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When it comes to leaving reviews, “it’s not me; it’s you” is only half true. In their own ways, both parties are at fault when it comes to the downfall of the feedback loop. Reviews are important to the customer so they can express themselves and to the business so they can improve themselves. So why aren’t reviews provided more often? What causes these invisible barriers? 


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Encouraging, collecting, and sometimes requesting reviews from your patrons is a regular part of the business, but is it actually hurting your business? According to Yelp, it could be.

Old habits die hard, and one of those habits is asking customers to leave reviews online for our business. Unfortunately, this winds up only being mentioned to happy customers and not so often toward upset customers. This is perfectly natural for obvious reasons. But unfortunately, this leads to biased reviews and can leave a significant gap in your feedback. This is important not just for growing your business based on constructive criticism but also for customers to get a full view of how your company operates.

To the surprise of some, the businesses that do the best on Yelp aren’t the ones who solely target happy customers or have strictly positive reviews but the companies that provide high-quality care across the board, without consideration for who is the most satisfied or most likely to leave favorable reviews. 

Seems sort of obvious now, doesn’t it? But how do we go about breaking the habit of how we request reviews now that we know this?

  1. Request reviews from everyone equally, not just the clearly positive experiences. This takes time and repetition but gets easier over time.
  2. Remove the request from mailing items that go out to subscribers. This applies to both web and mail. Instead, use a tool like ReviewMaxer that follows up with customers that have actually been in your store recently.
  3. Stop running competitions for staff members that encourage the collection of reviews. This ends up more often than not feeling like an aggressive pursuit of the customer who just wants to shop.
  4. When reviews are mentioned, do not say “sharing your positive experience with us.” Customers should feel empowered to leave any review, good or bad.
  5. Avoid offering rewards for completion of reviews, whether it be free food, shirts, or event tickets. Offering money in exchange for reviews is not only unethical but may be illegal in certain circumstances.

To ensure the best shot at the best looking review collection, treat all of your customers as if they could be the key to the next favorable review. Empower customers to share their opinions, good or bad, without asking them to leave a review for you. Provide a quality and memorable experience for each customer, and the reviews will come in.


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Reviews can have a measurable impact on your company, both good and bad.


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To earn positive reviews, you should methodically contact your customers

It’s no coincidence that industry-leading brands have an overwhelming amount of reviews to support their products. Companies that prioritize their online reputations make a conscious effort to collect reviews from their customers, especially after they make a purchase.

You may have noticed that businesses have begun collecting email addresses when a purchase occurs. They do this to obtain reviews. During the transaction, a retailer provides you with the option to receive your receipt as well as order and shipping confirmations via email. The company then follows up to learn your overall experience with the brand.

More frequently, we are seeing brands use their online reviews as a marketing tool. This helps avoid uncertainty from new customers during purchasing decisions, which can be the biggest killer of online sales. Companies provide customer feedback on their websites to help potential customers make better buying decisions. Smart companies recognize that reviews help their customers.

Companies are utilizing new techniques to reach consumers for service and product reviews through text messages and phone surveys in addition to email. The best way to engage customers is to clearly communicate why it’s important to your company to have customer reviews. Respond to your customers and let them know how much you appreciate their feedback. Usually, customers are more willing to share their experiences if they know their feedback is used to improve the company. To encourage reviews, companies offer customers incentives to share their feedback, usually a discount code or exclusive offers.

Online reviews are essential to growing and improving any business, yet they can be overwhelming to maintain. ReviewMaxer software has an easy-to-use dashboard that helps you manage your online presence and even provides a way to reach out to your customers through email and text message.

Watch this free demonstration today to see how ReviewMaxer software works and read the ReviewMaxer blog for more tips.

Photo credit: Pablo

Written by: Amanda Murguido


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Learn customer service strategies from other companies

When it comes to your company’s online customer reviews, sometimes you have to sift through several bad ones to get to the good ones. Occasionally, you might come across a truly ugly one that makes your blood boil, but how do you respond? With anger or love?

Companies, whether small or large, need to be at the top of their game when responding to customer feedback. This requires them to be prompt, witty and gracious. The goal is to earn public approval with exemplary customer service. Take a hint from these businesses in learning what to do and what not to do with your customer service strategy.

Here are the good, the bad and the ugly examples that represent some dos and don’ts of customer service.

The good: An example of a company doing it right

JetBlue is scoring points with customers due to its awesome customer service track record. The airline is serious about pleasing its customers and is willing to go the extra mile for a positive review. The company has more than 1.8 million followers on Twitter, more than 1 million likes on Facebook and hundreds of positive reviews on Yelp.

