Nearly 90 percent of consumers read online reviews about local businesses, and nearly 60 percent will only use a business if it has four or more stars. Face the facts: Online reviews are not going anywhere, so don’t hide from them.
In fact, take it to the next level by encouraging even more reviews, and shout it out loud and proud when you get awesome ones. Although they’re likely smart enough to realize there may be more to the story than what a reviewer wrote, consumers do trust other people’s reviews. That’s why you should not only take online reviews seriously, but also use them as somewhat of a roadmap for continued improvement within your organization.
The Do’s of Online Reviews
1. Include a review button on your website, and make it visible and accessible.
2. Promote reviews in your place of business with notices, and consider mentioning reviews on your business cards. Encourage reviews within your social media posts, blogs, and promotional materials as possible.
3. Respond to every single review: good, bad, and in-between. For the good ones, state how grateful you are for the review and the customer’s loyalty. For the ones that aren’t so positive, respond sincerely by thanking them and letting them know that you will use their feedback to make positive steps forward.
4. When you get a really great review, pump it up on social media. In order to respect the integrity of the review, you might not want to use the reviewer’s name or exact comments. Instead, you can post a link to the reviews with a caption to the effect of, “Wow! Another outstanding review! They never cease to make our day, and we feel privileged to make someone else’s day better with great service,” and then include a link to the reviews.
5. Claim your business on Google and other search engines, and then set up your business on review sites so that your customers can find it.
6. Respectfully correct factually inaccurate reviews.
7. Keep your eyes open for any potential legal issues.
The Don’ts of Online Reviews
1. Never, ever get into online arguments or virtual shouting matches. Reviews reflect your reputation, and you always want to appear dignified, respectful, approachable, and professional.
2. Do not post generic responses. Instead, be personable as you’re responding to each one. Your customers will recognize the fact that you took the time to do so, and they’ll appreciate the sincerity.
3. Don’t sweat one negative review if you have dozens of positive ones, as the review could be stemming from a customer’s personal preference that you simply can’t change. However, don’t ignore it either. Think about what caused the negative review and evaluate whether or not change is necessary within your business. On the other hand, if you have several negative reviews and a low star rating, you will want to give serious thought into how improvements can be made. Having many negative reviews reveals a pattern that your business may need to address internally.