If you’ve ever suspected that negative online reviews affect your bottom line, you’re right. Check out a few sobering stats from one study:
- 67% of consumers say they are influenced significantly by online reviews
- 22% of consumers say that one negative article about the product or service will prevent them from purchasing
- 84% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 65% of consumers see online search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies
If you run a small, local business, and don’t have a reputation management strategy in place, these statistics should give you pause. Think about it: of all the things you invest time and money into to grow your business and maximize profitability, is there anything more important than online reputation?
Yet, if you are like most business managers, you feel powerless to prevent those seemingly inevitable negative reviews. No matter how hard you try to provide a great customer experience, someone will invariably complain. Even dishonest reviews can be near impossible to remove. What is a multi-hat-wearing-stretched-too-thin small business manager to do?
Three Reputation Management Tasks You Can Complete In Under Five Minutes a Day
1. Ask your customers for an email address
It takes 10 seconds, and it allows you to build an email list that you can periodically tap to communicate with your customers. Maybe you have seasonal specials. Or maybe you have a new product or service you’d like your customers to know about. Or….maybe….you would like to ask them to leave a review! Email is the best way to solicit reviews because it allows for easy linking directly to review sites, from the users own device. This is necessary so they can leave a review without the added step of logging in.
2. Ask your customers to leave you a review
Do it immediately following your transaction. Don’t delay. Response rates are highest, especially with delighted customers, when the ask is timely. Ideally, this would occur before they leave your place of business or within an hour or two. But if that’s not possible, you can batch your transactions and send them all at the end of your business day. An additional benefit of sending a quick email request is that you may be able to catch dissatisfied customers before they leave a negative public review. This can be done by including some language in your email such as, “If for any reason you were not delighted with your experience today, please reach out to me directly.” This potentially diffuses the situation and reminds more passive-aggressive types that you are friendly and willing to hear about their experience.
3. Monitor your social profiles and respond to comments and reviews
If someone leaves you a glowing review, be sure to say thank you! And if their review is less glowing, exercise self-control and follow these best practices:
- Keep it professional and don’t be defensive
- Invite the customer to contact you directly
- Engage once, and once only; the last thing you want is a drawn-out argument on your social media channels for future prospective customers to see
For a more in-depth discussion on how to respond to negative reviews, see our post, 4 Knee Jerk Reactions to Avoid When Responding to Negative Reviews.
Making it happen in under 5 minutes
Of course the actual time will depend on your business and how much social media engagement you have. Reducing your actual time spent involves finding the right tools. There are a plethora of social media tools to manage engagement. In terms of capturing customer email addresses and sending review requests, KUDO has you covered. Its designed to minimize your effort and maximize response. KUDO supports dozens of popular review sites, collects feedback, sends notifications, and even offers coupons your customers can redeem on a future visit.