Tag Archive: online reviews

  1. How to Monitor Your Business’s Online Reviews

    Blog Update 8/28/18:

    As social media continues to be ever-so integrated into our everyday lives staying on top of your online reviews is more important than ever. Since the publishing of this blog post, we have seen platforms like Facebook continue to utilized location-based services and their handy algorithm to not only suggest your business to nearby or like-minded users but also remind them to tell their friends about their experience and let them know if they recommend a visit… or not.

    What people have to say about your business means just as much as the narrative you craft through all of your marketing channels. Though it might seem like you can’t control a narrative told by your audience in the form of online reviews, that’s simply not the case. As this blog post states, by consistently engaging with reviews (good and bad), you are showing the public you value and care about the experience of every customer. Moreover, you’re listening. And that sentiment can go a long way in saying thank you to your fans and promising better for your detractors.  

    -Anthony Charmforoush, Digital Marketing Manager


    Let’s time travel. Do you remember the feeling you got as soon as you finished a big test? Regardless of how you think you did, there was still a bit of excited tension (mostly panic in my case) in not knowing what your grade would be.

    Think you did terribly? Maybe you got lucky with the Christmas tree pattern technique on that Scantron sheet. Pretty sure you aced it? Well, I had some past teachers who were known to grade without mercy, so you never know.

    Online Reviews

    Many business owners and managers feel waves of the same anxiety when it comes to being reviewed by their customers. Unlike the school days, however, whether your customers give you an A+ or a big, fat F, you have to respond to online reviews or risk looking uninterested or uncaring. You see, these “grades” are being posted on the largest public corkboard on the planet – the internet.

    However, simply responding is not enough; according to a recent study published by the Americas Conference on Information Systems, “Our findings suggest that managerial intervention should be strategic…” There must be strategy and thought put into each response you provide.

    Let’s look at the best ways to handle the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to your business’s online reviews.

    Three Ways to Respond to Online Reviews

    The Good

    In the best case scenario, your fans are so happy they feel the need to share just how awesome your brand is with the world. By leaving a positive review of your business or product on the slew of social channels out there, your customer is providing something that no amount of advertising can get you: AUTHENTIC WORD-OF-MOUTH MARKETING. This public praise is a valuable gift that should be treated as such, and with every gift a thank you card should be received.

    Happy Customers

    You may let the good reviews and feedback take a backseat to negative reviews, but this is a rookie move. Ignoring a positive review is something like getting a compliment, staring the nice person in the face and walking away without even a smile. Talk about rude, right?

    Instead, respond to all positive reviews and thank the reviewer for their kind words while referencing any specific product, feature or employee that they encountered. This shows that you took the time to read their response (a.k.a. showing you care) and also provides the bonus benefit of highlighting what they loved about your business for others to see.

    For a bit of added branding and SEO kickbacks, you may also want to reference the name of your business before asking them to come back soon.

    The Bad

    We have all been this person. You know, the one who after a bad experience has to immediately write that fiery Yelp review, because your voice needs to be heard and everyone needs to know about what happened.

    Annoyed Review

    The unfortunate truth is, stuff happens. Mistakes are made, accidents occur and sometimes, there is just no pleasing people. Though you have to operate understanding that not everyone will be your biggest fan, it is a mistake to pretend your company’s negative reviews don’t exist, especially if these criticisms are valid.

    If you receive a negative review from a customer, treat them with care and courtesy. Though you may not be able to fix their negative experience, you still can improve the situation by being kind and understanding in the aftermath. According to a 2015 report by TripAdvisor, 83% of guests in the U.S. who had a negative hotel experience would consider returning to the hotel if they received an appropriate management response. The numbers don’t lie.

    Start by apologizing for their experience, mention that this is not the standard that your company strives for and ask that they contact you directly (provide your contact information of course) so that you can resolve the issue with them. The last thing you want is for the entire negative experience to be hashed out in a public forum for all to see.

    Keep it short and sweet – there’s no need to bring more attention to a mistake than necessary. Remember, you get more catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

    The Ugly

    Both good and bad reviews can be great learning experiences for your company. They enable you to easily see what’s working and what isn’t, straight from your customers’ mouths. If you want to improve in anything, constructive criticism is pretty much mandatory.

    However, the internet is a big place, people aren’t always the best and sometimes things can get weird. From explicit language being used to threats, chances are you’ll find something difficult to deal with on your business’s social pages at some point.

    Angry Customers

    When this happens what ever is a brand to do? Well, it’s tricky. Each situation should be taken on a case-by-case basis, as upsetting an already distressed customer may end in a PR nightmare.

    In most cases, it’s best to open with the same consideration you would with any disappointed or angry customer: apologize for their negative experience and ask them to reach out to you directly via email or phone. If the commenter uses abusive, vulgar or inappropriate language, you can request from the review site that the post be deleted, but note that it is up to the admins of the review site to do so. They are the final judges of if a review post should be deleted or not due to inappropriate language. However, only proceed with this course of action as a last resort. People absolutely hate their comments being censored or deleted, and it may appear to customers that you are trying to cover up your mistake or hide something. At the end of the day, if reviews or comments violate your brand’s ethical standards, are offensive or violent, they may have to go.

