issue. Tell them you appreciate their opinion and apologize if they had a bad experience. Even if the issue wasn’t necessarily your fault, putting the blame on the customer will do the situation no good. Instead, politely ask them for another opportunity to make the situation right, either by fixing the current problem or providing them with a complimentary product or service in the future. If you have the customer’s contact information, you can also reach out to them with a phone call to talk more about the situation. However, it’s important for your online reputation that you respond to all bad reviews so other customers see that you handled the situation with grace.
- Recognize the Problem – If customers continually leave you bad reviews about defects with your product or bad customer service, it may be time to do an internal check of the situation. The best way to prevent future bad reviews is to nip the problem in the bud. Make sure you are paying attention to the customers’ complaints and do your best to fix the problem before it happens again. If it’s a customer service issue, you may want to have a conversation with your employees or consider some extra training on how to handle tough situations.
- Let the Good Times Roll – Responding to good reviews is just as important as responding to bad ones. If a customer goes out of their way to leave a compliment on your page, make sure you thank them for taking that time. Frequently responding to good reviews in a timely manner helps you build relationships and a strong base of returning customers. After all, the easiest customer to get is the one you already have!
Now that you know how to manage future reviews, take some time to look at the current reviews on your page. Read through all your reviews, good and bad, and make sure you respond to them all in the appropriate way. Also, take note of any complaints or problems that customers brought up, and ask yourself what you’ve done to address those issues. A successful owner must always look for ways to improve their business, and reading reviews is a great place to start.
Managing and responding to all your online reviews and customer comments can take up a lot of time, time you don’t want to take away from running your business. If that’s the case, you may want to hire someone to handle your online customer management. Social Media Marketing Experts have experience in managing online reviews and comments, leaving you more time to focus on making money for your business. If you’d like to learn more about reputation management, or need someone to help you manage your online presence, contact our team at NetSource Technologies or give us a call at 1-800-709-3240.