In the world of gossip, rumor & innuendo, we tend to focus a lot of energy on what people are saying about us. On Facebook, Twitter, gossip columns & tabloids opinions are everywhere. But what about what people are saying about your business? How focused are you on this or more importantly, how focused should you be?
There are many websites devoted to reviews. Popular sites include, Yelp, Judy’s Book & Angie’s List. You can find reviews on Search Engine Local Listings, such as Yahoo Locals, Google Places & Bing Maps. These are definitely the best placement for a business review, since users are constantly tapping the local listings for business location, hours etc.
Ok so now you know where to find the reviews, so what’s next?
First thing you need to do is read what people are saying about your business. There are a couple ways to accomplish this. You could troll the review sites yourself & read through the comments or if you don’t have the time to do this, you can hire someone to perform search engine reputation management for your company. Search engine reputation management is a service that monitors a wide selection of review sites, directories & Local listing sites. The service tracks these sites and produces a report that allows you to see which sites your business appears on & what consumers are saying about your business. This is beneficial, because there are several review sites that allow the business in question to respond to the consumers review.
Can I remove a bad review?
Unfortunately you cannot remove a review, but there are several things that can be done to resolve this.
Reach out to the consumer
Even though you can’t change the review, the person who wrote it can! Try to make amends. Don’t approach the situation on the defensive. Listen to what your customer has to say & try to reach a resolution for them. Most consumers write reviews when they are angry, if you can attempt to sincerely defuse that anger, you may be surprised at the result. Do not under any circumstance yell or berate the consumer, this could make things much worse & lead to further bad reviews of your business.
Enlist happy customers to write good reviews
Most review sites will list reviews in the order to which they were submitted. There is only so much space allowed on the page, so if you have good reviews on top of the bad reviews, only the good reviews will show. Talk to your valued customers & ask them to write a good review about your business. Many people would be willing to help if they are happy with your service.
Can’t I just cheat & write sparkling reviews under another name/account?
No cheating! Do not write a bunch of good reviews yourself, or ask other people to submit a bunch at the same time. Google will penalize you for this action. If they see too many positive reviews in a short period of time, it will trigger a spam reaction which will affect your rankings in their search engine results.
Another solution to the bad review problem is available in Google Places. There is a button that asks you to flag the review as inappropriate. After you do this Google will allow you to post your opinion about why you believe that the review is inappropriate. Maybe you know the review was written by a disgruntled employee or vindictive competitor trying to trash your business. Post this to Google & perhaps this will encourage them to remove the bad review.
What Can I Learn From These Reviews?
Well that depends on the content of the reviews. Try to read through them & see if maybe you or someone in your employ needs to take a second look at how they performed a task or service. Consumers are way more likely to take the time to leave a bad review for bad service than a good review for good service, so see if there is something there beneath the anger of the comment. Maybe you have an employee who isn’t doing a proper job or maybe one of your processes isn’t working as efficiently as you thought. Use the constructive (& not so constructive) criticism to grow your company into one that consumers write good reviews about.
Why Should I Care About Reviews?
You need to care. More & more consumers are turning to these sites to find business services. In a recent study that was done, it was discovered that 47% of potential customers who read a bad review just went on to the next business listing. This is huge! So many people are now using the internet for all of their business searches. The days of flipping through the yellow pages & finding the first business you see are over. In order to stay competitive, business owners need to stay in tune with the public & especially with potential customers. So do the necessary research, examine how you as a business treats your customers & always be conscious of what people are saying about your business. What people are saying about you really does matter!