If this sounds like you, you’re not alone: You’ve been minding your business for years. You’ve got a decent website. But the only time you think about online reviews is when you’re checking out a new restaurant.
And then suddenly one day an unhappy customer trashes your business on Google.
Now the first thing people see when they search for your business name is a negative review. It hurts your pride, of course. But what’s worse, it can seriously damage your business. Here’s why:
- Almost everyone (85 percent of consumers) think online reviews are as important as personal recommendations.*
- Half of your potential customers won’t consider doing business with you unless you have at least a 4-star rating.
- Fully 60 percent of consumers avoid businesses with negative reviews.
The statistics are clear. Negative reviews have serious consequences. And reputation management has become critical for every business, whether you’re a doctor, a lawyer, a plumber or a pizza joint.
But there’s good news, too!
According to one study, businesses that increased their rating by a single star on Yelp have seen a 5 to 9% increase in revenue. And a single negative review isn’t the end of the world. In fact, you can turn a negative review into a positive, and it’s not hard to do.
So here are two simple steps you can take to boost your reputation online. (Get ready to smack your forehead, because these won’t surprise you!)
Step #1 – Ask for Positive Feedback
Most people don’t go out of their way to leave a positive review. It’s just human nature. It takes effort, and everyone is busy. Plus, it involves writing, and most people hate to write.
However, most people will respond to a simple request for help. While Yelp prohibits the direct solicitation of reviews, Google allows you invite your best customers to leave a review. All you have to do is send a brief, personal e-mail asking for feedback. By including a direct link to your Google review page, you’ll make it easy for your satisfied clients to show their appreciation.
Step #2 – When Appropriate, Apologize
Yes. Apologize. Every business makes mistakes from time to time. Every restaurant serves an occasional lackluster meal. Mistakes are as common as the people who make them.
But what’s uncommon is a genuine apology.
The other day I saw an apology that knocked my socks off. The customer complained about a delay in getting a proposal. And here’s how the owner responded in public:
Wow! Would you hire a business that responds to its customers like this? I wouldn’t hesitate. In fact, I admire them all the more for their honesty, transparency and humility.
In his book, The Peace Maker, author Ken Sande says a good apology speaks specifically and directly to those involved, avoids hedging words like “if” and “but,” and asks for forgiveness. Not only is an apology good behavior, it’s good business. A study referenced in the National Law Review found that when doctors simply say “I’m sorry” for their mistakes, it dramatically reduces medical malpractice claims.
Managing your online reputation has become a cornerstone of digital marketing. But it doesn’t have to be hard. It can be as simple as asking for feedback, and addressing customer concerns with grace and humility.
Got questions about how to effectively manage your reputation? At Brick City Digital Marketing, your success is the foundation of our business. Give us a call at (352) 351-1131 to setup a free consultation. Or use the form below to e-mail us.
I’d love to hear from you!
* For more statistics about online reviews, see 72 Reputation Management Stats for 2019.