Customer reviews are now an integral part of any online business, especially local. Reviews are the reference point and trust factor when a customer is considering your product or service.
They therefore, need to be an honest representation from past buyers in order to establish credibility. It goes without saying, that negative reviews will negatively impact your sales and bottom line, and the positive reviews will positively impact your sales and bottom line.
When you have those smashing positive reviews, you are simply giving a customer a reason to click on an advert or pick up a phone and call. They are good conversion factors in online business. It is therefore important to invest in good review gathering monitoring so that you do not just influence customer opinion, but also get a pulse on what the customers truly think about your online business.
So, how do you handle negative reviews?
Negative reviews can come up from time to time, even when your business does everything “right”. When a negative review comes up, the best thing you can do is respond to it. Leave a comment explaining your side of the story.
Oftentimes, someone will leave a negative review for something that was not your fault. Other times it was a situational interaction with an employee having a bad day, or even an honest misunderstanding.
For example, maybe a customer provided the wrong information and then was dissatisfied when services were rendered. While sometimes unavoidable, it can cause a black mark on your business name. Therefore, respond with a comment to help new visitors to understand the situation.
The bottom line is – It’s better to resolve the issue than to leave it up to the imagination of a potential customer. Next, be sure to encourage your satisfied customers to leave positive reviews. This should lessen the focus on those few negative ones.
Google Displays Reviews More Prominently
If you haven’t noticed, the Google Map search layout is currently adapted to display the customer reviews and ratings for various local businesses. These are displayed prominently and customers are able to get instant feedback on your business before they even visit your website.
So, point clients to your Google maps page to leave a review. This is primarily where Google pulls data from. However, they also pay attention to the major business listing sites such as Yelp and Yellow Pages.
How Reviews and Ratings Can Impact Your Search Rankings
Positive reviews have an increasingly positive impact on SERP rankings. This is especially more pronounced in local search where ratings will lead to better rankings, and hence more visibility for your business
This applies mainly in the map searches where only the highest rated business near you will appear at the top. It also applies to mobile searches where top ratings also lead to top rankings in maps and in the Local Carousel.
Getting the Best Local Reviews Online
When it comes to building your reviews portfolio, it is important to be very ethical and honest about this process. Do not post fake reviews or pad your own reviews. Instead, work on earning your customer reviews and you will build a very long term and profitable business.
Google is also good at spotting fake reviews, and your business could be penalized and removed from the listings altogether.
Here are some steps that you can use to improve your reviews and review quality:
Prioritize Customer Service:
One of the best ways to get some good insight into the quality of your customer service is by reading online reviews. Check what customers think and make adjustments on your customer service accordingly. If you have received some negative reviews, assess them carefully and fill in the service gaps.
Look out for the recurring negative reviews and correct the systemic problem in the business processes that is dissatisfying your customers. You can tailor the improvements in your business around the negative feedback and you will be able to build better service quality and generate even more positive reviews.
Ask for Honest Reviews
If you want to build a good number if reviews, you can just ask customers to post honest reviews after using your services or purchasing your products. Do this through a soft-sell approach; for example, by asking your buyers how they feel about your products and services.
Customers are unlikely to talk of the positive experiences, but they will most likely talk of the negative experiences. So it is important to take the initiative in order to bring out the positive feedback.
Update contact information
In order to claim your business on review websites such as Yelp and Google Places, ensure that your most current contact information is up to date. Reviews can make a difference in improving rankings and overtaking a competitor.
They will attract that extra customer that could have chosen elsewhere. It is therefore important to invest your time and effort into capturing, monitoring and responding to reviews in order to gain a competitive edge in the online marketplace.