With so much of today’s communication taking place on a screen and not face-to-face, it’s easy to forget that we are communicating with actual people when we’re online.
This doesn’t just apply to marketing messages or social media posts or emails, it relates to your business’s online reviews as well. The way you treat customers who leave recommendations or promote your business can have a lasting effect on them, as well as how others see your business.
More than ever, people are trusting the reviews of complete strangers as if they were suggestions from their closest friends. You don’t have to spend much time in running a business to know that your best marketing comes from the recommendations of your satisfied customers.
With 88% of consumers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family, you have a great opportunity to foster and reward those who publish positive reviews about your business. A good rule of thumb: simply treat your reviewers like they’re your friends.
Respond to customers quickly
Nobody likes it when a friend doesn’t text you back. Similarly, customers also don’t like it when their reviews go unnoticed or unanswered by a business.
Most people don’t recommend or rate just any business. So, when they take the time to suggest your store to their friends through a positive online review, let them know you appreciate it.
Online reviews are both powerful and influential in our digital world, but when it comes to managing these reviews, it can be easy to let seemingly minor issues go unanswered for too long. It is vital that small businesses proactively monitor sites so that when new reviews get posted, you can respond quickly.
Not only does responding quickly allow you to prevent any negative side effects from an unaddressed review, but a quick response will show any potential customers the level of attention and service they’ll receive when they come into your store. The more positive and proactive your response, the more likely you are to attract new customers.
Treat customers right
If a close friend were to visit your business and sing your praises, you probably wouldn’t stand there silently or let their compliments go unacknowledged. You would thank them for their praise, welcome them back, and invite them to share their experience with their other friends.
Likewise, if a friend were to come and tell you about an issue they had with one of your services or products, you would take it seriously. You’d hear their concerns, do what you could to fix the problem, and encourage your friend to come in again. That simple response is highly effective, as 70% of customers who leave complaints will return to your shop if you resolve their issue.
The same kind of care should be taken online. When customers leave positive reviews, thank them for their comments and be sure they feel appreciated and welcomed back. Should a negative review make its way online, don’t take it personally. Thank your newfound friend for the feedback, promise you’ll do all you can to rectify the issue, and then invite them to come back in.
Get their feedback
When you first opened your business, you likely held a “friends & family” night or an open house to show off your business to the community. At the end of the event, you probably asked your friends and family to get online and leave a review. Many, if not most of them, were probably happy to oblige. It’s a common practice at events and special occasions. In fact, it is so compelling, that it is encouraged.
Likewise, it’s a common and encouraged practice to ask your most loyal guests to leave a positive review. When you do this, you are telling your customers that you value their business and their opinion. Not only does this help bring in new customers through higher review ratings, but it also helps to build trust and a more mutually beneficial relationship between you and your existing customers, which can increase revenue by 47%.
Many businesses only respond to negative reviews, if at all. If you only respond to negative reviews—and, if you only go looking for the negative reviews—that’s all you’ll find.
Reading negative words, comments, and reviews about your business isn’t fun. So be sure to take a moment to read and respond to customers who are saying great things about your business. There are far more grateful customers leaving comments than negative reviews. And when your future customers see you don’t take comments or ratings for granted, they’ll be more likely to visit and leave a recommendation, as well.
Growing and utilizing friendships is a valuable means of maintaining your company’s success, and it doesn’t need to be a ton of work. Most small business owners are already stretched thin in time and resources; luckily, there is technology available to small business that can help foster these potential friendships and utilize them in the online world.
Womply specializes in helping small business owners take control of customer relationships and online reviews. We can help you see all your reviews in one place, respond quickly and efficiently, and even get more reviews from your best customers. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!