It seems that for many of the business owners we work with, the online world of peer-to-peer feedback, is taking over. On the one hand providing them with powerful ‘word-of-mouth’ advertising, but on the other creating a shed load more work and a whole new customer service channel to try to manage.
So, to help, we’ve put together some top tips for small business owners struggling with management of the online review process:
- Peer-to-peer feedback (a.k.a an online review) are the comments customers leave on sites such as Facebook, Google+, YELL.com, Trip Advisor and a host of others.
- Think of it as the modern ‘word-of-mouth’ advertising.
- According to the Harvard Business Review, 80% of potential customers will check out your online reviews before they consider using your product or service.
- Way more effective than ‘touting’ your business. Customers are more likely to believe other customers, not your advert.
- Carry out an audit of your review locations. Where might people be talking about you?
- Regularly check these review locations. Say ‘thanks!’ for feedback, and show you appreciate it.
- Thank negative reviewers too. They might make your blood boil, but negative reviews actually offer the perfect opportunity to show your business in its best light! Don’t be tempted to get into a tittle-tattle discussion. Be the bigger person. Take it off line. Remember, your audience is infinite. Demonstrate your professionalism. Don’t make this personal, and avoid an online argument at all costs.
- Ask for an online review. The best way to keep your average scores up is to gain lots of positive reviews. How do you do this? You ask for it!
Don’t be shy about asking customers to provide an online review for your business.
- The best time is always when the job is just finished, before they leave you. This is the optimum happiness moment.
- Make the process as easy as possible. Include links to your preferred review platforms in your website and include the URL for your favoured review sites on a business card or flyer.
- Build it into your regular routine. Train your staff to request a review at a certain time in the transaction / service.
- Build it into your marketing. Include a link from email marketing, ‘send us your feedback’ works well.
- Consider a promotion. If you want to build up reviews quickly, try holding a competition.
Of course, not all customers will leave an online review. But if you make it the ‘norm’ then it’s far more likely that a greater proportion will. With just a few tweaks to your existing working practices you can start to amass a healthy and rather impressive amount of online reviews.
That’s something to feel proud of!