Negative reviews are part of doing business.
By Dale Myers
Many consumers these days make purchasing decisions based on a business’ online reviews. In fact, 64% check Google reviews, and it takes 10 reviews for a consumer to trust a business. This means reputation management is crucial, and your online reviews need to be positive.
However, you can’t always please everyone, and negative reviews are part of doing business. Fortunately, there are ways to positively deal with negative reviews, such as responding to reviews, creating and distributing content via social media, websites and blogs, interacting on industry forums under one’s business name, and generating third-party validation with earned media via press releases.
The following five tips will help you handle your business’ reviews.
No. 1: How often should you request reviews?
Businesses should never shy away from requesting reviews from their loyal customers. Be aware, though, that you should not send too many requests at the same time. For example, if 20 people all left a review on Google on the same day, it could affect your business negatively and send out a red flag. One new review per week is sufficient. Did you know that 85% of people disregard reviews over three months old? Although you may feel you have enough reviews already, it doesn’t mean you should stop requesting on a regular basis.
No. 2: How do I request reviews?
One effective method is to use a drip campaign. Don’t just send one email or text. People are busy and tend to ignore or delete emails. A drip campaign reminds them of your request over a suitable amount of time. When you do request a review, be specific with the sites you want to see your review(s) on, such as Google and/or Facebook. Keep in mind that 92% of consumers read online reviews prior to doing business with you and 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust friends.
No. 3: How to respond to reviews.
First rule of thumb is to respond to every review, whether it be a negative or positive review. Bad review damage control includes promptly, yet politely, responding to a review, thus demonstrating to customers that you value their opinion. Reviews are a primary Google ranking factor, so it would behoove you to always respond to negative, as well as positive, reviews, making sure to use service keywords, positive sentiments (i.e. best, great, excellent) and local terms so your business ranks higher on search engines.
No. 4: How to keep track of reviews.
If you’re having trouble keeping track of your reviews you can find a reputable company that can house your reviews in one place. It is also ideal to receive emails or notifications when you receive a review. In addition to Google, Bing and Yelp, and depending on your business, you should also have monitor and request reviews on industry sites such as OpenTable, if you own a restaurant; Zillow, if you’re Realtor; Angie’s List, for a home contractor, etc.
No. 5: Open a Google My Business account.
If you’re partial to Google, and already have a Google account, go the extra mile with Google My Business. In addition to allowing businesses to update their Google Maps and Search listings, Google My Business enables you to manage and reply to your Google reviews, as well as direct your customers to leave positive reviews for your business. The bottom line is that businesses that respond to reviews are more trustworthy than businesses that do not.
Dale Myers is head writer for the NALA, an organization that offers small and medium-sized businesses effective ways to reach customers in the digital age. The NALA offers small and medium-sized businesses effective ways to reach customers through new media. As a single-agency source, the NALA helps businesses flourish in their local community using a variety of services, including press releases and a reputation and directory management program. The NALA’s mission is to promote a business’ relevant and newsworthy events and achievements, both online and through traditional media. For more information or media inquiries, visit www.thenala.com.