No matter what industry field you’re in, how others view your company is everything. That old saying, “First impressions matter the most” means more now than ever. With a simple Google search, potential customers can find out more about your company than perhaps you really want them to discover. How your company is perceived in your online reviews is vital to your company’s vitality.
In a study by Nielsen on Global Trust in Advertising, they discovered that 66 percent of global consumers indicated that they trust online reviews from strangers when making purchasing decisions. That’s not just for restaurants, but also airlines, home services, doctors or dentists—just about any service offered by a professional is reviewed online with websites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Google, Better Business Bureau or Guild Quality. Customers are using these websites to feel more confident about the decisions they’re making.
And it’s not just making sure you work towards a high rating on just one website—you have to be more rounded and understand that your customers are looking at more than just one site. You will want to set up profiles on all review sites that might be relevant for your company, such as Yelp, Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, Google, CitySearch, etc.
It’s important to be diligent in watching over your review sites for the latest reviews—you don’t want to check a site after a month to see multiple negative reviews that have been untouched. Using a software program such as ReviewTrackers can help you navigate all review sites in one place, or you can check each one individually. The trick is you want to know what your customers are saying before other customers find it.
It’s best to respond to all negative reviews in a timely manner. Avoid getting into any online arguments with the reviewer, instead you’ll want to respond apologetically and come to a resolution of the problem. It’s acceptable to ask the reviewer to contact your customer service or quality assurance manager, as long as you provide the phone number. Remember, potential customers are reading how you manage a negative situation and can sometimes judge you more on how you respond to the review than the actual review itself.
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It’s been said that reliability is proven with consistency, so you want to have more reviews on your sites to show that your company is reliable. You can encourage customers to leave reviews after work has been completed with leave-behind cards, and ask them to be as specific as possible. Don’t be tempted by having false positive reviews written by employees, friends or family members—that can have some negative consequences.
Knowing that your customers have your back is a great feeling, just like how your customers feel when they know you’re there to offer services when they need it. Work with your customers to build a list of cheerleaders longer than the neigh-sayers and then use that positive reputation to your advantage.