We are in the age of reviews. It started with Amazon book reviews, but it touches almost every business, product, and profession today. Most consumers and B2B product and service buyers are checking the reviews before making any decisions.
Reputation management has been a thing for a very long time. Companies employed public relations experts to deal with corporate missteps and to promote the positive reputation of a company. These types of PR responsibilities still exist today. We deal with the broader job here (make sure to link)
For this section, we want to go deep on the question of getting good reviews, testimonials, recommendations, and referrals. We will look at where and how to use these. Finally, we will take a very hard look at how to deal with negative reviews.
If you are a local business, your #1 need is GoogleMyBusiness (GMB). This is the most important “real estate” on the Internet for local businesses. You need at least 10 interviews to help with ranking. More is always better, but 10 is the threshold. You want all four and five-star reviews. It is very easy to do a review on GMB.
WHERE DO YOU NEED REVIEWS?
Your second most important review is Yelp. People are always asking: “Do people go on Yelp to find: Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, Financial Planners, Lawyers, and other highly paid professionals? Yes!! They absolutely use Yelp.
The third-place you want your reviews to show up are industry-specific places. If you are in real estate, you want reviews on Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, etc. If you are in the building trades, you want reviews on Angie’s List, Home Advisor, and similar. If you are a contractor or interior designer, you want reviews on Houzz.com
If you are a national business and you sell products, you may want to sell on Amazon, Etsy, eBay, or other similar eCommerce sites just to get the reviews. While it is true that retailers who carry your product may lose some sales as a result, the opposite is also true. Some people shop on Amazon, then go buy the product at a brick-and-mortar store.
National brands may also find review opportunities on industry-specific. Houzz.com and other home decorating sites have consumer reviews of products and services.
First, what not to do.
Do not pay for reviews.
Don’t pay companies to get you “FAKE” reviews.
Don’t offer your customers money, product, or discounts to do a review. You may send a gift or coupon out to someone after they give you a review, but you can’t tell them that this is promised.
Yelp, in particular, will shut you down if they find out. Other review sites are seemingly less aggressive in fighting paid reviews, but most say they will potentially remove your listing if you are caught.
HOW TO GET GREAT REVIEWS
What can you do?
You can ask. You can ask while they are in your shop, on the phone, after the sale, through email, or any other method.
About one in five will actually do the review after they promise to.
If you send out emails, fewer than one in ten will do the review. Follow-ups can increase this number.
Many people hate to write. If you think that might be the issue, offer to write the review for them.
This would obviously not be within Yelp’s rules, do this at your own risk.
Hey Bryan, I really enjoyed working with you the other day, and appreciate your business.
In today’s business climate, reviews have a big impact on business success. You could really help us out if you’d be willing to review us on Google and Yelp. I’ve provided you the links just below. Thanks in advance for taking the time to do this.
HOW TO ASK FOR A REVIEW
IN AN EMAIL
Google and Yelp both allow you to respond to any review. Most reputation experts recommend responding to all reviews, not just the negative ones.
RESPONDING TO NEGATIVE REVIEWS
First, you are angry, maybe even outraged, over this review. Before you respond, you will help your potential for mitigating the effects of the bad review by regaining your composure. You see, you are going to respond by identifying and validating the reviewer, and it is really hard to do that when you’re steaming mad.
Hi Christina, Thank you for your review. Right after I read it, I called a meeting of the relevant staff, and we discussed how to solve the problem. Our policy has always been to go out of our way to give refunds on returns. Everyone in the room agreed that we would be more gracious in the future when dealing with any return. We hope that you might visit us again when you have a need for our products.
Hey Danial, We so appreciate your taking a minute to write that nice review. Thank you for pointing out an example of one of our employees getting a major store policy right. High up on our list of goals is to find a way to meet the needs of anyone who comes in, even if that means recommending an item that we don’t carry. We look forward to seeing you in the future.
YOU CAN DO THE SAME THING WHEN YOU GET A POSITIVE REVIEW
Other than respond, your best strategy is to bury it. You do that by getting a bunch of new good reviews asap. Make it a priority to get four or five reviews ASAP. This will drive the other review down the page and help boost your average star rating.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO A ABOUT NEGATIVE REVIEWS
Take reviews to heart. It is possible that some of them are fake reviews by competitors or enemies. However, over time, the reviews are probably a fairly accurate reflection of your company and/or your products.
A FINAL THOUGHT ON REVIEWS
If you have 3.5 stars or more, most consumers will consider you okay to trade with. However, if all your competitors who are listed right around you have five stars, your prospects are likely to drive an extra mile or two for a better rating.
If you have 1.5 stars or less, you will generally be dismissed by the shopper. They won’t even read your reviews to find out why. They will just look elsewhere.
You can easily see that getting a lot of five-star reviews could impact your sales and profits significantly.
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