Are you paying attention to the online reviews of you and your business? Unlike the days when all a business had to worry about was an unsatisfied or upset customer complaining to their friends and family, in this day and age, an irate customer is broadcasting their unhappiness to the entire world via the Internet. Sites like Yelp have made it easy for consumers to write an instant review of a product or service. It is not uncommon for these reviews to have an almost devastating effect on the business. The truth is, not all of your costumers will be 100% happy with their purchase. How can you combat these negative comments that may show up online? Do you have a damage control strategy?
Bookmark Review Sites
Do you know which sites your customers and potential customers frequent to leave reviews or read reviews? There are many different review sites, some are legitimate and some are not. Make sure that you are checking sites such as Yelp on a regular basis to see what your customers are saying. The best way is to bookmark the site and to set up Google alerts for your name, your business name and any other phrases that are associated with your business. You can have reminders sent daily or weekly, simply pick what is convenient for you. Take a few hours out of ever week to check these reviews.
If there is a negative review or if you have a very unhappy customer it is critical to be proactive and to act quickly. Don’t try to delete their comment or buffer the comment with a lot of customer satisfaction reports. You should have the contact information for all of your customers and most review sites leave a place for the reviewer to state their name or general biographical information. If possible, contact the customer and see if you can fix the problem. In most cases, consumers will take their issues online before contacting you directly to complain. The key is to use your best customer service skills and try to reverse the consumer’s negative mindset. At this stage, you may ask them to post another review that puts you and your business in a much better light.
Treat online reviews as you would an in-person complaint. If you are unable to contact the person directly, or if you are faced with multiple negative reviews that are similar in nature, issue a public statement. This not only address the issue that your customers have, it also announces to the public at large the best practices of your company. You shouldn’t try to argue with those that have complained, simply address the issue and attempt to solve the problem.
A huge percentage of consumers turn to online reviews before buying a new product or visiting an establishment. While not all reviews will be favorable, if you take to heart some of the above strategies, you will find that the naysayers will not have a disastrous impact on your business.
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(Image by Stuart Miles)