/ / / Customer Reviews are still important in local business – here’s how to manage yours.

Customer Reviews are still important in local business – here’s how to manage yours.

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For a local business, often their TripAdvisor, Trustpilot, Facebook or Yelp page can be the deciding factor as to whether they get a host of new business, or they miss out to other companies.

So what should you do if you get a bad review online, or you want to get more reviews? Social Heroes have given some tips below on how to deal with negative reviews, how to encourage more positive reviews, and how to look at your overall review scores in relation to your business.

Remember to respond to positive reviews
If someone has taken the time to leave a review for your business to say that you did something well, that they enjoyed themselves, that you were good value – then let them know that you appreciate the time that they spent creating the review by responding to it with a thank you. Not only will this reward current reviewers for their positivity, it may encourage new users to also leave good reviews because they can actively see that these are being read and responded to.

Don’t panic if you get a bad review
Sometimes, business owners can see the negative review and the initial emotion is anger, followed by panic. Business owners have often been told the sheer importance of the review site, especially on a local level, and most of them know the impact that a bad review can have. However, here at Social Heroes we don’t think that one bad review is enough to cause panic, and that it could actually end up benefitting the business instead.

Customers know that businesses are run by humans, who are known to err. The real test of a business online is how they show themselves to be dealing with it – so by not panicking, remaining calm, and moving onto the next step – you’re likely to reduce the overall damage from the review, and could actually result in making other customers feel more positive about your brand through doing this.

Make sure you’re sending personalised responses
Once you’ve read through the review a few times, see if you can identify the customer from their experience. Generally, if it’s a negative review then staff are aware that an incident occurred or that a complaint was made – and it’s easy to recall the situation at hand. Armed with all of the information you can find in relation to the customer and the incident which their review describes, take a few minutes out of your day to craft a personalised response to them. There’s nothing more off-putting to future customers, and existing ones, than a copy and paste standard response.

Take some time to really assure the customer that the feedback was taken on board, that you’re sorry about their experience and that you’re working closely with staff to improve this in the future. This can be difficult sometimes, especially when you disagree with the topic or the string of events told in the review, but you must always keep in mind that these platforms are publicly accessible and anyone can read them – and you don’t want to give the impression to a future customer that you argue with complaining customers rather than providing them with good customer service.

Ensure you know how to report relevant reviews
Sometimes a review is left that’s either a misunderstanding, a mistake, or in some cases may even be fabricated. In these cases, where the content of the review could be considered accusatory, defamatory or otherwise – or if it contains sensitive information about staff – then you do have the power to report these reviews to the review site and have them flagged for investigation by their compliance teams.

Always remember that bad experiences shout louder than good ones online.
Unfortunately, the rule of the internet is that it has created a brilliant environment for people who want to complain. Removing the face-to-face interaction can mean that users are far more scathing of their experience when posting it online, then they would be sharing this with the business owner in person. Once a customer has had a negative experience – whether your fault or otherwise – they are far more likely to take to the internet and have a good old rant than they would be should everything have run smoothly.

This does mean that you should always learn to take your review sites with a pinch of salt – and remember that this isn’t the only method of customer feedback that you should be relying on when it comes to your market research. Whilst they’re certainly important, you should also be factoring in any customer satisfaction surveys that you are collecting, any feedback given in person and the social noise that’s being created around your brand to get the full picture.

Keep inviting your customers
As well as taking note of other noise online in regards to your brand, you also need to work on a strategy for inviting reviews and encouraging them from the right people – those that leave happy, satisfied with their product or experience. You can always hang posters on your premises with QR codes linking to the main review sites, but we find that sending them an email invitation through these platforms is the most successful way to get them to click and leave a review.

These emails can be integrated into your web systems to be triggered automatically, or these can be done as manual uploaded sends with portions of your customer data. However you choose to do it, inviting customers to review is one of the quickest and easiest ways to increase your review score, increase your review numbers, and increase your overall intelligence from feedback given to your business.

Need any help managing your customer reviews? Or would like some help setting up triggered review emails or more? Social Heroes can help. Get in touch with us today to find out more.

Follow Shauna Madden:

Shauna is the Head of Content for Social Heroes. She has spent several years spearheading PR campaigns for giant companies in the North of the UK with incredible results.