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Learn ways to improve your online reputation

We live in the digital age where positive online reviews are a valuable asset to restaurants. Four- and five-star ratings solidify the decisions of potential customers who are considering their dining options. These ratings offer credibility to restaurants because anyone can go online through social media and review sites to share a positive or negative review.

If you own a restaurant, here are five reasons why you need to care about your online reviews:

  1. Good reviews build trust with your new customers.

According to a 2013 survey by Dimensional Research, 90 percent of customers say online reviews influence their buying decisions. Positive reviews indicate that a restaurant offers amazing customer service, an awesome atmosphere and top-quality food.

  1. Positive reviews are a great way to market your restaurant online.

A good review can easily be worth its online marketing weight in gold. A local consumer review survey in 2014 by BrightLocal revealed an interesting insight into the growing importance of online reviews and their outcomes. The research showed 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations in their purchasing decisions. Another study showed steady growth in online reviews, with 72 percent of consumers saying positive reviews help them trust a local business. Keep in mind that a steady and frequent online presence makes a huge impact on potential customers.

  1. Search engines and mobile apps help attract customers to your restaurant.  

Search engines and mobile apps are a great way to encourage people to visit your restaurant who might not know about you or might be visiting your area. Not only do they help drive business, they also give you a chance to make a lasting first impression. Try updating your website or offering online coupons and loyalty points on your website or mobile app. Apps such as Yelp, Foursquare, Urbanspoon and Zomato provide ways to improve your online reputation and allow you to interact with your customers.

  1. Bad online reviews are hard to overcome.

Let’s face it: Negative reviews are tough for business. They drive potential customers away from your restaurant and make your existing customers question whether they want to visit again. If negative reviews happen, remember that you can't control every customer experience, mistake or circumstance. Counteract your negative reviews by highlighting more positive reviews from your other customers. Also, use a negative review as insight. This will show you care about your customers and will improve your customer service and customer experience.

  1. No online presence makes your restaurant invisible.

When you don’t have any online reviews for your restaurant, people may not think of your restaurant at all. No matter the size of your restaurant, having no online presence or reviews can be just as detrimental to your restaurant as having negative reviews. Facebook and Instagram are great social media outlets that almost everyone uses daily and provide a terrific platform to get your restaurant noticed. Once you’re comfortable on social media, try taking the next step and registering your restaurant on a popular online review website.

Restaurant reviews online play a critical role in driving business. If you aren’t actively managing your online reputation, you’re missing out on a great way to add revenue. If you’re new to online reviews or the process seems overwhelming, try online review management software like ReviewMaxer. ReviewMaxer is an affordable and easy-to-use system to manage your company’s online reviews and reputation. Use ReviewMaxer to promote your positive reviews and interact with your customers to resolve negative reviews. Sign up today for your free demo or check out the ReviewMaxer blog for advice to improve your restaurant's online reputation.

 

Photo credit: Pablo

Written by: Justin Hamilton


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4 ways customer reviews can benefit your company

By having an online presence, both small and large companies can build their brand awareness. Maintaining a positive online reputation can drive new leads to your business, but only if you successfully manage what people post online about your company. Your company is vulnerable to the negative reviews people leave about their experiences – with your staff, services or products, so you must be vigilant in managing your online reputation, especially in this technology-driven age.

It is increasingly easy for people to post comments about businesses on the hundreds of public review sites and through social media – tagging the company or using hashtags that sometimes cause a viral effect like what happened to Huggies in 2015. More often than not, a customer with a bad experience will leave a review over someone with a positive experience. Now, more than ever, it’s critical to encourage your customers to leave positive reviews as well as to make amends with the customers who leave negative ones.

The major benefits of encouraging your customers to leave reviews about their experiences are:

  1. Receive free online advertising. When your customers post online reviews about your company, your brand awareness expands. People who come across those reviews are more aware of what your company sells. When positive reviews outweigh the negative ones, more people are willing to do business with your company.
  2. Improve your SEO. If several people post reviews about your company, Google takes notice. The search engine giant ranks your company higher in search results, regardless if you’re receiving more positive or negative reviews. However, if a search for your business yields negative reviews, prospective customers may seek service elsewhere. Encourage your happy customers to leave reviews about your company.
  3. Tackle the negative reviews. It’s important to reach out to customers who leave negative reviews. Apologize for their unsatisfactory experiences and try to make amends. For example, offer them a free service or product the next time they visit your company or give them a discount. When you solve customers’ issues, ask them to consider updating their reviews or to leave more favorable reviews online.
  4. Form a closer connection with the customer. When a business replies to customers, it sends the message that someone is reading their reviews and is listening to them. You should try to engage with customers who leave positive reviews as well as negative ones. You might not be able to respond to everyone, but a simple thank you can go a long way. When responding to reviews, it is important to personalize your messages to ensure customers know they aren’t reading automated or canned responses.

