The 1 thru 5 average review rating that your business displays on sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook can make or break a potential customer’s decision to do business with your brand. According to a study by PowerReviews, 98% of consumers feel that reviews are an essential resource when determining their purchasing decisions, and 96% of consumers specifically seek out one-star reviews. This means that public reviews hold a power that no amount of branding or flair can make up for.
So now that you have a glimpse of just how important reviews can be for your business, how can you build up your online reviews to make your digital reputation the strongest salesman on your team? Don’t know your online reputation? Get your reputation scorecard.
Ask Politely and Often
Most customers are appreciative of good service and a good product, and they will likely be glad to help a business improve their online reputation when asked. In fact, of those who were surveyed by Bright Local, 12% of customers will always leave a review when prompted to by a business.
Automatic Follow Up Requests
Asking politely doesn’t always have to be on site or face-to-face. If your business uses a CRM to collect customer data such as phone numbers and/or emails, you are sitting on a trove of potential 5-star reviews. According to Spiegel Research Center, a Whopping 80% of all online reviews stem from simple follow-up emails. While emails are powerful, follow-up texts are starting to become the most dominant medium for collecting positive reviews. In fact, text rating requests sent through Real Time Feedback’s platform have a 36% review submission rate.
Give Them Help Before They Yelp
Public reviews that are missing stars usually have explanations as to why that is. It’s easy to think that one bad review may be a fluke or that it came down to a bad day, but if that same issue has been mentioned multiple times, it must be fixed quickly. More often than not, issues that a customer portrays in a negative review is something that would have been easily rectifiable, if only management was aware before they left the review. This is why real time engagement with your customers is so important because it allows staff to obtain insights and recognize issues that may only be apparent to customers or guests.
Show Appreciation by Responding
While obtaining an online review may seem like the important part (and it is important), responding to those reviews is arguably just as important. It’s no secret that reviews play a big part in your brand’s SEO and thus, your overall Google ranking, but responding puts the icing on the cake. Just like how no-one wants to eat a cake void of icing, no one wants to publicly express their thoughts and feelings (about a company or product) with no reciprocation. Search engines like Google notice when a company doesn’t bother to respond to reviews and will lower your Google ranking if they notice a pattern of severe neglect.
If you’ve ever been tasked with responding to your company’s reviews, you know it can cause severe brain-drain. Logging in and out of different review platforms and writing a unique thank you 100 different ways can be mentally exhausting. That’s why Real Time Feedback aggregates every review from different platforms including Google, Yelp, Facebook, and any others onto one portal. From this portal, you can implement “canned responses” to automatically reply to all 4 and 5-star reviews with a variety of appreciative messages. This leaves you only having to respond to the crucial negative reviews. Additionally, our recent integration with ChatGPT AI makes writing unique, empathetic, and apologetic responses that address the specific concerns within a review as easy as clicking a button.
Reviews are absolutely crucial for any business’s online reputation. Beyond just obtaining reviews, responding and managing your online reputation is just as important for search engines like Google to rank you as high as possible. It’s also just as important to carefully respond to negative reviews and see if you can resolve their issues. Always keep and open channel for your customers to provide constructive feedback. Absorbing and responding to customer feedback can help resolve most if not all negative reviews from being published in the first place.
Aaron Thompson is a standout graduate from Texas Tech University’s College of Media & Communication. He has won national awards for his creative writing, including attaining first place in the National Student Advertising Competition during his time as a student. After graduating, he began his career as a brand strategist for one of the largest ad agencies in West Texas, GriffinWink Advertising. Since then, he has moved on to Real Time Feedback, becoming the youngest director of marketing in the company’s history.