Go back a couple years and you would find most people found small businesses by opening up a phone book. Even more so, Ms. Jones would get her shopping referral from word of mouth. While referrals are still a big deal, today those referrals come from an online environment in the form of reviews. Thanks to online review sites and social media, these reviews are accessible to a large number of consumers. Those reviews, just like word of mouth referrals, carry a lot of influence online and offline. However, more importantly the response of your business is the one thing that will convey the most influence to Ms. Jones.
For many business owners the common reaction to bad online reviews is to either ignore or protect the business. Both actions are the wrong ways to deal with it. Every review that you get both positive and negative needs to be responded in a productive way. Keep away from the quick-tempered comments back to Ms. Jones. Remember, dissatisfied people speak a whole lot louder and a whole lot more than people who are happy.
If the complaint is something that can be fixed by giving a refund or a discounted rate (I know we hate those words), do it! If it’s a case where the customer is truly wrong, explain everything in detail that you did to correct the situation. However, make sure you recognize the unhappiness and express some sort of understanding over the complaint. You know the saying “think before you speak”? When responding to reviews, it’s best to always “think before you type”. Your quick and timely response to whatever the person said is going to have more of an impact than the positive review.
There are some simple ways to “monitor” your online reviews.
Simply enter a search query you wish to monitor (your business name, furniture, etc). You can pick the result type, how often you get alerted, how many results you wish to receive, and where you want the alert to be delivered (email).
Visit www.google.com/alerts for more information!
Hyper Alerts is an easy to use email notification service for Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to as many Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and search phrases as you like. Choose to get alerts within minutes, or a digest every hour, day, week or month.
Online reviews are all about damage control and making sure the review doesn’t spread farther. With a consistent response strategy, you can turn a bad online review into a positive outlook for your business.