    You may also encounter those lovely internet trolls, whose only goal is to get a rise out of your customers or your brand itself, offering no constructive or even valid criticism. Always respond professionally. In some cases, you may be able to hide these posts. Facebook, in particular, has the ability to “hide” comments, which doesn’t delete the comment but makes it invisible to the public. This means the reviewer may never even realize his or her comments can’t be seen by anyone but themselves. Never “feed” the trolls by playing into their games. It never ends well.

    Passing Grade

    Whether you’re given an A+ or F-, it’s important to find the value in the direct feedback that online reviews provide your company. Moreover, you should seize the opportunity that online reviews allow for interaction with both those who love your company, and those who your company has let down. It also provides the opportunity to better your product, service, or experience. Just remember: though you may be responding to one person, your conversation is potentially being seen by everyone that may come across your page.

    Bottom line: don’t ignore your online reviews. After all, you’ll never know if you passed the test without seeing your grade.

  2. 5 Ways to Generate Organic Online Reviews

    You’ve heard all about why your business needs to be on social media. In the grand scheme of things, it’s still the new kid on the block in the neighborhood of marketing. But just because so much attention has been focused on the shiny and new does not mean that you should lose sight of what has come before. Heck, vintage is the new trend, is it not?

    Vintage Store

    Just look at all these trendy vintage goods.

    Ok, it’s not quite “vintage,” but the art of the online review is still a marketing tactic that you should keep in your back pocket. Whether you have a brick and mortar business or a digital storefront, what people are saying about your products and/or services is where it’s at for consumers.

    Consumers Rely On Reviews

    Think about the last time you purchased a pair of new shoes online. You probably Googled a few key phrases, clicked on a few websites, and read what other people were saying about the shoes before “Ordering Now.” Who wants to spend their hard-earned cash on something that will just give them blisters and bromodosis? Certainly not the 77% of people that have taken the time to read reviews before deciding whether or not to pull out their wallet. Liked that statistic? Here, have some more:

    Reviews have the highest effectiveness rating (89%) when it comes to content marketing

    90% of consumers admit that they have made their purchasing decisions based on online reviews

    Online reviews may not be a shiny and new marketing tactic, but they are still as relevant as ever. I’ve pulled together 5 tips to get you started on your path to online review fame.

    Get Listed

    In order for people to leave a review about your business, you need to be listed on review sites. This typically means Yelp, Foursquare, Google+, Angie’s List, or if you really want to get serious, the Better Business Bureau.

    But don’t just leave it at these. A good way to determine which websites you should be listed on, do a quick Google search for your industry + reviews. This will bring up plenty of niche websites that you should consider when getting listed.

    Make It Sincere

    Cute GrandmaPeople aren’t dummies. They can tell when a review is paid for, incentivized, or worse, written by your grandmother. The worst thing you can do is be too pushy about asking for reviews. Stray away from asking too aggressively or frequently on social media sites, through email, and on your website itself. In fact, Yelp watches you like a hawk — if it sees fishy behavior, it may revoke your privileges altogether. When signing up for listings sites, make sure to read their guidelines before soliciting reviews.

    The best thing you can do is be human about it. Think of it from another angle. Would you want to engage with a company that is begging for people to say nice things about it? Probably not. No one likes a compliment fisher. Instead, ask your account managers to send personalized emails to their clients showing their appreciation and asking for some back. Make it easy for them by sending a simple link directing them straight to the review website. If your employees recognize that a customer is particularly happy about their service and/or product, make sure that they ask them to leave a review of their experience before parting ways.

    Recognize Good Reviews

    Customers love to feel appreciated by the companies they choose to do business with. If you’re asking for appreciation, it’s only natural to give some back. Pick some of the particularly kind reviews left and showcase them on your social media sites. On the listings that allow you to engage with users, reply to them. Thank them for taking the time to talk about their experience. If people recognize that you actively engage with your customers, they will be more likely to want to share their stories.

    Recognize Bad Reviews

    This is the part where most business people will roll their eyes and scoff. “Someone wrote some bad reviews about us on this site. I would like them removed.” I’ll put it bluntly: ignoring your customers is probably the reason you’re receiving bad reviews in the first place. Every company has its bad and good moments. Every customer isn’t going to be 5-star satisfied every time. When your company slips up, own up to it, apologize, and find a way to remedy the situation. Others will see that you genuinely care about righting your wrong  and this goes a long way.

    Focus on Customer Service

    Bottom line: always focus on giving your customers the best service possible. They’ve chosen your company over all others — show them why. You can’t expect good reviews to fall out of the sky, you have to deserve them. Aren’t you more likely to leave a review when you’ve had a great experience?

    You wouldn’t buy a skirt without asking your friends first if it looks good on you. Would you hire a company without asking if they’re worth your time and money? Just remember, 77% of people wouldn’t. Don’t force your customers into that uninformed 23%.