If you're a business owner you likely care about what people have to say about your company, or in other words, your business reviews. Whether you're a baker, a retailer, attorney, doctor, or hotel operator, you all have one thing in common. Your customers have opinions, and they're going to share them on places like Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, and other popular business reviews sites.
If you checked right now, do you think you'd be happy with your company reviews by customers? Go on, take a minute to go check popular business review sites, like:
These are just the most popular ones, but the list of business review sites goes on and gets even more specific by industry. The platforms that customers leave online reviews on vary from industry to industry, but for the purpose of this article, we'll stick to the big 3, Google, Facebook, & Yelp.
Google My Business Reviews
More people go to Google every single day than any other site, platform, or app, to find local businesses to consider visiting. It's more important than ever to ensure that when a local consumer is searching for your business that your company has many reviews and that those reviews are positive - meaning at least 4.5 stars out of 5.
If you can get more customers to leave you reviews, and for your customers to give you better reviews, you're going to increase the chance that when a potential buyer sees your Google business listing that they're going to give your business a chance.
You may be wondering "How do I get more Google reviews for my business?" The answer is fairly simple. You need to ask for them. To do this you'll need to prompt your customers to leave you a review while they're in your shop, or you'll need to email them after they leave with the request. To do the latter you'll need to collect your customer's email addresses, but you should be doing this anyway since customer contact information is modern-day gold. Using your customer's email addresses to solicit customer reviews is just one of the many great reasons why you should collect your customer's email addresses.
If you have customer email addresses all that you need to do is email them asking to leave you a review. You can use a Google review link generator to easily create and send a link to your customers. The easier you make it for your customers to review you, the more likely you are to get reviews!
So now you know how to solicit reviews on your Google business listing, but what if you get a bad review? Removing Google reviews isn't easy, so it's best that you avoid getting negative reviews in the first place, right?!
Well, to do that you'd need to simply make sure that your product is always perfect, that your staff are always polite, and that your bathrooms are always squeaky clean. Easy enough... yeah right!
Customers leave negative reviews on Google regularly for things that are outside of your control. Using an online reputation management service can spare you the bad reviews on Google! Take a look at our Merchynt Reviews reputation management platform, for example. We regularly hear from our customers that "My business in Google needs help" either because it has only a few reviews, or it has negative reviews that are overpowering the positive reviews. Our SMB software allows our customers to route their customer's negative reviews to their private inbox, and publish the positive ones to their preferred platform, usually Google My Business reviews. In fact, our customers raise their online customer review rating by 1 additional star on average!
Yelp for Business Owners
Yelp for business owners can either be a gold mine for getting new customers, or it can be the rot of their demise! Yelp is extraordinarily important for some businesses, mainly in the restaurant space. Some SMBs go as far as to give away free products or services to customers in exchange for them leaving positive reviews on Yelp. All restaurants should consider themselves a "Yelp business", meaning that if they're not regularly promoting themselves on Yelp, or managing Yelp reviews, then they're hurting their chances of survival. Do you have a "Find us on Yelp" sticker on your door, or somewhere else visible to your customers? Not only are positive reviews helpful, but consumers also look at how many reviews a business has when determining if they want to give them a chance.
By "manage Yelp reviews", I mean responding to reviews on Yelp, both positive and negative ones, as well as measuring how your customer reviews on Yelp stack up against your competitors'. If you've ever wondered why your competitor is busier than you or can get away with charging higher prices, then you need to look at the data on Yelp and other platforms. If you look at your competitors' Yelp business pages you'll see what their customers are saying. It's all public information! But you likely don't have the time to scroll through the infinite Yelp reviews. You're busy with the million other tasks that come with owning or managing your business. You also cannot afford an expensive online reputation management consultant or a local SEO company.
That's why we've added the ability for small businesses to compare their own online reviews from Yelp, Google, Facebook, and many other platforms, to their competitors in one easy to use view. Using Merchynt Listings you can see how your staff, price, quality, location, parking, and so many other KPIs specific to your business stack up against your top 3 competitors so that you can make the operational changes needed to win over customers and grow your business.
Like Us On Facebook
You may not think that Facebook is an important place for small businesses to solicit reviews but it is. Facebook is still the world's largest social media network, and shopping is a social experience. If you haven't spent the time creating a business Facebook page or playing around in Facebook Business Manager then you should. It's not uncommon for your Facebook reviews to rank highly in search engine results, and when they come up, you'll want it to show that you have many followers and positive reviews.
Google takes into account your number and quality of reviews when showing local search results, so it's important that you stack the odds in your favor by getting reviews on as many platforms as possible. Sure, you may be able to win by just sending all reviews to Google, but it's important to have an all-around great online reputation. Although Google has the highest search volumes, there are still thousands of people that will come across your business page on Facebook. Likewise, you may not see the value in maintaining your reviews and business listings information across 50+ platforms, but if you believe that every customer matters then it's worth investing the time, or using a tool like Merchynt Listingsto syndicate your business listings data across every website & app that matters.
Facebook is obviously a very social platform, so it's incredibly important that when a customer leaves you a review on Facebook that you respond back. Now, you could log into your Facebook Business Manager account every day to check for new likes and reviews, or you can use a tool that consolidates all of the reviews, across all platforms, into one view that makes it very easy for you to see which ones you still need to respond to. That's why Merchynt Reviews users can now see all reviews that you've received in a single portal, as well as easily respond to them in a way that ensures none are missed! If you want to get more reviews, better reviews, and more customers, you need to respond to reviews, especially if they're negative!
Responding to Negative Reviews
Responding to negative reviews is not as fun as responding to positive reviews but it has to get done.
Responding to positive reviews turns a loyal customer into an even more loyal customer, but responding to negative reviews can help turn a potential brand ruiner into someone that now feels heard, and understands that you care - assuming you respond to them correctly! People that feel wronged tell more people than those that had a good experience, so you need to catch them early on and respond to their feedback.
Your review responses should be empathetic & never defensive. You should not try to convince customers that they were wrong, but rather let them know that they're valued and that their negative experience is not what you would have wished for them. Other potential customers will see their negative reviews, but if they see that you responded, that you cared and that you wanted to make things right for them they're going to look past the negative review. If you fight the review it is only going to make you and your business look worse.
Responding to reviews takes time, but is worth it. Even if you cannot find the time to do this yourself, we suggest working with a marketing agency that will on your behalf. This can be accomplished easily by simply providing your outsourced marketing agency with some standard response types, and notes on how you'd like your brand voice to sound.
Summary: Importance of Online Reputation Management:
Consumers like to see that businesses have many reviews on platforms like Yelp, Google, and Facebook.
Higher rated online customer reviews will help bring in more customers since they'll have greater confidence in your business.
You need to respond to your online customer reviews, especially if they're negative.
You must review your competitors' online customer reviews to see what they're doing better than you so you can improve your business to win over customers.
You should try your best to respond to negative reviews in a fashion timely fashion, and in a way that shows that you care about their business, and want to make things right.