In the world of digital marketing, there are thousands of ways to reach your customer and spend your marketing budget. However, we’ve found that many small businesses fail to prioritize customer reviews. This low hanging fruit costs little to nothing to manage but can be time consuming and often falls to the back burner, especially for business owners focused on sales and day to day operations.
If you are investing time and resources into your SEO, keep in mind that customer reviews are part of the algorithm used by search engines to rank websites. Even if you’ve worked hard to keep your site on page one of Google’s search results for your relevant keywords/services, a two or three star review can send visitors scrolling past your listing. Here are some quick tips to help make customer review management a breeze.
Choose the Right Platform
There are dozens of customer review sites out there, and it would be impossible to maintain a five star rating on all of them. Do some research on the top review sites for your industry. In real estate, sites like Zillow, Lending Tree and Realtor.com are king. For medical professionals, HealthGrades, RateMDs and Vitals are top review sites. However, some review sites are universal and should be monitored for all businesses, even B2B products and services. Sites like Google, Yelp, BBB and Facebook are used by customers across multiple industries to rate their experiences.
Make Reviews Part of the Sales Cycle
The best way to implement a customer review strategy is by incorporating an extra step in the sales cycle. For example, if you run a mobile dog grooming business, make it a habit to text or email each customer immediately after their pet’s appointment with a request to leave a review. If you need to hit the ground running, offer a discount or special deal for customers who submit a review (i.e.:10% off your next visit). Once you have successfully added this extra step to your routine, reviews will come in on a regular basis, helping you to create a reputation that will stand the test of time.
Handling Bad Reviews
Generating reviews is just half the battle. You also need to monitor them. Interaction with reviews helps to build credibility and reflect your brand personality on review sites. When a customer gives you a glowing review, thank them for their business publicly. Five star reviews can be added to a testimonials section on your website and shared on social media platforms. Spread the good news! Negative reviews, on the other hand, are a bit trickier. Here is a quick step-by-step tutorial to help you handle a negative review:
- Confirm that the negative review is from an actual customer. If it is not, contact the review site to report the review as fraudulent.
- Make an effort to contact the customer directly. If you are able to make the situation right, you could request that the customer update or delete the negative review.
- Respond publicly to the negative review immediately. There is no time to waste. New potential customers could find this review and go to a competitor with their business. Keep your response brief and sincere, offering to make the situation right and requesting that they contact you directly.
- Relax – if you are receiving reviews on a regular basis, one bad review will not kill your overall rating and online reputation. The best way to recover from a bad review is by drowning it in new five star reviews!
Affordable Review Automation Tools
Now, if all of this sounds a bit overwhelming, you are not alone. Thankfully, there are affordable services that can help you automate the customer review process—from generating reviews to review notifications. Review automation tools allow you to set up review requests initially and send review invitations on an ongoing basis so you don’t have to think about it every day. You will also be notified if you receive a new review, whether negative or positive, so you can respond accordingly.
If you need some help getting started with a new customer review process, or sourcing an automation tool, contact our team. Our digital marketing experts can help you protect the online reputation of your business!