We all know how important online reputation is, especially to small businesses. While most bad online reviews that companies get are over very specific situations, they shouldn’t be ignored. According to a survey done by BrightLocal, 78% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. If we were to look at 18-43 year old consumers, 91% of them trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This is huge.
Reviews are essential to your business’s success. When a business starts getting bad reviews, they will start asking, “Can I remove bad reviews myself, or can I pay to have them removed?”
There is no way you can remove negative online reviews from any of the major platforms (Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.). This doesn’t mean, however, that they should simply be ignored.
Side note for those looking for that quick fix, if you come across any “business” that says they can remove bad reviews, they are lying to you. It is simply not possible. The only way for a review to be removed is by the user who posted it.
The only true way to handle bad reviews is to manage them. BrightLocal’s survey found that 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews. If there is a lack of reviews on a business’s end, this reflects poorly on them.
How can you manage bad reviews? Managing your bad reviews is simply the act of responding. When you are responding to customer complaints on any platform, there is one important rule to keep in mind.
You are going to come across situations where someone full-on attacks your business online. Those comments are out of your control, but something you can control is your response to those comments.
No matter the situation, you will need to apply the “customer is always right” mentality when responding. Simply put, you need to offer up an honest apology along with a “solution” to whatever their issue was.
A few examples of a “solution” to their problems could be refunding money, offering a coupon toward future visits, or simply a promise to fix the issue internally. This is an opportunity to show customers you’re willing to take responsibility for mistakes and go the extra mile to avoid those same mistakes in the future.
When potential customers see your willingness to correct any errors that occur, it makes them more willing to give you a try, despite the bad reviews.
Now that we have addressed ways to respond to real bad reviews, let’s talk about bad FAKE reviews.
While most review sites have a way to flag reviews as inappropriate, this process is very long and can sometimes be difficult to prove (if the review site even thinks that it’s fake to begin with).
The best way to combat fake reviews is to respond to the review with questions. Ask them specific questions about their visit and your establishment that could make it obvious to determine whether they were or weren’t there.
“Who was your server?” “Which room did you stay in?” “When was your appointment?”
When you respond with these types of questions, it shows that you care about your establishment and are looking for more information to correct the issue. For the fact that you can’t be 100% sure that a review is fake, these questions should be followed up with an apologetic comment such as “We’re sorry you didn’t have a good experience.” You don’t want to sound abrasive.
Bad reviews are constantly flowing for any business at any time of the year. One of the best ways to keep your customers from seeing bad reviews is to surround the bad with the good. And no, I don’t mean to ask your friends to go leave a bunch of good reviews. This is not only against the regulations of review sites, but they are cracking down on this (especially Amazon, Yelp, and Ebay).
As a business, you should put together a plan to suggest customers leave online reviews. This way, the number of people leaving reviews will increase, which will increase the number of good reviews. This also shows your customers that you want everyone to leave reviews, good or bad.
I feel the need to add a disclaimer to this. If your business has a lot of internal issues, you need to make adjustments in-house before you can expect good reviews to start rolling in.
Simply put, make sure that your business does its best to provide great customer service, and the rest is cake.
A lot of online reputation management is time-consuming. One of Team WTI’s specialties is online reputation management. We have access to software and the expertise to keep your reviews managed and maintained. To all of our clients, we offer advice, tips, and strategies to manage and improve your online reputation. If you are struggling with your online reputation management, give us a call.
When you want to try something new, where do you start? Maybe you are looking for a restaurant, a service company, or a hotel to stay at. Do you ask your friend or maybe you Google it?
Did you know that Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day? This means that there are 5.5 billion people searching for anything and everything through their Google Search Engine. This is exactly why you need to worry about your online reputation.
Considering how many searches get done on Google every single day, your image online is very important. What comes up when you Google your page? Will Google produce options for your product or business on your own page? Perhaps it will show various review pages stating why a consumer should or shouldn’t go to your business.
One important item that will appear during a search, if it is set-up, will be your Google My Busines Listing. This will appear on the right side of the webpage for the consumer that is searching your page.
The image we have shown here is what is known as a Google Business Listing. On this listing, there is a lot of information concerning the business. This listing is very important to your online reputation management. Not only can they see your address, hours, and phone number, but this is where reviews can be found.
