If you own or operate a small business, then you likely know the heavy impact that bad reviews can have on your business. Customers are paying more and more attention to online review sites such as Yelp, Google Reviews, and even Facebook ratings.
Just a single bad review can drag your star ratings down. Heavy search volume for business reviews, has caused Google to promote sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, and the Better Business Bureau. This interest by the public in online reviews, has caused Google to adjust its algorithm for search and has made them easily accessible within search. These reviews, if positive, can greatly assist operators in leveraging them for sales, conversely, negative reviews can cause sales to take a nosedive, as well as bringing about long term consequences.
Take this real-life story as an example of how a single negative review can impact a business:
A dentist who has maintained a successful practice for many years had also managed to build a solid reputation. Many of his longtime patients referred him to friends. When one of these prospective patients decided to check out the dentist’s reviews, that when trouble struck. Amidst the glowing 4- and 5-star reviews was one woman’s recent account of how the dentist botched a relatively simple procedure and how her experience was entirely unpleasant. The review was compelling and scathing, and it was enough to send this referred friend in another direction entirely.
This series of events is much more common than you would imagine. At OMG National, our clients are often faced with having to deal with “bad review fallout”.
According to Lee Resources, when a customer is left unhappy, there is a 91% chance that they won’t do business with that company again. To make matters worse, the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that a dissatisfied customer told, on average, 9 to 15 people about a negative experience with a company. Imagine what a single bad experience can do when an angry customer has a phone or computer and easily-accessible review sites at their disposal!
Whether the accounts are legitimate or not, one cannot underestimate the importance of managing online reviews. As a business owner, you should acknowledge every review tat comes in. The fact of the matter is that once a review is written and posted, the damage is done. The bigger concern is how you go about protecting your interests and dealing with them.
The OMG National team has some insights about what you can do to keep an eye on your reputation and enable damage control, if needed.
Claim Your Review Pages
It is critical that you monitor your review pages. Your business may have a sterling reputation, but a single bad review can snowball quickly, and not “minding your pages” can lead to a sudden and sharp downturn in your revenue. The solution is to claim your pages and to keep a watchful eye on Yelp, Google My Business, Facebook, and any industry specific review sites.
Devise and Implement a System for Dealing with Bad Reviews
Never let a bad review go one-sided! Whether you question the legitimacy of a review, it is important to respond to the reviewer in a sincere way, and to invite offline resolution of the issue. Yes, you will need to mitigate the damage and it may require some defense, but an acknowledgement of their concern, that is sincere and invites a conversation is best practice.
Target Bad Reviews and Flag Reviews That Seem Illegitimate
Some bad reviews may resonate with you, you might remember the interaction. On the other hand, many businesses encounter reviews that seem…fishy. If you feel that a review is completely unwarranted or that it could have come from a competitor, many review sites have a process for “flagging” these in order to report them. While some bad reviews remain even after flagging, it is important to jump on the review process quickly to ensure that no one is taking advantage of your company for personal reasons or otherwise.
Ask for Good Reviews
According to Inc. magazine, it takes roughly 40 good reviews to undo the damage of one review. The flip side, though, is that only 1 in 10 happy customers leaves a review. The act of simply asking customers for whom you have provided good service, to provide you with online feedback is easy and effective. There are many ways that you can do this, whether it is directly requested via email with a link to your Yelp or Google page, printed reminders, or any other feedback solicitation.
With just a little strategy, a business can recover from bad reviews. If you are looking to improve your reputation, OMG National offers an array of services that can help you navigate the digital landscape, avoid the pitfalls of review sites and social media platforms – and grow your business. We would love to help you today, give our team a call!
By: Kristin Matheny