There’s a saying that goes “When the going is good it’s great, but when the going is bad it’s terrible”. This all but explains the influence that reviews have on a firm’s operations and growth. Let’s begin by looking at what bad reviews can do to a business, and then we’ll wrap it up with ways to fix them.
Poor reviews are often a tell tale sign of internal problems with processes and/or personnel. A few outliers will always be present, because no one is perfect. Mistakes happen and when they do it usually falls on the customer at hand. However consistent bad reviews and low ratings will stunt business growth and employee retention.
From the customer’s point of view, they have instant access to look at reviews before making a purchasing decision. So why would someone choose a firm with poor reviews over a firm with great reviews? They wouldn’t. We witness businesses try to ignore their reviews and this proves to be a devastating decision down the road over and over again.
Your reputation is your lifeline as a business. You want your business to be held in high esteem and referred to by all of your patrons. Since referral business and reviews go hand in hand, a strategic approach to getting more reviews will be necessary. From an internal standpoint, poor reviews have a huge impact on your recruitment efforts. Beyond buying a product or service, working somewhere is a major decision. Poor reviews will hinder the chances of gaining great quality recruits.
So how do we fix this?
- Addressing Reviews
Review sites such as Yelp, Foursquare, Glassdoor, and Facebook have given everyone a voice. So when these reviews come in, whether good or bad, they must be addressed. Having a thoughtful response to each review helps enormously. Many times, if approached in the right manner, a response can turn a bad experience into a great experience for a customer or employee. Standardized responses will not work. These responses must be personal, empathetic, and tailored to the specific review.
- Sponsored Reviews
After you have addressed the reviews already posted, it’s now time to start building a positive review base. This starts with incentivizing your customers or employees to fill out reviews. You can incentivize them in a number of ways with discounts, gift cards, and surprises.
This will even the playing field with your incoming reviews and ratings. We need to incentivise people to fill out reviews because 9 times out of 10 a person who has a great experience will not publish any reviews. However, a person who has a negative experience is far more likely, statistically, to share his or her bad story on a review.
The stronger your reviews can be, the stronger your company culture and referral business will be for years to come. It isn’t an easy fix by any means, but a necessary one for any business interested in succeeding in the long term.
At Marketing Eye, we have helped many companies improve their reputation through a variety of creative tactics. If you’re concerned with your reputation management, contact us today!