Given the fact that everyone, including your customers has the access and power to write a public review of what they think about your business, the answer would have to be a resounding “Yes”. Opinions, reviews, commentary, whatever you want to call it matter very much.
How your business is perceived affects both your potential customers and your regular customers. Staying out front of reviews is essential to building a strong customer base and maintaining a sterling reputation.
Buying decisions are made constantly through online research and many people read reviews and are influenced by the content. When people search for your business on Google, ratings are one of the first things they notice.
Here are some tips to stay on the positive side of reviews and avoid finding yourself in panic mode.
- Quick! Respond!
Don’t procrastinate or worry about what you’ll say. Responding immediately is a form of respect and people notice that. It shows people you care. And it’s basic good communication.
Besides the general market review sites, be aware of the various review sites related to your business and industry. Appoint someone to be accountable for checking these sites daily. It’s not overly time-consuming, but important.
- Stay out front of reviews
If you have a process in place for contacting customers immediately after they do business with you, ask their opinion of your service. You can use online surveys that you send immediately after a transaction or an on-location visit, or at-the-counter forms that they can fill out.
You can better manage your company’s reputation if you have this data right away. Reaching out to customers quickly gives them a channel to express their potential grievances or compliments and possibly prevent them posting a negative review online.
- Give your happy customers a forum to speak
Your satisfied customers are the most important voice your business can have. But they often need a little prodding to give you a review. Never hesitate to ask. Most will respond favorably. And don’t forget to say thank you.
- Turn negative responses into improvements for your business.
Be objective with customer feedback. Rather than dismiss it, consider the weight of their ideas or suggestions. Surveys are credible ways to get customer feedback and will help you define your company’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Deliver what you promise
Trust will build a positive reputation, so if you cannot deliver it, don’t promise it. Manage your customers’ expectations and be true to them and to your business. Trust, respect and responsiveness will build your brand.