Managing online reviews can be frustrating and time consuming unless you use online reputation management software. Online reputation management software, like ReviewMaxer, saves you time and energy. It can alert you when someone posts a review about your company, instead of you having to search for reviews yourself. ReviewMaxer makes it easier to respond quickly to negative reviews and engage with the customers who left positive ones, ultimately improving your online reputation.

 

Photo credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Written by: Paul Cook


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5 ways to respond to unhappy customers and improve your company’s reputation

Before the Internet, a customer called or visited a business to complain. The only people to hear the angry customer’s complaints were the customers in the store at that time who may gossip to their neighbor about the incident. As a result, there was little negative effect on the business due to a customer’s frustration.

Now that unhappy consumers can take their complaints online, it’s a different story entirely.

When customers complain, they don’t spread the news by personally telling 10 people. Instead, they post their complaints on sites such as Facebook, Yelp, Google + and even Twitter. One comment attracts several others and has the potential to reach millions of people. As a business owner, what can you do?

The first step is to make unhappy customers your number one priority, doing what you can to make sure they don’t post a negative review about your business. In the event you are dealing with an angry customer, always address the individual with kindness. If a person posts a negative review or complaint about your business online, here are some useful strategies you can use:

  1. Automate the customer review process.
    Invest in an automated system that notifies you when a customer has posted a review about your business. Online review management software allows you to send customers a request for a review. And, it gives your customers options to post their reviews on several different review sites.

If they do post negative feedback, the system provides them with an option to post on review sites that people rarely visit to search for reviews. If customers leave positive reviews, the opposite happens, and they get sites such as Yelp and Facebook, thereby pushing your more positive reviews and comments to the top of the search engine listings.

  1. Be gentle with your responses.
    When you read a negative review about your business, it often leaves you fuming. Your anger is certainly just, but you don’t want to lose a customer or create a bad impression for others. You should pause to regain your composure, and then respond to the customer with kindness and sincerity: “We apologize about your bad experience with us. How may we fix the situation?” or “To make it up to you, we can offer you a discount on your next purchase with us.”

Think with your head and not your heart. Your heart will want to rip the bad reviewer’s comment to shreds, but your head will want you to maintain a good relationship with the customer.

  1. Think human, not robot.
    Put yourself in the shoes of the customer to see how you would like the company to handle the situation. When you draft a reply, make sure you put some human elements in the response. A robotic reply will not appease your customers and may only fuel their anger. Be as humane and sincere as possible with your responses.
  2. Reply to most reviews.
    If you are unable to respond to every review on the site, employ someone to do it. The reviews you shouldn’t reply to are those from people who seem inexplicably prejudice toward your business or those who are making unreasonable requests that you can’t fulfill. Train your employees to identify comments such as these and avoid responding. Also, instruct employees how to handle general complaints, such as accidentally charging someone too much for his or her food – perhaps by apologizing and giving the customer’s money back or offering a free meal.
  3. Make customer satisfaction your mission.
    Make customers your business’s top priority. Tell your employees that even if they have to go the extra mile to make sure a customer leaves satisfied, they should. Adopt customer satisfaction practices such as sending flowers, upgrading shipping or offering refunds. You can also tell your employees to think outside the box when trying to please customers. When your business focuses all their efforts on ensuring the happiness of its customers, reviewers are sure to celebrate the company’s customer-centric approach on review sites.

It’s difficult for businesses to keep track of everything being said about them on the Internet. But it’s critical to manage and control the reviews and complaints in order to protect your brand and reputation. Take control of your online reviews today with ReviewMaxer. This powerful, cloud-based software provides its users with a proactive review strategy to quickly and easily manage reviews and comments from more than 500 sites. Sign up for a free demo to see how the ReviewMaxer software works and read the blog for more tips and resources to protect your company’s reputation and strengthen your business.

 

Photo credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Written by: Paul Cook


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