To survive and thrive in today’s digital, customer-driven, market environment, you need to stay one step ahead of your customers. Customer’s, empowered with social media and consumer reviews sites, can help build your business or destroy your business with their online reviews.
According to the 2105 BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey, 92% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision. That’s up from 88% in 2014. Star ratings are the number 1 factor consumers use for judging a business. Of those considering making a purchasing decision based on star ratings, 13% will only consider buying from a store with a 1 or 2-star rating. Restaurants and cafés are most vulnerable to review-conscious customers were 60% of consumers make their decision to visit a food establishment based on the reviews.
Knowing how to manage online reviews is critical to the survival of your business. Below are some tips and ideas for managing online reviews and developing a positive review culture with your customers.
6 Ideas for Improving and Avoiding Negative Customer Reviews
Provide Excellent Customer Service
If you begin with a good foundation in customer service, getting positive reviews will be easy. Listen to your customers, be attentive to their needs, and being pleasant all factor into having excellent customer service. Well treated customers are more inclined to give positive reviews.
Under Promise, Over Deliver
This goes together with providing excellent customer service. Going the “extra mile” (working extra hard for the customer) has its rewards. Customers are pleasantly surprised by your actions and reciprocate by providing good, positive feedback.
Ask Customer for Reviews
When you’re providing excellent customer service and going above and beyond to accommodate your customers, then it’s time to ask for the review. Just ask them if they would consider leaving you a good review if they liked the service received while at your place of business. To make it convenient for your customer, offer free WiFi so they can use their mobile devices while at your store.
Make Reviewing Your Business Easy
Provide links to your review sites on your website, emails, and newsletters. Also, add all social media and review site icons on in-store displays or advertisements that you mail to your customer list. Consider adding QR Codes to your in-store signs and displays or direct mail pieces so customers can easily access your review sites with a single scan of their mobile device.
Ask Family and Friends for Reviews
If you have done business with family and friends, then ask them to review your business. There’s nothing wrong with getting a little help from friends and family, especially if you do not have any reviews yet and you need to build your online review presence.
Respond Quickly to Negative Reviews
If you receive a negative review, respond quickly and with facts, not emotions. Keep your cool and respond professionally and politely. If you can solve a customer’s problem, do so by having them reach you privately via email or calling the business. Help them work through the reason they gave you a bad review in the first place. Once you can solve their problem, you can ask them to reconsider the negative review and either remove it or change it.
Customer’s who are unhappy with a business or product will not only tell friends and family, they will say to the world via online review sites and social media. Be proactive with your online reviews. Make a plan to check the review sites you are on. If you see something that is not flattering about your business, work on correcting it immediately. Remain professional and have patience as this process can take time.