A flawless online reputation is a holy grail for local businesses. Every business owner wants a 5-star rating and praising reviews, but unfortunately, that’s not always realistic. That’s where online reputation repair comes into play.
Think about the last time you got a bad review. It probably hurt and it’s clear why -- you’ve put so much time, effort, and hard work into building up your company and one negative review shouldn’t tarnish your entire brand -- especially if it’s untrue, unfair or spewing profanities.
With a little time and the right online reputation repair knowledge, you will be able to control your image and minimize the damage caused by a single comment.
Here are a few tips on how to get the glowing reviews you deserve.
Respond to All Reviews
A recent study found that when businesses replied to customer reviews -- good or bad -- their ratings subsequently improved. Meaning, it’s your responsibility to monitor reviews and respond in a timely manner.
When a customer takes the time to write you a review, it’s because they want to share their experience and engage with your business. Regardless of what they have to say, you should always be prompt and thoughtful in your response. A good rule of thumb is to reply within 48 hours of them leaving a review.
You should try to personalize the experience whenever possible and address the customer by name. If it’s a positive review, you should show gratitude and provide additional value if possible. If it’s a negative review, you can apologize and try to reconcile with the customer to hopefully reach some sort of solution.
Responding to reviews is a critical part of online reputation repair. If you are lucky enough to have customers that want to communicate with your business, you better take advantage of the opportunity and respond to all reviews.
Ask for More Reviews
Just ask -- 77 percent of consumers would leave a review if asked. You never know until you try. Oftentimes, customers are more than happy to leave a review -- especially if you provide a positive experience that they want to share.
It’s also important that you educate your customers on how to leave a review and make it an easy and simple process. Meaning, you have to provide the direct review link everywhere and include it in your message when you decide to ask for feedback.
A few of the popular methods to request reviews include:
- Text messages
You can get creative with this and ask for reviews in whatever way works best for your business.
Again, try to personalize the review experience. You can do this by addressing the customer by name and tailoring the review request and/or feedback survey to the specific service they used. For example, if you own a landscaping business and just provided a lawn care service to a customer, you could say:
Hi [Customer Name],
Thank you for choosing [Business Name]. Are you satisfied with our lawn care services? How could we improve? Let us know by leaving a review. [Review Link]. Hope to see you soon!
The bottom line is that the more reviews you receive, the less a single review counts towards your overall rating. So, if you received one nasty review, you have the ability to push it to the bottom and avoid new customers seeing it and getting deterred from choosing your business.
You should also keep timing in mind when you are sending the request. In this case, timing really does matter. You have to ask at the right time, which is usually right after the customer uses your business and the experience is still fresh in their mind.
Address Negative Reviews
Even if a customer leaves you a horrible review, they are still choosing to engage with your business, which means you have a chance to rectify the situation and win them back over. In other words, you can turn it into a positive experience.
You have to be open and transparent about the mistakes on your end and apologize to the customer. Regardless of whether or not you felt like you were wrong, you need to provide a solution and fix the situation because everyone is watching.
Once you make amends with the unhappy customer, you can ask them to update their review (and hopefully leave a positive one in its place).
Aside from giving you the chance to win back the customer publicly, they also make your brand come off as more genuine, credible, and authentic. A whopping 95 percent of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews if there aren’t any negative ones.
If a business has only 5-star ratings with glowing reviews, potential customers will think that’s fishy. They will either assume that you removed all the negative reviews, which is a huge mistake, or that you’re not a real business -- you want to avoid both assumptions.
You can also view negative reviews as a learning experience -- especially if you’re just starting. They can provide you with important insight directly from the source -- your customer -- on what’s working and what’s not. You can learn a lot from what they have to say and use their feedback to improve your business.
At the end of the day, reviews are a reflection of the service you offer. If your business is lacking in certain areas, your customers will be the first ones to let you know. Take their criticism seriously and enact changes to improve your services to get one step closer to those glowing reviews you deserve.
Andi if all else fails, Google does have a process that you can follow to remove the review, but this should be the last case scenario.
Win Over Customers with Effective Online Reputation Repair
Did you know that 72 percent of customers won’t take action before they read some reviews? Reviews are more important than ever. With digital sales skyrocketing, consumers turn to reviews to make purchase decisions.
So, if your business receives positive feedback, you’re allowed to gloat a little. You should publicize the reviews and add the customer testimonials directly to your website as well as highlight it on your social media profiles.
There’s no shame in being proud of your business! Showcase the positive experiences to give prospective customers insight into the services your company offers.
After all, customer testimonials are a powerful, undervalued, and free resource that you can use to win over new customers, so you might as well use them.
In the world of business, there are bound to be ups and downs. But with online reputation repair, your downs don’t have to be so bad. You can be proactive and get ahead of the reviews before they become a serious problem.
If you want to improve your online reputation, you know what you have to do and it’s in your hands now. To make it a little easier for you, you can take advantage of GoSite’s Review tool, which allows you to grow, monitor, and protect your online reputation and turn more searchers into buyers. Are you ready to build your digital reputation? Get started today with GoSite’s Review tool.