Handling user reviews like a pro requires a seriousness of intent to appreciate just how serious customer reviews are for your business.
According to Statista, of the top major influences of whether a customer will likely buy, 4 of them have absolutely nothing to do with reviews at all. The top four being price, shipping cost, and speed, available discounts, and the variety of options.
However, #5 is the key operative factor for this article, and that’s Trustworthy reviews, which goes hand in hand with #7 out of the top 15, which is brand reputation.
The plain fact is that many businesses simply ignore negative reviews and that the number 1 way to not handle reviews like a pro. You can’t be like an ostrich, sticking your head in the sand to the review process.
Why you need to be aware of and respond to reviews.
One big reason: 88 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.
And for obvious reasons. Maybe after asking a small circle of friends none of them turns out to have ever contracted a roofing contractor or needed a local plumber to take care of plumbing leaks.
In addition, 72 percent will only buy from a local business that has positive reviews, and an equal number, 72 percent, say positive reviews cause them to trust a business.
Meanwhile, over 86 percent said they would hesitate to buy from a company that has negative reviews.
So is your business toast in the local community if a negative review pops up here and there?
Absolutely not, for the simple reason that 44.6 percent of people say they are much more likely to visit a business, even if they have the occasional negative review if the business responds to them in a polite, non-judgmental manner and explains how they want to do better in the customer’s eyes and ask them to contact you personally so that you can discuss the matter in greater detail.
So what are the elements of successfully handling reviews?
Most experts say there are actually three principal elements:
- #1. Being aware of all reviews about a company’s business.
Good or bad, a small business should be aware of reviews on Yelp, Google, Facebook, Tripadvisor and up to nearly a dozen other places where reviews show up.
That’s a lot of monitoring for a local one-man shop to keep track of and chances are you have better things to do than monitor the internet all day. So that’s one a business should consider an online review management service.
- #2. Respond and with speed
Not only should you respond personally (not with a template) to every new review, but if the review is negative, you should be responding within hours, not days.
The longer a negative review goes unanswered, the more damage that negative review can cause.
Still another reason to consider an online review management company that can help you craft a positive response to a negative review that other customers will find to be reasonable and measured rather than defensive.
- #3. Fight fire with fire by getting more positive reviews.
SEO guru Neil Patel says that while some people will be put off by a negative review, the opposite happens to many. People want to find trusted reviews, not just glowing recommendations.
Patel says that many people are put off by nothing but 5-star reviews. They just don’t trust that any business is perfect.
But the obvious answer, besides doing your best to make every customer satisfied as best you can, is to obtain more reviews.
If a negative review appears, but then four more recent positive reviews pop-up, you can rest assured people will take the negative review with a grain of salt.
And is that accomplished. Simply ask your customers to write reviews, or have your online management and reputation company ask for them on your behalf.