It's A Review World – You Better Adapt

I recently picked up 2 new clients and one of the first tasks is going back through all of the reviews for 2016.  Both of these clients had been ignoring reviews and it was on the top of my list due to the importance consumers have placed on reviews these days.  When I say consumers, I also mean me.  I can honestly say that 50% of the purchases I make through new companies are done after checking out their reviews.  For me reviews aren’t the “end all be all” but they do offer me a glance into how they operate their business over and above what was said about them. 

Online reviews are not going anywhere soon.  They are taking over the online world and there is one common thread many businesses have in common, THEY ARE IGNORING THEM!  

Consumers have a voice more than they ever have with the rise of Social Media.  This has opened up a whole new area that business owners need to focus on.  Out are the days of customers voicing their concern in your business to a manager, they skip that entirely and go online first.  WHY?  Intimidation in my opinion. Most people are not Type A personalities and are not comfortable complaining.  Plus, everyone can hide behind a keyboard and not worry about a confrontation.  Below are my tips on what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

#1 – RESPOND!  Try your hardest to respond to every negative review, then respond to all of the positive reviews (more on that below).  When customers see negative reviews they look to see if you responded.  They are accustomed to not seeing businesses respond so if you respond you’re ahead of the game.  It shows that you care and that you’re paying attention.

#2 RESPOND to positive reviews as well.  I’ll admit I didn’t do this a few years ago until I heard this line at a seminar: “If you passed a person in the hallway at work and they complimented your tie would you ignore them and keep walking?”  Of course you wouldn’t, so when someone says nice things online say THANK YOU.

#3 Be nice.  I’ll admit it, over 50% of the reviews I see are way overblown and out of line.  I’m amazed by what I see people complain over, but guess what, THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT.  There’s only one way to look worse than not reviewing and that’s by starting a fight.  Apologize and try to get the conversation offline.  If it’s on Facebook then ask them to private message the page.  Most people won’t respond to your answer or request, but no one else knows that.  They only see your apology and effort to fix the issue.

#4 If you can’t be nice, delegate this to someone less emotionally tied to the situation.  I get it, our businesses are our babies.  We’ve all worked out butts off to get where we are and HOW DARE someone tell me my baby is ugly.  Reviews can hurt sometimes, and some people are not cut out to answer negative reviews.  If this is the case, have someone else that’s not so close to the product answer them. 

#5 Follow through and make a peace offer.  I don’t care what business you’re in and how much your products cost, bad reviews cost WAY MORE.  Be prepared to make them an offer to make the situation right.  If you’re in the repair business and it was $500 ticket make it right.  If that ticket was $500 then there’s a GREAT chance there are 5-10 lost customers due to that negative review. I’d rather be out $500 than $5,000.  

#6 Prioritize the review platforms for your business.  Unfortunately there isn’t 1 main place to check.  In fact there are way too many.  Yelp, Facebook, Google and the list goes on.  I’d figure out where your biggest impact area is and start there.  For example, I have 7 clients that get hundreds of Facebook reviews, that’s our main focus. Up next are the smaller sites for them like Yelp, Trip Advisor and Google.  

#7 Reviews are and will show you the light.  Guess what?  Every review isn’t by a crazy person and they are offering you a look into your business that you might not get otherwise.  I recently had a customer get 3 1-star reviews in a week.  They hadn’t gotten that many in 6 months. So I dug deeper into the reviews and through conversations OFF LINE I was able to get the employees name.  Guess what, all 3 had bad service from that same employee.  Houston I think we’ve found our problem.  Reviews can be great tools to find out things that are going wrong in your business that you might not realize. 

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST – You’ll increase sales to these customers.  Customers that complain aren’t coming back, UNLESS you get them back.  What’s the worst that can happen, they don’t come back.  But the best case scenario is that you get them back, earn their trust and you have another paying customer. 

Good luck and get your butt to Google, Yelp and Facebook to see what you’ve been missing 🙂

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Matt Plapp

I’m the CEO of Driven Media Solutions, a full service marketing firm located in Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky. I have over 18+ years of experience in small business marketing in the region. From Corporate America to Locally Owned companies, I’ve been involved in most forms of marketing and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I have a strong passion for Guerilla & Grass Roots Marketing, Social Media and Internal Marketing Strategies.

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