Today’s consumer is discriminating and demands excellent service. If your company doesn’t deliver, they will let the entire world know about it. What do you do to manage a negative perception and boost your on-line reputation? If your business is in an area with low foot traffic, doesn’t have an online presence or have a bad reputation due to some negative reviews, how can you entice customers to go out of their way to find your store?
The answer is, online review sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, or Foursquare. Think of customer reviews as recommendations from friends or people in your neighborhood; they are crucial to your success as a small business. You will also reach thousands of more potential customers daily due to increasing your exposure online. According to Dimensional Research, 90% claim that positive online reviews influence their buying decisions.
If you do not have a free Yelp business account, we highly recommend implementing one today. For Trip Advisor, you can set up a business listing for a small fee.
As a small business owner, you can implement these tips to make sure you stay on top of your reviews:
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How to boost your online reputation
Make it easy
It should be simple for your customer to leave a review. Put a Yelp or Trip Advisor sign in your window to advertise that you are on these platforms. Advertise a %10 discount at checkout if they leave a review.
Ensure your products and service are up to standards
If they are not, then customers will let you know. But, if you continually provide excellent service your customers will notice. Make sure your employees are social and friendly – have them talk and get to know the customer. You will create more business by building those relationships, and in turn, receive word-of-mouth advertising and positive reviews.
Reach out to the regulars
If you have loyal or repeat customers, then consider asking them to write a review. These fans will be the ones who write quality reviews that will help bring in new customers. But, make sure to only ask once. Do not be pushy or you will make the customer uncomfortable.
How to manage a negative perception
You must address the root cause of the problems explained by your customers in their reviews. To get an understanding of what is going on behind the scenes, conduct a social media audit. Look at multiple platforms and review sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Twitter and any other sites that impact your business. Review the comments and categorize them into common cause areas. This exercise will show you the pain points. Perhaps you have cleanliness, quality issues or poor customer service comments. Next, prepare to address the various deficiencies.
Once you have your bucket list complete, assemble your team and run through the exercise showing the common complaints. Have an open conversation to determine if you need to adjust processes or set up new training protocols. Make sure everyone is on the same plan - the end game is to deliver excellent quality. Monitor results weekly and monthly for progress.
Ask your guest to write review
Now that you have presumably turned a corner, don’t be shy about asking for reviews. If you know a particular customer has had a great experience ask them to comment. Be sure to thank them, too, or offer a discount on their next visit.
Good Quality and Quantity
Build up your positive reviews and your popularity rating will improve. Many of the sites work off an algorithm system for prioritizing. Remember, you’re only as good as your last review, so keep up the accountability on the back-end.
Managers should respond to negative reviews
Use the process to help identify ongoing customer issues and pain points. Every time a customer leaves a negative review, respond to it on the review site and then figure out how you will alleviate the problem.