How To Get Control Of Your Online Reviews

There is no doubt about it!

Online reviews directly shape your image, and are a must have for any business to thrive in today's industry. In fact, studies have shown that 92% of consumers take to the web to browse the review section before contacting a business, and what's more, 84% of consumers trust these stranger's online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a close family member or friend. Now, given some of the reviews we've come across online, that statistic can quickly become a source of anxiety for any business owner. After all, you can't control the reviews, can you?

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Well, apart from always striving for excellence and caring about your staff and consumer interactions, you are right. You can not control the reviews that someone might leave. However, you can control your response and actions, which as it turns out, might be more important in managing reviews than we previously thought.

Let's explore that a little.

Have you ever gone out to a restaurant with friends or family, only to be disappointed by the service and food? You waited a while to be seated, even though you had a reservation. Then, your server forgot to bring you your water. To top it off, your friend's steak was medium instead of medium rare (why do they always get that wrong, anyway?). You gossip among the table about your disappointment, and moments later, your server comes over with the famous “How are your first few bites tasting?” question. Your friends and you smile and say, “Great, thanks!”, and your server walks off. Later on in the evening, you and your group find yourself waiting forever for your dessert. When it finally comes, the manager walks over and asks if you enjoyed your experience. You contemplate complaining, but decide against it, and instead, tell him you had a great time. Why didn't you complain? In all likelihood, you didn't want the confrontation that most of us go out of our way to avoid. The same thing can be seen in online reviews.

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Now, in the above restaurant scenario, it would have been reasonable to say something politely, but what if the only negative was the wait time? Unfortunately, there are some people who are triggered by an event or action that others may view as insignificant, and depending on how their day went, they may feel the need to take some steam out on you, your staff, and your establishment. We've all seen this happen!

Studies have shown that the more face to face management interactions, the fewer complaints, but online consumers feel more open to say what they want, how they want without the same confrontation. However, if reviewers see consistent feedback on you reviews, they are less likely to complain about the small things, so that they, too, can avoid what may become a confrontational conversation.

While being proactive with your reviews helps decrease the amount of bad reviews you might receive, we want to maintain a high level of positive reviews without resorting to questionable tactics such as discounts for 5 star reviews, so we strongly encourage listening the complaints you do receive, responding with care and empathy, and making the changes necessary to help your business grow.

Negative reviews are actually a great way to learn, and show off your customer service skills. Think about the last time you searched through reviews, good and bad. Did anyone respond? How did they respond, and how did it make you feel?

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Imagine you are looking to get in to TLC at a local spa, and you are looking through the reviews. You see one positive and one negative review as follows.

Positive Review: 5 Stars
“ My spa treatment was the most relaxing experience I have ever had in my life! Seriously, treat yourself to their aromatherapy massage and scalp treatment, and your life will never be the same! Great staff, awesome atmosphere A+”

Negative Review: 1 Star
“I booked an appointment here for my wife's birthday, and when we got there, the receptionist said didn't have an appointment, and couldn't take her till the next day. The staff obviously don't care. I wouldn't go here if I were you!”

Now, at this moment, you are probably left thinking of the negative review, but imagine you see the business response.

Positive Review: 5 Stars
“ My spa treatment was the most relaxing experience I have ever had in my life! Seriously, treat your self to their aromatherapy massage and scalp treatment, and your life will never be the same! Great staff, awesome atmosphere A+”

Response:
“ We are over the moon that you enjoyed your experience with us! That is one of our favourite treatments too! We look forward to pampering you again soon; you deserve it!"

Negative Review: 1 Star
“I booked an appointment here for my wife's birthday, and when we got there, the receptionist said didn't have an appointment, and couldn't take her till the next day. The staff obviously don't care. I wouldn't go here if I were you!”

“We are so sorry that this happened to you and your wife, and there is really is no excuse for it. Birthdays are a special time that need to be cherished, and we do care a lot! If you can give us a second chance, we would love to pamper your wife even more by adding a complimentary half hour massage onto her pedicure for a full day of pampering. In the meantime, we will investigate further as to how this happened. Take care, and we hope to hear from you both soon!”

So, are you left thinking about the negative review, or how kindly the spa responded?

In the end, you can't control the reviews that are left by consumers, but your actions on and offline can go a long way to reducing and even reinventing bad reviews.

Looking for some help reinventing your google review section?

Contact our Online Reputation Specialist to help increase your online reputation and build your consumer base!