Please note that if this does not show up, it simply means it has not been set up yet. The process is relatively simple through Google My Business.
On the listing, there is a section right below the company name that shows your Google reviews and ranking. For example, in the image, our Google ranking is a 4.4/5. This consists of 5 reviews. On the bottom of the image, you will also see a section that says “Reviews from the web.” This section will include reviews from a lot of different sources. We use BirdEye to maintain our reviews, so that is what appears on ours.
There isn’t a magic number of reviews that you need to have, but the more you have, the more trustworthy your company will appear. You may be thinking, “ Are reviews really that important? Does anyone actually look at them?” The answer to both is yes; 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34).
Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business. Along with reading the reviews, 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews. This is why it is essential to respond to both positive and negative reviews.
The way your company responds to issues will show your potential customers that you care.
What do all of these statistics mean? Basically, what we are trying to get across is the fact that most individuals will use Google to look up a business they have never been to or Google a service they have never used before. Not only do all these people look you up, but they are reading what other people are saying about you.
Along with that, they are looking to see how you (the business owner) are responding to your reviews. Now, let’s answer our big question. Is Online Reputation Management Important?
This is where we can come in to help. A lot of online reputation management is time-consuming. One of Team WTI’s specialties is online reputation management. We have access to software and the expertise to keep your reviews managed and maintained. To all of our clients, we offer advice, tips, and strategies to manage and improve your online reputation.
If you take advantage of our social media services, we are also able to tackle any issues at the forefront of social media and broadcast your good reviews as they come in. If you’d like to learn more about how Team WTI can help manage your online reputation, give us a call.
We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and discuss how online reputation management can help you.
Just as many consumers are using the internet more and more to purchase goods and services, they are also using the words of other customers to inform those purchases. The average consumer has become jaded when it comes to some advertising methods, so they are turning to reviews and testimonials from their peers to provide them with an honest assessment.
Many potential customers will read the marketing copy, then scroll down to read reviews by actual users. They use the information gathered there to decide if a product or service is going to be a good fit for them.
Recently, Womply completed a study that details the correlation between reputation management and revenue. This study included a wide variety of industries and covered data for over 200,000 small business in every state in the US. Womply connected review and presence management best practices with revenue outcomes and came up with some interesting findings.
In the study, they found that the average American business had only one listing. These businesses did better in regards to revenue than others that had no listing, but had less revenue than businesses that claimed 2 or more listings. The difference in revenue ranged an average of $40,000 to $110,000 a year.
In the study, Womply found that a business that did nothing more than claiming their listing could increase their revenue by 58% and businesses that had more reviews than average generated 54% more revenue.
Those are pretty good numbers, but you can increase those even more by responding to your reviews. The study went on to show that businesses that responded to the reviews averaged another 35% more in revenue.
Potential customers are more likely to buy from a business that interacts with online reviews. The belief is that the responses show that the business values customer service. In the study, 75% of businesses don’t respond to online reviews, so there’s a great opportunity to be one of the few to take advantage of this easy and inexpensive way to generate revenue.
An interesting item that was found during the study is that businesses in the 3.5-4.5 star range do better than those below or above, even if the business has a 5-star rating. Womply believes there are two possible reasons for this. Businesses with a 5-star rating tend to have fewer reviews and consumers may believe the rating has been faked or manipulated. It’s ok to have an occasional “less-than-perfect” rating.
You’re not going to please everyone, and the occasional bad review must be handled professionally. People know that some customers will never be happy and will be interested to see how that type of complaint is handled. If the issue is addressed professionally, this shows potential customers that the business cares about its customers and their experience.
Team WTI has been working with clients for years to help keep their online reputation in shape. We offer advice, tips, and strategies to manage and improve your online reputation. If we are handling your social media accounts, we can quickly address any negative reviews or comments and make sure every review is addressed.
Staying on top of your social media can be time-consuming and we know you have work to do. At Team WTI, this IS our job. Let our team of specialists handle your online reputation and social media profiles, so you can spend your time running your business and taking care of your family.
If you’d like to learn more about how Team WTI can help manage your online reputation, give us a call. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and discuss how you can get your share of the revenue that is out there.