I NEED MORE BUSINESS REVIEWS

OVERVIEW

Users around the globe are performing millions of searches each day to research where to spend their hard-earned money and have exciting experiences. Reviews are one of the key component’s users use to narrow down which local business they want to visit.

With the addition of the internet, it has made the research customers can complete nearly instant and with less risk than ever before. Listed below are statistics about reviews from various studies performed by companies in the space.

BUSINESS CHALLENGES

One of the biggest challenges for many businesses is the generation of 3rd party reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, Apple Maps, and Bing for their business. This can be challenging for some businesses that do not collect phone numbers or emails from their customers so that they can follow up with a survey.

The second business challenge is responding to both positive and negative reviews that their customers leave them online, empathetically, and in a timely manner.  Why is this important? It shows both current and perspective businesses that you take customer service seriously and you value their feedback.

The last challenge is that some businesses believe they can simply ignore or turn off reviews to their business. Some believe that if there are no reviews at all that their customers will want to do business with them. Contrary to this belief it is impossible to squelch customers from leaving feedback, especially for businesses that do not have systems in place to ask customers about their experience.

Each review star on third-party sites like Google and Yelp represents 6% in gross revenue for your business.

How Do I Get More Online Reviews?

Generating reviews is not as hard as you may think but there are a lot of moving parts that need to be considered. Listed below is an overview of key components your business will need to grow online reviews.

Create New Business Processes – The first component you need to create a brief, written overview of how you plan to achieve the task of gathering customer emails or phone numbers, who will be in charge of this process, as well as who will be responsible for responding to feedback when it comes in. This document serves as a loose process document that can be incorporated into job descriptions or policies and procedures, at a later date. After this strategy is created, the next step is to write out a few steps that will outline how and when your team will collect this information from clients. This document will later serve as an outline to train employees involved in serving your customers with a uniform approach that fits your brand.

Utilize Technology for Efficiency – To create quick efficiencies for your team, the business needs a place to house the collected data. We recommend using a customer relationship management (CRM) platform in conjunction with point of sale or intake systems you may be using. This system allows you to keep record of customers that come into your business and allows you to segment the data to create retention and communication programs. It is important to integrate each platform so that customer information flows between them without having to duplicate the data entry process by hiring a developer that is familiar with each system. Last, we recommend using email automation or a 3rd party platform that solicits reviews from customers via email or text. Email automation takes a little bit more effort to set up but is just as viable as any 3rd party service.

Refine Your Review Process – Like many other facets of your business, you want to regularly review your processes and make tweaks to see where you can gain further efficiencies. The parts of your process that you want to review are numerous but can include items like: amount information collected by service employee, the open rate and frequency of your follow up communication, and whether email or SMS is more effective.

Hire an Agency Partner – Many businesses do not have the time and understanding of what it takes for a successful review solicitation program. The benefits to hiring an agency partner are numerous and these partnerships can lend themselves to other areas of your business where you may have opportunity. Contracting this facet of your business out can also help you with efficiency of scale if the business is growing or adding another position may not make sense. For this service and many others, Strategient provides both consultation and execution.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are Common Websites Users Leave Reviews?

There are many websites that allow users to leave reviews about businesses. You have likely seen or used many in your personal day-to-day lives. Top sources include: BBB, Consumer Affairs, Yelp, Google, MapQuest, Facebook, Bing, Apple Maps. In addition, there are hundreds of other sources that differentiate based on the industry you are in. For example, within the health care space you have websites like Healthgrades, Vitals, Wellness.com, ZocDoc, RateMDs, Dr. Oogle, and Doctor.com.

Can’t I just turn off or ignore reviews from 3rd party websites?

No. You can try but there are more places to leave reviews than the ones that you can turn off. In each local market there are more than 200 business listing websites that allow users the ability to leave reviews about the business. You may be able to disable reviews on a few of these listings but the most reputable sources do not allow the business to hide any reviews from the public eye.

What if a customer leaves a bad review about my business online?

There isn’t a business on the planet that has not received negative feedback from one of its customers. As businesses grow, training becomes a bigger opportunity and one of the key ways that businesses grow is from the feedback it receives from its customers. The best way to deal with a bad review is to respond empathetically to the customer. Let them know that you are sorry for their experience and offer to make things right with the customer by providing contact information of a decision maker at your company. In addition, your company needs to make sure there is a system in place to drive happy customers to online review sources to offset any negativity that may arise.

What if I don’t want other customers to see bad reviews?

On most business listing sites, you cannot simply remove negative reviews so they magically disappear. In fact, the only way to get some of these sites to pay attention to a removal complaint is to provide a written document typically created by a lawyer. This can be costly even for big brands as these billable hours are expensive. Ideally, you want to have a reputation management system in place with staff trained to respond to this negative feedback. With this program in place, it helps your business understand internal issues quickly and you have the ability to change the customers perspective with a solid resolution. The best way to offset bad reviews is to have a steady stream of good reviews coming in from a review solicitation program.

Will My Competitors Leave Bad Reviews About Us?

In rare instances, competitors will try to smear your company by making up a bad review and posting it to an online channel. The best way to offset this is by having a reputation management strategy in place for all reviews posted online. In addition to responding as you would to other customers, you can submit a complaint to the site where the review is posted with some evidence backing this theory.

Doesn’t Google and Yelp have rules against soliciting reviews?

They do and they are changing all the time. The big players can wipe out your reviews if you pay customers to leave reviews on their sites and they find out about it. Other major players like Yelp have a strict no-ask policy for reviews so that reviews grow organically on their site.

How do we monitor reviews across all of these websites?

There are a number of ways to accomplish this. You can set up an RSS feed with the URLs of each of the review sources listed. When a customer leaves a review, it can be sent to the email address you set up with it. The easy alternative is to invest in a review platform that covers many of the major sources people leave reviews online. These platforms will not only notify you when someone leaves a review but many can give you the ability to respond to the review within the platform. Great platforms also incorporate a review solicitation system that sends out reminders via email or SMS to get users to leave reviews.

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