Relevant Reviews: Keep Your Business Meaningful

What do Aziz Ansari and Jimmy Fallon have to do with business reviews? More than you might think. Take a look at this segment where they perform dramatic reading of real Yelp reviews:

Not only is this clip hilarious, it highlights an important part of online presence management: reviews can make or break your business.

Here's why: 

Consumer Behavior

Word of mouth has always been a big driver of new business. The internet connects us with a larger community outside our immediate circle of friends and family. It’s been found that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Authentic and frequent reviews can bolster your business’s reputation.

As you know, almost every search engine or review site uses stars to rate local businesses. Five stars is great, one star is bad. These stars are a reflection of customer’s reviews; if they like your service, you’ll get great reviews, and closer to 5 stars. If they don’t… well you may have a few things to work on. Stars may seem a little arbitrary, but they carry a lot of weight. 58% of consumers say that the star rating is the most important factor in their product and service decisions. This stat demonstrates the trust that consumer's place in online reviews.

The number of stars in a business's rating is the quickest way to judge a business, although most customers will take the time to read a few reviews as well. 90% read fewer than 10 reviews before forming an opinion. That’s not a lot! What’s more, if a review is older than three months, 73% of consumers consider it outdated and irrelevant! It’s important that reviews are recent and positive.

To recap, reviews are important for these three reasons.

  • Customers often trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
  • For over 50% of customers, star ratings are the most important deciding factor.
  • Customers read relatively few reviews and only consider the most recent.

Responding to Reviews

Like Jimmy and Aziz hinted at, there is a right and a wrong way to respond to reviews. Here are a few strategies for responding to positive and negative reviews. Let's start with this: regardless of the sentiment of the review, it's always a good idea to respond, and to do so promptly. It shows that you are listening to your customers and that you care what they think.

A business owners responds to a review

Positive Reviews

Responding to a four or five star review not only demonstrates your appreciation, but it gives you an opportunity to market your business. Here are some of the best practices when responding to a positive customer review:

  • Thank them for leaving the review. This shows that you appreciate their business and noticed their feedback.
  • Keep it real. Respond personally so that they know you actually took time to write your reply rather than copying and pasting a generic response. Reference certain things they said in their review to make it feel more personal.
  • Market your business by suggesting other products or services you offer. You can also let them know of upcoming promotions and events.
  • Invite them back again.

Negative Reviews

Negative reviews can be a little more difficult to handle. Sometimes customers lie or are totally out of line. Sometimes it is the business's fault and they deserve the criticism. Either way, it's worth responding to every negative review. The best case scenario is to rectify any issues they had, which will sometimes convince the customer to revise their review. These are the best practices in responding to negative reviews.

  • Apologize. Even if you're not sure that it was your fault, apologize to the customer and demonstrate you understand them. If you clearly made a mistake and are taking actions to keep it from happening in the future, it could be helpful to explain that as part of your apology, so people reading it can see that you’re fixing the problem.
  • Clarify but don’t defend. If there are details surrounding their complaint or situation that would be helpful to others reading the review, it’s fine to include some of that context, but be careful not to come across as defensive or argumentative. It’s often better to just say sorry publicly and try to resolve the matter with the individual directly.
  • Invite them to speak with you privately. If they are genuinely open to resolving the issue, a personal conversation is often the quickest way to reach a solution. Give them a number they can call to discuss their concerns. This is a professional way for you to apologize, clarify, and take action.
  • Keep it brief. Your response shouldn't be more than a few sentences.

Anything in Between

What about 3-star reviews? Chances are there was just something small that kept them from giving you a positive review. Use the best practices from both the positive and negative sections to respond.

  • Thank them for their business.
  • If you feel a phone call with the customer would help resolve the issue, give them a contact number.
  • Respond professionally with the intent to retain their business.

Our software helps you stay on top of all your business reviews in these three key areas:

Customers are attracted to businesses with good reviews

1. Monitoring Reviews

The first is review monitoring. Any time a customer reviews your business somewhere on the internet, you’ll be notified. Without actively monitoring reviews, it’s easy to miss new reviews that are posted. You might hear through the grapevine that a bad review is hurting their business, but by then a lot of damage could already be done. Jump shows when and where that review was made, so you can proactively address it.

2. Generating Reviews

The second feature we provide is the ability to request reviews from your customers. Through our software, you can send personalized emails and text messages to recent customers asking for a review. You can track the open and click-through rates of those messages, as well as the response rate for those who write a new review. You can request reviews one at a time, or upload a batch of customers to streamline the process. We make it simple to get new reviews from your customers.

3. Responding to Reviews

In addition to monitoring new reviews that come in, we also enable you to respond to reviews on the major platforms from inside our software. This includes Google and Facebook. No need to go to the individual website or app where the review was posted.

As a small business owner, I need all the support I can get to compete with the big dogs. Jump has given that support.  I am a fan of simplicity and their product is simple! I love it!

Jason Mackay, CEO @ Hidden Valley Eye Care

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