Manage Online Reviews

With the quick accessibility of smartphones and the ease of researching on the internet, it is no wonder that online reviews are a strong influence of consumer buying behavior.  Review websites such as Yelp, Google Places and City Search are a treasure-trove of online archives rich with consumer opinions.  You may ask. . . “Do people really look at those reviews?”  The statistics scream at us, “YES!”

According to Local Results Online, 60% of consumers consider ratings and reviews when researching a product or service.  Nearly 70% of American internet users report that they compare prices and read reviews before visiting a store or visiting a business.  More than half of those surveyed said that they are more likely to visit a business after reading a positive review.  With these numbers in mind, small business owners should take the time to actively monitor and manage reviews for the health of their business.  Not all reviews will be glowing but a negative review that goes unanswered can cripple a company and possibly lead to their demise.

Here are some key tips to responding to negative reviews while promoting positive ones.

  1. Monitor review website.  Most review sites offer a monitoring ability that you or a trusted employee can handle.  If you feel that you are unable to actively monitor then hiring a management company may be the way for you to go.  morexpertise.com, reviewpush.com and chatmeter.com are just a few.
  2. Generate Positive Reviews. Encourage satisfied customers to post positive reviews.  Set up business cards, fliers or emails to point customers toward online reviews.  Your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts could have review links or ask for testimonials.
  3. Promote your reputation. Create  “Read Our Review” button on your social media sites and your landing page.
  4. Respond quickly and professionally to reviews.  Whether the review is positive or negative, responding in a timely and appropriate fashion gives you a chance to win back an angry consumer and show others your diligence by resolving the problem.  Thanking customers you send a positive review is always a good idea.

Don’t let a negative review hurt your business by letting it go unresolved.  Track your online reviews either in house or by an outside party.  If your consumers attitudes are not on your radar you may be missing out on feedback that could impact your business.