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Reviews: The Good, The Bad, and How to Respond to Both

If you’re a small business owner, you likely have at least one thing in common with other owners: online reviews. Depending on your business and the type of product or service you provide, you may receive a higher frequency of reviews, while other business’ reviews may be few and far between. Regardless of the quantity, in both cases reviews are an important aspect of a brand’s online reputation, and you’ll want to make sure you are knowledgeable about the topic.

 

Reviews are typically accounted for on three main platforms: Yelp, Google, and Facebook. You’ll need to set up accounts on these three sites, including key information and images about your business. Once you complete that, you can start collecting reviews to enhance your company’s digital reputation! 

 

Develop a Strategy

 

To establish your online reputation and start on a high note, encourage past and current customers to check out your company’s Yelp, Google, and Facebook pages to increase the chances of them leaving a review. You can also place a Yelp badge on your storefront to further boost the visibility of your business’ Yelp profile, along with including the badge in the footer of your email signature, newsletter, and website. Google and Facebook don’t have badges like Yelp, but you can still include icons next to the Yelp badge that link to your profile pages.

 

It’s important to note that companies should not explicitly solicit reviews, as this is against Yelp and Google policies (Facebook is the exception). But by increasing exposure to these pages, you can boost your odds of receiving reviews from customers. 

 

The Good and The Bad

 

No matter the quantity of reviews, you’ll want to make sure you are checking the comments on a regular basis. You can learn a lot about your company through reviews – there may be cracks in your processes that you were unaware of, or perhaps there’s a customer service issue that needs to be rectified. Whatever the matter may be, you’ll want to be aware of what is being posted online about your business. If you receive several negative, low-star reviews, this could impact buying decisions and turn off potential customers. 

 

Find out the reason behind each negative review, and put together a plan to tackle each specific situation, as well as any company-wide issues. This will help your business bounce back more quickly from any negative reviews, and help you make better-informed decisions in the future. You don’t want a negative review to gain traction through likes, comments, or shares, so combat this by diligently checking reviews and taking appropriate action in a timely manner. 

 

One way to overcome the impact of negative reviews is to always respond to them. Even those disgruntled, frustrated customers deserve a well-thought-out response from your team. This could help resolve the issue upfront and prevent negative word of mouth. The bottom line is, if someone spent money on your product or service and took the time to leave a review, they deserve a response. 

 

You can learn a lot about your company through reviews – there may be cracks in your processes that you were unaware of, or perhaps there’s a customer service issue that needs to be rectified.

 

Now perhaps you have a healthy amount of five-star reviews. There is a great opportunity to turn these comments into social media or website content, further validating your business in the online community. Positive reviews will also teach you what your company is doing well. Study the reasons you’re getting praise – you can take these positive aspects and help your business grow. And just like with bad reviews, good ones warrant responses too. Tell the reviewer how much you appreciate their feedback and value them as a customer.

 

Learn Online Review Policies 

 

There is another aspect of online reviews that’s just as crucial to understand. Yelp, in particular, has strict review policies and will only showcase comments that are believed to be the most legitimate and helpful. If a business receives a high amount of positive reviews in a short time frame, this will be seen as questionable and will be investigated by the site’s content monitors. Conversely, if a Yelp user’s profile is bare and has little information, no prior reviews, and no friends, Yelp may discredit their negative or positive review. 

On any Yelp business page, scroll past all the current reviews. You’ll see gray text saying something along the lines of, 71 other reviews that are not currently recommended.” (See screengrab below.) These are the reviews that Yelp filtered, but users are still able to read them if they click the linked text. Most of these comments are either overly positive or negative, or have been downgraded for the reasons detailed in this article about filtered reviews

 

Having high-quality reviews can make or break your online reputation. Get in touch with us to learn how N2DIGITAL can help your business achieve its full potential through a custom digital strategy.