Bad reviews happen. But so do positive. Make sure you have more of the latter.
A recent quote from someone in our industry hit the nail on the head: "One bad review out of 20 looks like the customer maybe had a bad day…one bad review out of 3 looks like the business is doing a bad job".
Every business will and should have some form of negative sentiment. You can't please all the people all of the time…especially in a high-volume business like restaurants or car dealerships. It's part of doing business and it makes you human. See our last blog about negative reviews. But if your Google reviews look like this image to the right, then you have a problem and it's time to start driving more positive reviews.
Not only do 80% of customers consider NOT doing business after reading a negative review, if those reviews aren't responded to, or if you actually have no positive sentiment at all, you risk that number going higher.
Here are some best practices - direct from some of our most successful clients who are positively the best when it comes to…well….positivity.
1) Don't Be an Ass - This is the hardest one, so we're putting it first. We had a client once tell us that all of his customers are idiots, and he doesn't care what they say. We actually recommend the opposite. Your customers are right. Even when they aren't. In our experience, customer service sentiment comes from the top. If you love your customers, so will your employees…and it will show through to your existing customers, potential customers, and your review sentiment.
2) Ask For It - Most people think that customers just go online to complain. But studies show that by simply asking a happy customer to spread the word, they will do just that. Get them when they are the happiest. While they are in your store, or just after the transaction ask them to go online to leave a positive review.
3) Make it Easy - You can ask your clients for reviews, but make sure it's easy for them to do so. If they are in your store, you can hand them a "thank-you" card with a URL. The URL could lead to a page on your site with the different review sites and instructions to leave a review. Alternatively, if you have a CRM (customer relation management) system such as Salesforce, you can email your new happy client with a "thank you" note and the link.
4) Get Your Staff Involved - One of our clients doesn't pay a salesperson's commission unless their customers have left a certain amount of positive reviews for the month (brilliant). Let them know how important it for THEM to have positive reviews coming in. This goes back to #1.
5) Do it Organically - Stay away from services that will drive positive reviews on your behalf. Most of them have IP addresses in India and create fake users who leave fake reviews. This not only looks obvious, but Google has a keen way of knowing what's fake (it's their job). And Google doesn't like fake.
Most importantly, make sure you have an eye on all of it. You should be actively tracking reviews that come in, know the existing landscape of Google+, Yelp, and industry vertical review sites such as DealerRater or ApartmentReviews.com, and have a process for responding to negativity as well.