A tactic that JetBlue employs is that it doesn’t leave its customers hanging. The company responds to complaints and feedback quickly – most times within 10 minutes. The airline doesn’t stop there; it works toward surpassing customers’ expectations. For instance, when one customer, Alexa Burrows, was flying home to Boston, she went on Twitter to express her happiness about arriving home and jokingly tweeted for JetBlue to throw her a welcome home parade. JetBlue’s Twitter team sent a message to the Boston airport staff to throw Alexa a welcome home parade when she arrived, which they did. How awesome is that?

One secret to JetBlue’s top-notch customer service is that employees engage with customers cleverly, using their wits and creativity. They can’t make everyone’s wishes come true, but they do selectively respond to the online comments that provide an opportunity to add value to the company.

The bad: An example of a company doing it wrong

American Airlines is doing it wrong and customers are noticing. The airline is known for its over-the-top positivity, even when its optimistic responses don’t make an ounce of sense.

Customers suspected that something was up when American Airlines kept replying to customer complaints on Twitter with repetitive, upbeat responses. No matter what the commenter said, American Airlines replied with something along the lines of “thanks for your support.” Confused customers quickly got on Twitter to tell American Airlines that the jig was up and that robo-tweeting is lame.

Sending automatic responses is tricky. In the case of American Airlines, the automated responses didn’t make sense in the situation. The lesson: Have robotic responses, but also have humans to address the public when the situation turns sour.

The ugly: An example of a company doing it really wrong

If you are running a company, your first priority is to satisfy your customers, especially those who dislike your company. One restaurant’s response to a negative online review provides a perfect example of how not to treat your customers – ever.

The chef at Pigalle in Boston lost his cool when a patron lambasted his cooking skills on Facebook. She wrote that the pumpkin pie tasted like vomit and that it wasn’t worth the price she paid for it: $200. Instead of offering a free meal or refund, the chef responded viciously and rudely – with several expletives. It took some time – and a public and very nasty online exchange – but in the end, the chef realized his mistake and made amends with the miffed customer. Let’s hope he learned his lesson and leaves the “angry chef” gimmick to Gordon Ramsay.

Regardless of what a customer says about your company, you have to handle it with grace. If you do anything else, the entire Internet may turn against you – and ruin your company.

Responding promptly to online reviews and complaints is an important step in providing terrific customer service. It’s also extremely time-consuming. ReviewMaxer is an online review management software application that helps companies manage customer feedback and also improves their online reputation. ReviewMaxer efficiently monitors, collects and promotes your online reviews from one central dashboard. Sign up for a free demo to see how this cloud-based software can save you time and protect your company online. Read the ReviewMaxer blog for more tips on how to handle negative reviews and how to get your company at the top of search listings today.

 

Photo credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Written by: Paul Cook


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Reputation management is crucial to a health care professional's success

As a health care professional, your online reviews are crucial. One negative review from a patient, and you lose potential business. Ninety-two percent of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews (an increase from 88 percent in 2014), according to BrightLocal. Your online reputation is the new word-of-mouth. It’s important that you monitor your online reputation on health care review sites, while proactively reaching out to your patients to gain more positive reviews.

Here are three reasons why you – a health care professional – should care about your online reviews:

  1. Great reviews establish trust and credibility.

Your potential patients will feel confident choosing you as their doctor when they read positive reviews from your previous patients. Reviews offer valuable information from your patients and colleagues, like how much they enjoyed your bedside manner or how they had minimum wait time during their visit.

  1. Great reviews improve your SEO.

As positive reviews increase, your online reputation will organically improve and enhance your Google search results, ultimately driving more patients to pick up their phones and call you, your office, your hospital or your clinic. Work toward gaining positive reviews on a variety of different health care review websites, such as Healthgrades and RateMDs, as well as your own Facebook page.

  1. Great reviews outperform no reviews or negative reviews.

Since health care is a highly competitive industry and there are so many providers to choose from, you can’t afford to lose patients simply because another doctor had more positive reviews. Reviews play a big part in a potential patient’s decision-making process, so be sure you’re reaching out to your current patients for their feedback on review websites.

Reputation management software helps doctors gain more positive reviews by sending an email or text message to their patients after their appointments requesting feedback about their experience. Sign up for a free demonstration to see how the ReviewMaxer software works.

Written by: Rebecca McClure


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