Have you ever heard this saying?
"A Happy Customer will tell 1 person how great you are and a Un-Happy Customer will tell 10."
Nowadays with technology at your customers finger tips, those numbers increase exponentially!
Review Sites such as Google Places (Now Google Local Pages), Trip Advisor, Angies List and Yelp are where you potential Customers are looking for your product or services. The Bad News is they're also posting their thoughts about their expeiriences at area establishments. Not to mention that Word-Of-Mouth is amplified by Social Networking Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Linked In.
Regardless of if you know it or not, There is conversation going on about your business, if your customers are talking about you in person, odds are that they are also talking about you on social media.
The Bad News: Many Business Owners/Managers don't hear about bad experiences until they show up on a social media or review site. We have many calls come in about this exact issue. The first instinct is to try to delete it, but many of the terms and conditions of these review sites state that it will not be removed unless the author chooses to, or if it violates the website's terms. And if you were able to delete it, it easily could be placed elsewhere on another site that you haven't seen yet.
So… What do you do… We recommend that if you have a negative review about your company or employee, be sure to address the review. This doesn't just mean calling the customer (if you know who they are), but it also means that you should address (in a timely fashion) the customer service issue. Do this publicly, (and politely) and be sure to respond in the same technique the review was left. For Example: If someone leaves you a bad review on Yelp, Respond to that review through Yelp. At the very least, this shows that your company cares, and will point out to future prospective customers that you make things right. Ultimately, if you have a small number of bad reviews (that are addressed) and a majority of good ones it will not push away that future customer. Most people are understanding, and realize that people make mistakes. It's up to you to shine in this situation.
So the above situation works well if you have mostly good reviews, but what if you have mostly bad reviews?
There is more work to be done in this instance. If a customer comes to us with this problem, one of the first questions we ask them is "Is there a Customer Service Problem? Why are these people all upset?" If their customer service is not the problem, it is possible that their clients just don't think about submitting praise. After all, remember the opening quote above.
The best way to combat a bad review, is to put 5 great reviews above it. Most review sites list reviews in a reverse-cronological order (most recent first), so by having a system in place to ask your (Happy) customers to take a moment to say something nice, you'll be able to bury the negative sentiments. This technique should be thought of as more of a proactive approach than the re-active approach mentioned above. (responding to negative reviews).
Make it a process once you've provided a service to a customer, to ask them how you did. You can even take it a step further and ask them to share their experience on [Google, Yelp, or Trip Advisor for example]. You'd most likely agree, that your happy customers would be more than happy to do this for you if you asked…. But When's the last time you asked for a testimonial?
How do you manage your reputation online? Please let me know in the comments. And if you'd like a free consultation to discuss your issue, please feel free to contact us!