Updated: Jan 6
Whenever I meet with clients we talk about reviews. In this day and age, reviews can make or break your business. It’s not just bad reviews that can damage your business’ reputation, it’s a lack of reviews, a lack of recent reviews, or even how you choose to respond (or not to respond) to reviews.
A question I always ask my clients is this: If you’re looking for an Italian restaurant within a 10-mile radius of your location, what do you do? The answers rarely differ. They go to their preferred search engine and query for results. Most search engines will show results in two formats, a list next to a map or links to the business’ website. Many choose to use the results next to the map to see where specifically the Italian restaurant is located. Scrolling through the results shows you a few things: name, cuisine, location and reviews (if they have any). Let’s say there are three Italian restaurants near you. How would you choose which restaurant to eat at? You’d probably turn to the reviews.
As a business owner, you can’t please everyone, every time. At some point, you’ll end up with at least one less than stellar review. And that’s okay. How you respond will determine how customers will choose to interpret the review and help determine whether they plan to frequent your business.
Okay, let’s just jump right into the mix here. As I mentioned above, you can’t please everyone. We also need to take into account who is most likely to leave a review -- is it someone who received standard service? Or will it be the person who received above or below standard service? That’s right. An individual is more likely to leave a review if they’ve had a phenomenal experience or what they believe was a terrible experience.
Bad reviews can break a business, especially a small business. However, just because someone left you a bad review doesn’t mean you just let them have open season bashing your business. You have a powerful weapon in your arsenal… a response. When potential customers are perusing your reviews, they want to see that you’re responsive and that you’re taking action. Responding to negative reviews can be crucial, especially the right response.
Let’s talk about an appropriate response. You should never respond in anger. Present the facts without breaching any confidentiality issues. Remain objective, avoid emotional responses and provide a solution - even if it's just saying something like "I'm sorry you feel that X did not meet your standards. We'd like the opportunity to make this right if you would give us a call at (insert phone number)." That way, if potential customers look at your reviews they will see that you are not only responsive, but looking to provide excellent customer service and address the concerns of those that were left wanting.
Lack of Reviews
Chances are if you’re just starting out you may not have many reviews, if at all. It’s not the end of the world, but it could definitely mean the difference between a client choosing your competitor’s business over yours. There is no harm in asking your clients to leave you a review. And why not make it convenient for them? Provide links that take them directly to your company’s page on Google My Business, Yelp, or any other relevant review based platform. There’s even software out there, such as Birdeye, that makes asking for reviews an automated process. It can send your clients an email or text message assisting in the review process and even send reminders and surveys if they weren’t very happy. The point is, don’t be scared to ask for reviews.
This is another one that isn’t a total make or break for your business. However, if you were getting some great five star reviews in 2016 and it’s 2019 now, this may bring people to wonder what happened between then and now.
Online Reputation Management
We get it. You’re busy trying to run your business and may not have time to stay up to date on what so-and-so said in their review. This is where Pendragon Consulting can help. We offer an online reputation management solution to help combat any negative reviews. Our advanced technology allows us to pull all of your review sources (i.e. Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.) onto our client dashboard so you can easily see all of your reviews in one go. From the client dashboard, you’re also able to respond to those reviews without having to log in to each and every website someone left a review on. Give us a call today at 443-343-2313 or send us a message via our website and let's have a conversation.