Welcome to owning a business in 2017. Just a few short years ago, you would receive an occasional phone call from a customer who was not satisfied with his product or service. Perhaps you’d receive an email or two from those who thought your business was the greatest thing since sliced bread. But now, those emails and phone calls are nonexistent. Now, those customers–the happy ones and the not so happy ones–let the world know what they think of your business on popular review sites like Yelp, Google, Facebook and more.
When it’s positive feedback, it can be exciting, and when it’s not so good, it can be infuriating. But like it or not, online reviews are here to stay, so you might as well embrace them as a business owner in today’s world of “always on” technology.
In fact, if your business targets millennials, which now include ages 18-35 as of 2017, and you’re NOT gathering online reviews…your business might not be around for long.
According to one marketing analysis, nearly 70% of all US consumers look to online reviews before making a purchase of goods or services, and more than 80% of millennials research your company and services online. And while the negative reviews aren’t always fun to hear about, you should also keep in mind that 57 percent are suspicious of products with only positive reviews. So as long as you’re listening for, and responding to them, negative reviews aren’t always bad.
So how should YOUR business handle online reviews?
1. Ask for them.
You should encourage every one of your customers to leave an online review, and make it easy for them. One of the hardest things in marketing is to get someone to go from print to online, so provide them with links in follow up emails. I recently received this in an email from Caeser’s Palace in Las Vegas after a recent stay.
It’s very clean, to the point, and makes it easy for me, as the customer, to leave a review on TripAdvisor.com. If you want to suggest multiple sites to leave reviews, include all of those images that link to your profile on each site. Do NOT send them to the other site and expect them to track down your profile.
2. Encourage your employees to ask for them
This is a great tool for your business on more than one front. If you reward your employee(s) who receive the most reviews each month, then you create an incentive for them to ask for reviews as well. And the bonus as a business owner/manager, is that if they’re asking for reviews at the end of each transaction, you can bet that they’ll also be more mindful of the overall experience that they provide your customers.
3. Create online profiles
When your customers visit your profile page for Yelp.com, or reviews on Google, Facebook, etc., make them feel welcome when they land on the page. Add profile photos, update your information and hours of operation, upload multiple photos and update your status as applicable. The more you can make your online presence feel like your business in real life, the better your reviews will be.
4. Answer your reviews
Obviously, you cannot sit at a computer and respond instantly to all of your reviews, but someone in your company should be monitoring your reviews on a daily basis. When the feedback is positive, be sure to thank them for taking the time to leave feedback. If it’s a negative review, empathize with the customer on the public review and reach out to them to see what you can do to resolve the situation. When potential consumers see a business handles their mistakes, it provides a very authentic element to the business’ brand.
Have questions about YOUR business’ online image? Need help telling YOUR business’ story? Contact 6 Shooter Marketing today!