- Jul 24, 2017
By Wayne Karlins
With statistics showing that as many as 70% of consumers make decisions based on input from on-line reviews, your business’s reputation is on the line nearly every single day. Complaints and compliments are no longer handled by letters written to management. Now they are posted on sites like Yelp, Google, Facebook and hundreds of others. Consumers see great value in these personal testimonials, and now even professionals such as doctors and lawyers are subject to on-line scrutiny.
Unfortunately, there are a higher percentage of individuals who will write a review when they are angry than when they are satisfied. So, it is important to ask your happy customers to share their experiences publicly. Make sure your employees know to ask for a review, either through comment cards that they can hand to a customer, or by sending customers a follow-up e-mail after your products and/or services have been delivered. Some of the businesses I work with have tablets available for customers to write reviews on the spot. Another option is to ask for a review by providing a link directly to the site where you would like them to comment.
Secondly, there are best practices you can follow to manage your reviews. At least once a week, check the sites such as Yelp, Trip Adviser and Google where you know you will be reviewed. It’s important to remember that several of these sites use publicly available data to generate a page for your business. Make sure to “claim” your business page on as many sites as you can, which is free and will allow you to have more control over what it contains. You will also be notified when you have a review and can promptly respond.
Whether a great review or bad one, I recommend that you respond to all of them. Responding quickly shows that you’re attentive and care about your customer’s experiences. If it is a bad review, take time to calm down and then respond in a courteous manner. Do not point fingers or tell the person they are wrong. Address the issue and tell them how it will be resolved. Proceed with the way you typically handle complaints, whether offering a free service, a sincere apology or a direct phone call. If you have a positive review, make sure to thank the customer, tell them how much their business means to you, and how much you look forward to doing business with them again.
Finally, make sure to link to your favorite review sites from your website. Always stay active on social media so your clients see you as more than the way you are portrayed on review sites. The more you are available, the more a customer views you as a person instead of a business. Customers enjoy working with people they like and trust on a personal level.