Internet reviews are equivalent to first impressions; when we meet someone for the first time, we remember their words, gestures, and attitudes. Similar to the first interaction with someone new, individuals encounter the same scenario via reviews. It’s the impression one can gather by the public to determine if they should or shouldn’t do business with you.
Steps to Win Great Business Reviews
Many businesses tend to overlook reviews instead of embracing them as part of a hands-off marketing strategy. Companies can stay ahead of the game and win customers’ loyalty before they even step into any store!
Ask for them: Gone are the days when various businesses tried to guess what a customer wanted – now you can just ask them up front. Getting employees involved in this can help amp up the A+ reviews, too. Whether it’s a follow-up email after purchase or a scripted statement added to a cashier’s daily response, it’s always better to ask a happy customer to share their experience than wait for an angry one to create a negative review.
Measure Review Acquisition: Prioritize gaining reviews through different initiatives amongst employees and customers. Businesses would be surprised just how many good reviews they can obtain by offering a small token of appreciation for completing it.
Example: Massage Envy has a Member Referral Program to keep their business growing. If a new customer refers a friend within the first 30 days of their wellness program, the customer has the opportunity to receive a 60 minute complimentary wellness massage.
Where should businesses look for reviews?
It’s evident that by frequently encouraging your consumers to submit reviews, participate in surveys and provide feedback, eventually, they will. Once they do, it’s essential to take into consideration what they are saying.
There are four websites where people visit to search for or leave a review: Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Trip Advisor. So, before responding to any others, make sure the big four sites are tackled first – it’s where most people will go before anywhere else. It’s also a great idea to check out comments left with the Better Business Bureau – people trust the organization and look for credible information on new, rising businesses.
Responding to reviews
It is an excellent practice for businesses to respond to reviews, both good and bad. Ideally, most would want to acknowledge only positive comments. Still, by appropriately recognizing the negative, consumers will view this action as a form of care and appreciation – which can, in return, win you their loyalty. Every review should be taken with much gratitude and as feedback to improve any business.
Positive Reviews: Non-generic, meaningful reviews require a genuine, thoughtful response. It does not have to be wordy, but it should reflect real appreciation.
Negative/Poor Reviews: To appropriately respond to a negative review, show empathy, apologize, keep it short, and move the situation offline to provide the best solution (and avoid getting others involved). Going back and forth about what’s right or wrong is not a good look for the business and could make others reconsider doing business with a company.
Example: Below is an example found on Forbes; this is a model that addresses a negative review while moving the situation out of the public’s eye with few words:
“If you’re open to discussing this further, please call us at (888) XXX-1234 and ask to speak with Jamie, our General Manager. We’d greatly appreciate the opportunity to make things right and work toward earning back your business.”
Remember, reviews do matter.
Some may say it’s unjust, and some may agree that it can be unfair because brands have no control over what people will say. Still, a brand does have control of a customer’s experience – how a company responds to any situation or review can determine future business with the individual who left a review and those reading them.