Expressed opinions Entrepreneur Contributors are their own.

Emily Washkovic, behind the review host and Yelp’s small business expert, shares a look at this week’s episode of the podcast.



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Whether it’s your brick-and-mortar business or you go onsite to serve customers, people look at your online presence when they decide if they want to do business with you. And one of the most influential parts of that online presence is user-generated reviews and your answers to those reviews. In this podcast episode, we highlight key review feedback strategies and insights from both business owners and reviewers.

Many have the misconception that most online reviews are critical or only visit online review sites when consumers want to complain. But in reality, Yelp has more 5-star reviews than 1-, 2- and 3-star reviews. So instead of avoiding online review sites for fear of criticism, get excited about positive reviews, and make a plan for when you get both.

Nick Phytos, owner of Starbright Floral Design in New York City, said, “A negative review is not bad if it is followed online with a resolution and shows how you solved it.” And that display of resolution can happen by itself, if a consumer chooses to update, change, or remove their review; Or it’s up to you or your team to respond publicly and share the side of your story in response. But remember, especially when you are responding to a critical review, you are not responding in the hope of winning the reviewer, but rather aiming to showcase your customer service practices for all potential consumers to see.

“When I read reviews about a business and I see a company respond, it gives me an idea of ​​who the company is. To me, it’s a random 1-star. [review] That doesn’t mean much, but I can say a lot when I see a business respond to some kind of business model. Are they customer focused? Are they calm, quiet and collected in their response? You can learn a lot about the company you’re going to do business with, “said reviewer Jennifer W.

What you don’t want to do is focus too much on negative reviews or star ratings. “I’m not worried about changing the person’s supposed 1-star review to 2-star or 5-star. [review]. I’m not looking for more of them. I’m looking for sincerity. I want to express care, and I want to express: ‘What can we do to fix this?’ ”Nick said.

We cannot, however, ignore the fact that businesses are humane. These are man-made and driven, so mistakes happen. But even those accidents can turn into opportunities. Josh Campbell, owner of Rescue Air Heating & Cooling in Richardson, Texas, said: “It needs to be a learning opportunity for the organization.” And if you try to be the best, feedback from customers is an important part of that process — Josh even thanked his critical reviewers. “Thank you for the 1-star review. That’s how I grew up. If you hadn’t noticed these mistakes, I would never have known they were happening. So you have a level of responsibility for me to build a good business. ”

There are times when you and your team are performing things according to your standards, but it is the customer’s expectations that are not met. In some cases, customer expectations are not something you want to serve. These special reviews are an opportunity to deliberately explain to consumers who you are and what you offer. You can lean towards review sections that take what you offer to help you set the right expectations for the next customer, and what you don’t, as an opportunity to be clear. This can help you discourage other consumers who may not be suitable for your business.

At the end of the day, every business wants a great online presence. And every business can, if they are committed to engaging with their reviews and digitally reflecting their customer service practices. Avoid asking or asking for reviews as this is against Yelp’s Terms of Service and Content Guidelines. But instead, celebrate by responding to the great reviews you have and then sharing them on your website or social media. After all, there is no substitute for creating an enjoyable and memorable experience for your customers. High-quality customer service is the most direct way to positively impact your online reputation because customers will be more interested in seeing others to digitally share their positive experiences.

Follow these important steps to create a review response strategy:

  1. Engaged. Deciding to focus on your online presence is the first step to making that online presence work for you. Claim all your business pages and turn on notifications so you know when customers talk about you or share their experiences.
  2. Be open to feedback. Creating a plan for responding to reviews means you need to be open to getting insights or lessons from your customers who share their experiences digitally, positively or negatively.
  3. Be prepared to respond. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with an online review, having a feedback strategy means you will respond to whatever it is. You don’t need to have a one-on-one conversation between you and the reviewer to answer a review, but show your customer service practices to all future customers. Keep feedback short, thanks for their feedback, and then take the conversation offline.
  4. Always take the high road. Your feedback is a reflection of your business. What’s worse than getting a critical review is to associate it with a heated or aggressive response. Use your feedback as a business owner to stay professional and respected.

Listen and subscribe to the episode below to hear more directly from business owners and reviewers Behind the review Every Thursday for more from new business owners and reviewers.

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