While many business owners would scoff at the idea of their business, income and overall reputation being at the mercy of online review sites like Google Plus, Yelp, Angie’s List, Houzz and others, it is to some degree true. The impact that social review websites have on businesses is determined by the demographic they cater to, and their overall size/stability as a business.
The overwhelming majority of individuals in their 20s rely heavily on web searches and mobile device searches for their information about businesses; be it: business hours, location, specials/offers, products, or reputation, ratings and quality. And as the mobile web continues to change the way we do business, individuals in their 30s and 40s too are becoming more dependent on its various benefits.
In view of this fact it is crucial for the business owner to seriously appreciate the impact that online reputation has on his business. The web user is very fickle indeed, and small things such as having ratings under 90%, a couple negative reviews, poor feedback from patrons/consumers can cause them to go cold look elsewhere in a heartbeat.
What should I do?
Your first step would be to list out all review websites which are related to your business. By doing this you know what sites you need to focus on, as some sites such as Houzz may not be relevant to your business therefore you do not need to invest your energy. Minimally you should have Google Plus and Yelp on your list. These are the sites which you will use to communicate your reviews, quality and ratings to the rest of the web and instill confidence in users.
Secondly, you should locate any negative reviews of your company, and if possible contact the user and begin a dialogue with them (even if they are wrong), expressing your concern over their experience (after seeing their review) and seek to make them satisfied. Once again, it doesn’t matter if they were right or wrong, you should reach out to them and then by communication find out what happened and seek to right it. They would then feel obliged to go back and either delete their old review or make a new very positive review. This action of ‘putting out fires’ is very needed and should not be relegated to the back burner. As these negative reviews will continue to poison the minds of your demographic until you rectify it.
Thirdly, with bad reviews handled you now need to actively gather up scores upon scores of good reviews on your chosen review websites.
How to get Positive Reviews
In next week’s article we will discuss what you can do to acquire more positive reviews so that you can build confidence in your demographic and turn them into buyers.