For the average small business owner, reputation is important. What customers think, write, and say about your business can easily influence the decisions of others. Thanks to the internet, critics are not the only people talking. Between social media, blogs and review sites, your customers are speaking out whether you like it or not. Yes, we have all encountered the detrimental 1 star review from an irrational unsatisfied customer. But customer reviews are not all bad, and if handled properly, they could actually help your online reputation. Here are a few tips:
- Don’t neglect bad reviews. Whether it’s a good or bad review, customers love to know that they’ve been heard. If a customer has left a negative review for your business, be careful of how you respond. Even if you don’t agree with the commentary, acknowledge their concern and offer an opportunity for redemption. In addition, try to respond internally to the root of the problem. What went wrong? How can you prevent this issue from upsetting another customer?
- Encourage positive reviews. If the customer is leaving a positive review, respond to it! Let them know how happy you are to hear from them and encourage them to come back. Customers love to connect with local businesses on a personal level. This type of communication is the foundation of customer retention. Even better, repost their review. For example, if someone had left an outstanding review on your Yelp page, copy and paste it in quotations onto your Facebook wall for others to see.
- Give them something else to look at. Add your menu, photos, and other informative details to your online listings. At the end of the day, this information is a better representation of your business than any customer review. When surveyed, the majority of consumers said that the menu is the number one thing they look for when deciding where to eat. This is not to say that reviews are not relevant - they are. But studies have shown that there are other things that consumers are looking for first. Put your menu & photos online and start taking control of your online content!