You invest years building your business, missing family events choosing to build the business and secure your family’s future. You’ve reached the point where you can stop and take a breath. Wait a minute…what’s that sound? It’s your phone NOT ringing. Customers have stopped calling and you have no idea why?
One day a customer says to you “hey, I love your product/service, I can’t understand all the negative reviews”. You’re left flabbergasted, after all you’ve worked really hard to provide excellent customer service. The old adage is true, it only takes a few negative reviews to take away what you’ve spent years building.
Local Reviews are Your Reputation
It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re in, be it a plumber or a plastic surgeon what people say about you online matters. Recent studies done by Nielson indicate that 66% of consumers trust online reviews to make purchasing decisions.
Maintaining Your Reputation is a Marketing Priority
Developing a quality 5-star reputation needs to be the biggest focus of your marketing campaign. Why? All other efforts, SEO, social marketing, PPC campaigns or more traditional advertising mean nothing if you have a 2-star reputation. Customers won’t buy from you if they don’t trust you.
How Do You Take Control of Your Reputation?
You need to play an active role in what people read about you online and protect your reputation. Here are some tips to bear in mind:
- Variety is key. There is more to online reviews than just Yelp, Google and Facebook also give customers the opportunity to rate your business and you need to pay attention to all of them.
- Timing is everything. Is that 5-star review from 2008 or from last week? Recent reviews are viewed more favorably by customers and search engines so it is in your best interest to encourage reviews. Add links to your Yelp profile on your website, put signature links on email to allow customers to review you on Facebook or Google.
- Resist the temptation to game the system. It’s tempting to put up some glowing reviews of your own or to buy them online. Don’t do it, you will pay for it later. It’s unethical and this could happen.
- Good or bad, be gracious. Try and respond to all reviews the good the bad and the ugly. Good reviews merit a thank you. Bad reviews, well every business gets the customer from hell but you still have to deal with them like an adult. Offer to make things right even if it is not your fault a little goodwill goes along way.
- Is your service everything it could be? Do customer service check-ups from time to time.
Your online reputation is critical to your business success, so put a plan in place to make sure it stays positive. Working with a digital marketing company can help you make sure that you get the five stars that you deserve.